It’s June 1, AKA Global Running Day! For many people looking to get started with exercise, running might seem like an easy jumping-off point. But while the entry into running is easier than most other exercises, there still might be plenty of questions when it comes to training, gear, and best practices. Here are a few tips to help you get started on your running journey!
Have a plan
Despite the urge you might feel to get outside and run for miles and miles right away, the best course of action is to put together a plan that will allow you to ease into running and reduce the risk of injury. If you were to head out and try to run even five miles without any warm up or prep, the odds increase of experiencing some sort of injury. By following a plan you can allow your body to get acclimated to the process of running. Because keep in mind that while running is some of the best cardio you can do for your body, it can also be very physically demanding as well.
There are many ways to put together a plan. A quick google search will show many results of plans that are already constructed and easy to follow. Or, you can do some research and take bits and pieces from various plans to put together a routine that works best for you and your schedule. But no matter which option you choose, make sure to stick to the plan for best results.
Invest in a good pair of running shoes
It doesn’t take much to get into running - you don’t really need any special equipment or gear. But the one thing that can make a huge difference in how you feel during a run, and following a run, is the shoes that you wear. There are many different types of running shoes, so finding the right fit for your feet and style is important. Many local shoe stores will analyze your stride and let you know if you are a heel striker, if you over - or under-pronate - any many other factors that can impact which shoe is best for you to wear.
Once you’ve determined your running style and the best type of shoes for your feet, make sure to shop around. There are new shoes flooding the market every single year and oftentimes you can save money by simply purchasing last year’s model, which will likely be exactly the same as the newer models in most ways.
Don’t compare yourself to others
You might have one - or many - friends that are avid runners, doing as many as 40-50 miles a week. They might even have served as your inspiration for beginning your running journey. But, if you are looking to get started as a runner, don’t compare yourself to others. Everyone’s body is different, and everyone has different running styles, paces, and mileage that they are able to handle. Just because your friend is able to run 8 miles a day five days a week doesn’t mean you should be running the same amount.
It might take some trial and error, but figure out what works best for your body, your schedule, and your desired outcomes and results. It might turn out that a quick three mile run three days a week is the best starting out point. Or you might find that you are able to run longer and further without too much difficulty. But remember to make sure and stick to a routine that works best for you - not whatever your friends might be doing.
Pay attention to your running form
In many ways, your running form should just be whatever feels and comes most naturally to you. But there are certain things you can do to improve your form and cut down on your risk of injuries. To begin with, work on relaxing your shoulders as you run. The shoulders are a very common source of stress and tension in runners, so make sure to relax your shoulders as much as possible. They shouldn’t be touching your ears as you run!
As most people tend to spend the majority of their days sitting hunched over in front of a desk, that poor form and posture can also carry over to our running. But try to stand tall while running, keeping your body elongated and not hunched over. This will not only help you feel better while running, but can also help increase your energy during your run.
These small, but important, tweaks to your form can make a huge difference in how you feel after your run.
Try running with a friend
I know we said earlier to not compare yourself to other people while running, but finding a friend with a similar pace and distance goals who you can run with can be a great way to make your run more enjoyable, and keep you engaged during your run.
Running with a friend can also help push you on those days you would maybe rather stay in bed or sit on the couch watching tv. Lots of cities and towns have running clubs that you can join, which can not only help keep you motivated and moving but also serves as a great way to meet new people and make friends!
Make sure to treat your body right in recovery
The actual run is not the only important aspect of running. It is very important to stretch after a run and to incorporate a stretching routine into your overall running plan. Stretching can help prevent muscle soreness and injury and improve your overall flexibility.
Another great thing to try is Compression therapy for your legs. Compression may help your body improve the flow of blood, circulation and healing. It provides controlled, dynamic pressure to your extremities and sessions are just 30-60 minutes each.
Another great modality to try is Cryotherapy. Cold therapy has been around for centuries, and athletes in all sports have used cold therapy to recover for years. Cryotherapy is a 2-3 minute process that may help your body relieve pain, swelling and stress, promote healing and recovery, and boost your mood and energy. Try booking a compression or cryotherapy session today!