Article contributed by: Claire Best
Let’s face it: running isn’t for everyone. However, if you’ve finally decided to give it a go for the first time, you’re probably in two minds as to how to go about it. For starters you’ll want to avoid the high percentage of running injuries that occur on an annual basis. You’ll also want to be comfortable while not looking like a fledgling marathon runner in shorts and singlet (especially if you haven’t developed the musculature to carry it off yet).
Where do you start? The best place is in your local area, by looking for a suitable running route. Don’t be tempted to go down the route of being too eager. It’s easy to do – you finally make the decision to get out there and start running, and before you know it you’ve overdone it and you feel like you never want to go again. The golden rule is to start small and build up from there. The days you don’t run are just as important as the days you do if you build up a regular routine. They give your body a chance to recover.
What makes the ideal route?
The perfect route would offer a nice flat sidewalk or off-road track with no holes or tripping hazards and no slopes. Of course no runner has this, but it’s worth taking a walk around your neighborhood to find the best possible route it has to offer. Don’t pick anything too long, and focus on a nice short circular route that isn’t too demanding. If the scenery is pretty good, that’s even better. Most runners would prefer a nice backdrop to run against if given the choice.
Get the right footwear
Don’t underestimate the importance of getting the right footwear. Don’t be tempted to go barefoot and avoid the so called foot gloves that some runners are now trying out. Runner’s foot injuries have become more prevalent since barefoot running and running with foot gloves on took off.
It’s not good enough to grab your best pair of sneakers and hope for the best. Running shoes were designed for that purpose alone, so make sure you get a pair. Have them fitted properly at a store too, so you know you’ve got a pair you can trust. The worst thing is to turn an ankle when you settle for sneakers and you’re only three paces away from your front door.
If you want to get the most out of running, you need to commit to it regularly. Take out your planner or diary and block out some time. Figure out when the best time is for you as well. This means your first run will be more enjoyable because you know it’s the start of something bigger. If you don’t have a plan before you head out on that first run, you might end up never doing it again.
When you start running you’re starting down a route to improve your health. This means you need to be realistic – you’re not going to start by running several miles at a good pace. You’ll probably run a short distance at a slow pace, but you’re working towards achieving more and improving your future health too. Resist the urge to do too much too soon as you could raise the risk of one or more running related injuries. As you notice the changes your body goes through and your fitness levels increase, the positivity you feel will bleed through into other areas of your life as well. Overall health and well-being is extremely important especially as you age, so it makes sense to start off on the right foot (if you’ll excuse the running related pun). Carry your positive results into the rest of your life and consider what else you might achieve with your new found slimmer and more toned body, as well as your improved health and fitness.
As you can see, preparing for that all important first run is as important as scheduling time for regular runs later on. The best start will boost your efforts and minimize any downside such as tiredness and achiness. Once you get started you could find this is the best decision you’ve ever made.