You’ve decided to start running, but do you really know what you’re getting into? Running is a common way for fitness weight loss. It is one of the most popular exercises for people of different age groups. But running can have negative effects on your body if you do not follow the rules, especially if you are a beginner. To help you, here are 13 things to know about basic running, so you can get all positive effects and avoid negative ones.
1. Set your goals and motivation
Setting your goal is a good way to instil structure into your training and motivation for getting out there in the first place. A brilliant start is a 5k in 8 weeks.
Set small targets along the way so each week building towards the 5k has small achievable goals. Whether it’s a 5k or full marathon is what you wish to achieve, get yourself a training plan to support your goal.
There are many of 0 to 5k plans out there, which begin with walking and running until you can run a non-stop 5k. Plans like these make the whole running process more fun and successful. As a beginner who is just learning running basics, staying motivated to keep running is a must. Learn from other runners just like you who have started running and finished their goals.
2. Buy proper equipment
Invest in a proper pair of running shoes in order to prevent injuries and make running more comfortable.
Visit a specialist in a running shop and to explain them that you are new in this and ask for a gait analysis so that the shoes you go for are properly fitted to your foot and suited to your style of running.
Good running shops are there to help you, so make sure you ask the staff for an opinion, that is why they are there for. It’s also a good advice to invest in clothing made of running-specific technical fabric. This is important for comfort because proper running tops, shorts, and tights are lightweight, help wick sweat away from your skin, and also provide support to the areas that need it most.
3. Run with a partner or in group
Local running groups are cool if you want to run with other people, and are a great way to make friends because everyone supports each other and has similar interest.
Each group has the different habits and approach to running. Running with a partner or a group is good to help keep you motivated and on track, but also from a safety perspective.
There will be the odd day where you think you can’t be bothered, or you think you can’t do it, having someone to motivate you and push you past that phase is an amazing thing. And also, your partner may need some encouraging too, so you can do the same. Sharing goals and achievements is the best way to boost your motivation!
4. Do some simple strength training
Build up at your foundation to prepare your body for running. The less pounds your body has to carry around, the less work your legs and joints have to do, the less chance for you to damage your joints or injure yourself.
Your body needs to have at least base level of fitness before running becomes a viable option. Each time you run, or take a step, you put the pressure of your entire body weight on your muscles, tendons, and joints in your legs, knees, ankles, feet, and toes.
Train your strength every other day with some things that you might like such as biking (easy on your joints, gets you moving) or swimming (very low impact as the water holds you up).
5. Warm up properly
Before very running you need to be properly warmed up. Same as the strength if you don’t have time to warm up, you don’t have time to run. Cut the run short your training if needed, but not the warm up!
When most people think of warming up, they probably think of standing and doing some static stretching exercise for 10 min… you know, just to make sure you don’t get injured! Wrong. Stretching before running can actually increase the risk of injury.
Instead, try a dynamic warm- up. You should get your body properly warmed up and prepared the running. Do dynamic movements that replicate running, like high knees and only stretch your key muscles (including calfs, glutes, hamstrings and quads) after running when your muscles are loose and limber. This can help in the prevention of injury and improve your recovery.
6. Functional core for runners
Core exercises will improve your efficiency and form while warding off fatigue at the end of a race.
These exercises are most efficient when the torso works as a solid unit and both front and back muscles are contracting, and at the same time, multi-joint movements are performed and the spinal stabilization of is monitored.
Abdominal bracing is a basic technique used during this training. To correctly brace, you should try to pull your navel back in toward your spine. This exercise primarily recruits transverse abdominous. You should breathe evenly while bracing, not holding your breath. Core exercises are most effective when they include many muscles throughout your torso that cross several joints which work together and coordinate stability. For this, you can practice modified bicycle, supine leg lift or side plank.
7. Watch what you eat
You may have started running because of stress, or to get fit or even lose some pounds. For any of these reasons, you still need to pay attention to what food you eat.
While burning off those extra calories may make you think that you have earned a few treats, it’s very important that the food you eat is refueling and helping your body to recover and be prepared for the next run.
