Zombie runs, marathons in ball gowns and heels, and the Annual Army Run all sound fun and exciting. For new runners participation does require some preparation.
Running is popular because it offers an excellent cardiovascular workout and can be an inexpensive sport. Runners willing to brave weather conditions can exercise just about anywhere without signing up for expensive gym memberships.
“While anyone can start a program on their own, proper knowledge is beneficial in maximizing the benefits and minimizing your chances of getting injured. Unfortunately, there are right ways and wrong ways to get started running,” said Heather Roe, Assistant to Ray Zahab, International Adventurer and Ultra Marathon Runner.
When beginning a running program, one of the first things to think about are personal goals.
“What do you want to accomplish? Are you running to lose weight?
Are you running to become stronger?
Do you want to impress your cardiologist? If you are just looking for a healthier lifestyle, then a 15 to 30 minute light jogging program would suit you the best,” said Roe.
Then runners need to consider their personal schedules and create a plan. Working full-time, taking care of families and busy households makes it more difficult to find time to exercise. Ask a friend to watch the kids while you run. Consider setting up a small running club, or group of parents who want to run, but need childcare too. Be inventive and support fellow runners.
Then put the plan into action. Be equipped for the weather. Cool attire that moves moisture away from skin is the best. Add layers in the colder weather. Buy shoes that protect feet against the repeated pounding they take while running. Going to a reputable sports store for a shoe fitting will save money because the shoes will last longer and will fit better. Runners who take on distances require hydration belts as well. Hydration is key to successful running.
Follow a program. Running programs can be found on-line, in running magazines, from friends, and are offered by reputable running stores. Find one that works for you and follow it to avoid injury. People hurt themselves everyday while out on a simple run. Injury places runners in the position of having to start their running program over after taking time off to heal.
“When starting your program the first thing you have to remove from your mind is the desire to run only when you’re in the mood for it. If you don’t start running when you don’t feel like it, the ‘I like this’ feeling is never going to come,” said Roe.
Keep a running journal that includes program accomplishments, dates and locations of runs, and special running events. Consider using a smart phone app running program that functions according to personal data you input. Journals hold runners accountable and offer a record of progress from initially setting goals to crossing the finish line at an organized running event.