Now that spring is here, the runners are everywhere. At nearly any time of day, they can be spotted resolutely running down the road, along jogging paths, and on the sidewalks.
If you would like to join these legions of healthy looking people, go for it! You don’t have to train for a marathon to benefit from running.
The Right Equipment
Not surprisingly, the most important equipment a runner needs is the right shoes. Don’t skimp on these. As a beginner, you don’t have to buy the most expensive shoes, but ensuring that you have good support is critical.
The shoe you choose will depend on the shape of your foot, your weight, the surfaces you will run on, and how the shoe feels on your foot. If you can, find a salesperson who can help you select the best shoe for you.
Beyond shoes you will want athletic socks and light-weight, loose clothing that you can layer. Wear a comfortable hat to keep the sun off your face and absorb sweat. Use sunscreen.
You might also want an iPod or similar device.
When you set out, jog in place a little, stretch, jog, and stretch a little more. Start slowly and don’t be discouraged if you feel winded after a few blocks. Slow down and walk for a while.
When you finish your run, walk for a few minutes to cool down. Stretch again.
Don’t run every day, at least not at first. Aim to run three times a week. Be diligent about keeping to this schedule.
Beginners often get discouraged because they try too much too soon. Set realistic goals and when you achieve them, make new goals.
Keep a runner’s journal, which is a notebook or computer file where you log every run you do. This a great motivator as it lets you see your progress.
If you keep at it, you will soon notice that your distance increases and your wind and strength improve. You may never run further than three or four miles at one time, but even so, if you do this regularly, you will soon feel better, look better, and notice improved physical endurance.
Be Safe and Be Healthy
Run in well lit, safe areas. Be aware of your surroundings at all times. This means knowing where cars are, taking note of traffic lights, and watching out for bicyclists. If you can, run with a buddy.
If you use an iPod, make sure the music is not so loud that you cannot hear a car’s horn or a warning shout.
Drink plenty of water. Runners need to be well hydrated and the best way to do this is to drink water frequently during the day. You may want to carry a water bottle with you when you run.