After running, eating a protein-rich meal will help your body to repair your muscle tissue, and carbohydrates help to refuel your levels of energy. You can allow yourself a small treat, but generally watching what you eat can help you with your next run and will help boost your weight loss and energy. You can still run while following the Paleo diet: meat, vegetables, fruit, nuts, and some healthy starches like sweet potatoes.
8. How far should you run?
As a general rule, the farther you run each time you lace up your trainers, the more results you will get. But the returns are diminishing, with each added mile providing less benefit than the last one.
So a smart approach is to slowly increase the average distance of your runs until you are getting the results you want and then hold steady thereafter. If your goal is maximizing your general health, you might aim standard for the World Health Organization of 150 min.
of active aerobic exercise weekly. You can hit that mark with 5 half-hour runs. If your goal is losing pounds, try aiming instead for a calorie target. Some people who run for weight loss try to burn 500 calories on a typical run because it is a nice round number and because, if done consistently is enough to yield substantial weight loss over time.
9. How fast should you run?
The results you achieve from your running program depend on not only by how much you run (i.e., how far and how often) but also by your running speed.
Exercise experts actually more speak of intensity than speed because it is the relative intensity of running (i.e., the percentage of maximum breathing rate or heart rate ) that determines its effects on the individual runner, not the absolute speed (i.e., mph or minutes per mile).
For example, a beginner might find herself at an intensity of 75 % of her maximum heart rate at a pace of 11 min. per mile, while an experienced competitive runner might have to run 7 min. per mile to get the same intensity, but the benefits for both runners will be the same.
10. Stay hydrated
In the past, runners were advised to drink as much water as possible during every workout trying to prevent dehydration and its consequences, particularly heat illness.
Today, experts advise runners to drink only during runs that are long or intense enough to cause a significant thirst and to drink only as much as they feel thirst during running.
The new research shows that drinking more than one is thirsty for while running doesn’t improve the performance or your body’s regulation of temperature (compared to drinking by thirst), while it does highly increase the risk of gastrointestinal discomfort. On most runs just water is sufficient. In workouts that are too long or too intense to cause you more than moderately fatigued, a sports drink containing carbs and electrolyte minerals will give you an extra boost.
11. How often should you run?
Whether your goal is to lose pounds, improve your overall health or participate in races, you will get the best results from your running if you exercise more or less every day.
But this doesn’t mean you have to also run every day. In fact, in the early running stages, it would be smart to run only every other day. This frequency levels will give your joints, muscles, and bones time to recover fully and adapt between runs.
On non-running days, you can do some other form of aerobic exercise, like an elliptical trainer, or work on your strength and mobility through an activity like weight lifting or yoga. Once you feel comfortable running every other day, you may want to increase the number of your runs by replacing non-running workouts with running or gradually work toward running daily.
12. How to run properly
The way you run is the most important thing when you start running, and no fancy pair of “running shoes” can help you.
In fact, did you know that these expensive running shoes are probably more likely to cause you injury than if you were to run barefoot? True story. Fancy, expensive, cushioned shoes promote bad behavior.
Your ankles and arches get all of the support needed from the shoes, so your stabilizer muscles and tendons go unused and grow complacent, which is a recipe for disaster. You should run with your heel hitting the ground first, which means your leg is completely extended, meaning that the impact of your step will send shockwaves through your hips, lower back, ankle, knee, and so on. Not good. Multiply this impact by thousands of steps every day, and you will get injured.
13. Cool down properly
Many people dismiss the cooldown and think of it as a waste of time, or simply unimportant. In reality, the cooling down is just as important as the warming up.
The main benefit of the cooldown is promoting recovery and returning your body to a pre-workout levels or pre-exercise. During a hard workout, your body goes through many of stressful processes: ligaments, muscle fibers, and tendons get damaged, and waste products build up within the body.
Performed properly cool down will assist your body in its repair process. To properly cool down you can walk 5-10 minutes. This will slowly start bringing your heart rate down to resting and keeping your muscles moving so they don’t seize up.