Running is a popular activity across the world – and with good reason. It’s one activity that is convenient, easy on the pocket and comes with plenty of health benefits. It improves your cardio health, ensures better sleep, enhances memory power, and can promote knee and back health.
Statistics show that about 50 million or 15 percent of Americans participated in some form of running or jogging in 2020. It is a good idea to consult your physician before you start a running regimen, especially if you are new to it, overweight, or above the age of 40.
Regardless of whether you are a novice runner or a veteran marathoner, there are some tips and tricks that come in handy every time. Here is all the information you need to start running – and keep going!
Finding the Right Gear
The most important gear you need is a good pair of shoes. Here,”good” refers to shoes that cushion your feet and offer stability. Other factors likely to influence your decision are budget, your type of feet, and the kind of motion control you want. For instance, someone with flat feet will need shoes that support the arches of the feet well enough to prevent any pain afterward.
Shoes that fit poorly can cause foot injuries and prove quite uncomfortable. If you’re unable to decide on which shoes to pick, go to a specialty store where qualified staff can help you choose the right shoes for your needs.
Comfortable clothing is a must when you are running. Some things to look for when selecting apparel to wear on your runs include:
- T-shirts, shorts, or track pants made of lightweight materials that move with your body
- Items with reflective strips that help you stay safe when you are out running in low light
- Materials that help keep sweat away from the body in hot weather while keeping you dry and warm on cold days, such as acrylic and polyester
- Running socks that are a blend of synthetic materials are a good choice. This is because they help prevent moisture from seeping onto your skin to cause blisters, unlike pure cotton socks
Other accessories that you could get include a sports watch to help you pace your runs and even track your route with the help of GPS. Adequate sun protection such as sunscreen, sunglasses, and a cap or visor should be part of your shopping list.
Make a Plan and Stick to It
Getting off to a good start with your running schedule is excellent. However, staying motivated enough to do it regularly is key to reaping the benefits of running. One way of doing this is to start small – with achievable goals. For instance, you could begin running twice a week doing no more than a mile each time. Gradually, increase the frequency or the distance over the next few weeks to let your body adapt. Soon, you will find that sticking to your schedule and running longer distances comes easy. Running with a friend or being part of a local running club can help you keep your schedule on track with ease.
The Right Way to Run
As with all other forms of physical activity, it is essential to run the right way even as you retain your style. A good posture can ease the stress and pressure on your joints while enhancing your efficiency. Keep your body relaxed and stay tall while you do it without leaning forward. Aim for a soft landing and avoid heavy footfalls.
You must also take precautions to ensure running does not make you prone to injury. One way of minimizing the risk is to complement your running with other exercises. Swimming, Pilates, and spinning can help keep your muscles in good shape while increasing stamina and building core strength. If it’s ankle or knee pain you’re concerned about, try doing squats regularly.
Apart from all these, it is essential to eat right and rest well when you make running a part of your schedule. Staying hydrated before and after your run and taking regular breaks while you run, can help you derive optimal benefits.