July 22, 2016
Running is a great way to exercise, get outside, relieve stress, and have fun. Whether you’re a new runner or just looking for some guidance, this guide will take you every step of the way through a successful run.
Step 1. Suit up
At the most basic, all you need is a pair of new running shoes and clothes you can move in. You may feel overwhelmed by how many different kinds of running shoes there are, but for now, just pick ones that are comfortable. If you’re looking for something more specific, a running store employee may be able to help you.
You may find moisture-wicking clothes to be more comfortable than cotton. Pick up a wicking t-shirt and shorts and you’ll ready to go!
Some optional pieces of equipment include sport headphones, an iPod or other music-playing device plus an armband to hold it in place.
Step 2. Get prepped
Hydrate before your run to keep your body moving. Then, do a quick dynamic stretch to get your legs moving is key to a successful run. These two moves will do the trick:
Leg swings: Hold onto a sturdy object, stand on one leg and swing the other leg forward and back. Do 20. Then swing that same leg side to side 20 times. Each swing should build until your leg is close to its full range of motion. Switch and do the same on the other leg.
Walking lunges: Take a large step forward with your right leg, and bend the knee until your thigh is parallel to the floor and knee is aligned with your ankle. Push back upward, draw your left foot even with your right and step forward with the left. Try to keep your walking lunges fluid, and focus on proper form. Do 20 (10 per leg).
Step 3. Get Running!
If you’re new to running, start slow, increasing the time by no more than 10 percent from week to week. You’ll enjoy it more, and increase your strength gradually.
A few adjustments will make the run more comfortable on your body. Take short strides. Keep your elbows flexed at about 90 degrees, and keep your hands relaxed, as if you were holding a piece of paper between your thumb and pointer finger. Envision yourself walking tall, looking straight ahead at the horizon; avoid looking down at your feet.
Don’t be afraid to take a break. It’s important to take walk breaks before you feel like you need them. This will help fend off fatigue and prevent you from doing too much too soon.
Step 4: Post-Run Recovery
Without proper recovery, you’ll feel sore and could cause an injury. Immediately after your run, do a few stretches to target the major muscle groups to maintain healthy flexibility and range of motion. Hold all stretches for 30 seconds to two minutes.
Standing quad: Stand with legs together. Bend your left leg, bringing your heel toward your butt, and grasp your left foot with your left hand. Press your shoelaces into your hand, so that your leg does the stretching instead of pulling up with your hand.
Standing calf: Stand facing a wall with your hands on the wall at about chest level. Placing the ball of your right foot up against the wall, heel touching the floor, gently lean into the wall until you feel a stretch in your calf while keeping your leg straight.
You also need to properly hydrate, and make up your water loss. If you weight yourself before and after a run, try and match the amount of weight you lost with the amount of liquid you put back in your body.