Recently, a few of our Metro claims office employees have decided to enter into a local half marathon in an effort to become more physically fit. At first, training for a race can be overwhelming for the beginning runner, and motivation can quickly decrease. However, what started as a casual conversation at the water cooler has now developed into a rewarding hobby. Here are 6 tips to help with getting out and increasing your physical fitness through running.
1. Get fitted for proper shoes.
Running is a popular choice for the beginner fitness enthusiast as it does not cost much to start and you can run anywhere. One item that you will need to buy is a good pair of running shoes that are fitted to your specific arch type. A properly fitting shoe will help avoid unnecessary injury and soreness. Experts recommend visiting your local running store with well-informed staff to help determine what shoe will fit your foot the best.
2. Develop a plan.
Setting realistic goals for your running journey helps to stay focused and motivated throughout your training. One of the biggest hurdles is getting into shape to be able to run a race. A popular smartphone app, Couch to 5K®, is designed to take a non-runner to being able to complete a 5k race or 30 minutes of non-stop running in just 9 weeks. The app is based on 3 workouts a week with intervals of running and walking. This style of running and walking helps ease your body into the habit of running long distances.
3. Warm up and cool down.
Rather than sprinting out the door at full speed, experts recommend a proper warm up prior to your work out. If you start too fast, there is a higher risk of injury and then burning out prior to the completion of your run. Experts recommend a gentle walk for 3 to 5 minutes prior to your run. Also, once completed with your workout, stretching has been shown to help prevent injuries and reduce future soreness.
4. Don’t do too much too soon.
Enthusiasm is great fuel for your training; however, increasing your mileage too quickly can result in injury. Experts recommend increasing your distance no more than 10% each week. Should you desire to workout more, it is recommended to supplement your running with cross-training exercises such as biking.
5. Run safely.
Be sure to face traffic so you are able to see and react to oncoming vehicles. High-visibility clothing is recommended during the day, and always wear reflective materials when out after sunset. Never assume that a driver sees you, and always be sure to make room for oncoming motorists.
6. Dress appropriately.
A good rule of thumb is to dress like it is 10 to 15 degrees warmer than it is outside. Once you warm up and acclimate to the outside temperature, you will be glad the additional layers were left at home. This rule applies even when running in cooler winter temperatures.
Running can be a daunting physical and mental challenge. Taking these tips into account when beginning to run may help to stay motivated to pursue your fitness goals.