Thursday, March 31, 2005

Getting started with running

Running is an awesome sport, but starting out is hard. It takes at least a month of consistent training before it starts to become easier and feel good. That's why so many people try it, and then hate it. The key is to have patience, be forgiving, and take it slow. Here are some tips for getting started:

1. Take it slow. Follow the 10% rule. Don't increase your weekly volume (mileage or time) by more than 10% at a time. This may be too aggressive for some.
2. Intervals. Try walking and then running. Start with more walking than running. Say 5 minutes walking and 2 minutes running. Then begin increasing the running and decreasing the walking.
3. Alternate your training. Don't do the same route and the same intensity every day. Following a hard run, do an easier, fun run the next day. Mix up trail running, road running, track running, and treadmill running to avoid boredom and injury.
4. Don't forget rest days. It's different for everyone. For me, it's hard to run more than 3 days in a row straight without having a break. You can always cross-train on the off days. Or, just rest! Rest is important.
5. Cross-train. Do activities like biking or use the ellipitical or stair master. You'll be using good running muscles and building them up but without the impact. Do weight training. I started getting a lot faster when I started weight training. It helps. Also, don't forget your upper body for balance. A strong core and upper body helps with running because it can carry itself and help you along. Swimming is great for this.
6. Practice good form. Have good posture when you run. Stretch up tall and relax your shoulders. Shake them out if you need to to prevent them from tightening up. Keep your core contracted to help support your back and upper body while you run. Focus on landing mid-foot or fore-foot, and land lightly with each step, as if you're tapping the ground. The more time spent on the ground, the slower you go. It should feel like you're floating.
7. Have fun! Relax and enjoy. That's why you're doing it, right?

Here are some useful links (don't forget the link in the title!):

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