Many people hoping to get in shape turn to running because of its simplicity—just strap on a pair of shoes and go. However, things are actually a little more complicated than this. If you want to be serious about running, there are some things you’ll want to consider to ensure that you take safe, healthy strides toward a fit body. Using these five tips will help make your new foray into running as fun and painless as possible.
- Start slow.
While it’s natural for you to be excited and want do as much running as quickly as possible, overexerting yourself in the beginning can lead to a serious injury. If you’re new to running, the sport will undoubtedly place stress on your legs that you’re not used to, and easing yourself into that stress is the only way to avoid getting hurt. Start out with short, 10-minute runs and increase your time gradually. A good rule of thumb is to never run more than 10% more than you did the week before.
- Find the right running shoes.
You have tons of options when it comes to choosing running shoes, and sometimes these choices can get overwhelming. Choosing the correct design helps maximize your comfort while running and minimizes your risk of injury, and finding a good fit has a lot to do with understanding the shape of your foot and how it works.
If you’ve got flat feet, chances are they roll inward while you run, which is known as overpronation. You’ll want to go for a brand that promotes stability and motion control.
If you have high arches, you’re probably an underpronator, meaning that your feet roll outward while you run. If this is the case, you should go for a pair that promotes flexibility and has shock absorbers. If your arches are somewhere in between, you should be able to find success with a wide variety of footwear.
- Be consistent.
Consistency in your routine is important if you want to turn running into a full-blown habit. While building distance is a perfectly fine goal to reach for, it’s much more essential that you are running with regularity. Consistency is also key for helping your body adapt to the physical stress of running.
- Maintain a healthy diet.
All the hard work you put into running can easily be undone by a less-than-stellar diet if you’re not careful. You may be surprised to learn that the average 150-pound person only burns about 110 calories per mile. While this can provide you with a little extra caloric wiggle room in your diet, many people think that starting an exercise routine gives them license to eat whatever they want; this is simply not true.
- Watch your form.
Poor form can lead to a number of degenerative injuries if you’re not careful. In general, your body should be relaxed without any unnecessary tension. Keep your head directly above your spine with your shoulders rolled back and down, and let your arms move back and forth naturally with your elbows at a 90-degree angle. You should be landing on the middle part of your feet, and they should be lined up with your knees when they hit the ground.