If you are thinking about taking up running as a form of exercise, you may not know exactly where to begin or how to go about running. While the basic idea is very simple – put one foot in front of the other – there are some things you can do to improve your form and make running more effective. Here are some tips for runners that both novice and advanced women may find helpful.
- Invest in a good pair of running shoes. Yes, it may mean dropping $100 or so on shoes, but shoes designed for running will help you avoid hurting your feet. Other shoes will not give you the support you need.
- Work up to longer distances. There is no need to try to run a marathon during your first month of running. Start slowly – a few miles a week to start is not a bad idea. Some professionals suggest focusing on time instead of distance, especially in the beginning. Instead of trying to run five miles, try running for 30 minutes. This is often an easier goal to meet. Likewise, you can always change up your course to include hills or another more difficult terrain. You do not have to start there. Running for a bit of time is better than not doing any form of exercise at all. If you can only get in a few minutes, do so.
- Do not over-exert yourself. One thing experts suggest is to do the “talk test.” If you can hold a conversation with someone else while running, you are going at a good pace. If you are running so fast and hard that you can barely talk, you’re probably pushing it too hard. Unless you’re in a race, there is no need to wear yourself out.
- Try to remain loose. Running while tense makes it more likely that you’ll pull a muscle or otherwise injure yourself. Keep your jaw loose, do not tense up your shoulders and pause every now and then stretch and relax your arms and hands. Try to keep your hands cupped, not clenched into fists.
- Do not forget to warm up. You need to do a little bit of light walking before you stretch. Many people do not realize it, but stretching out cold muscles can actually be harmful.
- Always remember to drink plenty of water. While the average person needs to drink eight glasses of water a day, a runner needs more. Water keeps the joints lubricated, makes the body produce sweat, and more. Keep yourself hydrated.
- Listen to what your body is telling you. If you keep feeling a strange pain or tightness in your legs or feet, pay attention to it – something is wrong. Do not try to run through the pain because it could lead to a major issue. Instead, take it easy for a few days. If the pain has gone away, great. If it hasn’t, stop and see a doctor.
Each mile you run, regardless of the speed you run it at, burns around 100 calories. Slow miles are just as good as fast miles.