How to Start Running, a Guide for Beginners

Running is a great source of exercise and stress relief and can be a great way to meet new people. Learning how to start running can have lifelong benefits, both cardiovascular and psychological. Another benefit of running is that people of any age can participate, and the chance to compete doesn't end with college. No matter where you live, you're bound to find a road race to match your abilities. Before you get serious, though, you need a solid training program.

You'll need the appropriate gear to start running. Sneakers are probably the most important piece of equipment you'll need. Look for sneakers with support for your knees and ankles. If you pronate or supinate you should find sneakers designed specifically for your type of foot. A running specialty store can help you find the right sneakers for you.
Clothing is another overlooked part of running gear. Sure, you could toss on an old pair of shorts and a tee shirt, but if you're looking to make running a serious part of your life and will be running in heat, you might want to spring for clothes made from wicking material. These will keep you cooler by keeping sweat off of you. Also make sure to buy quality socks and a sports bra, if you're a woman.

Set attainable goals for yourself when you start running. You don't want to be unreasonable with your training and end up with an injury. Take into consideration your present fitness level, desired fitness level and time commitment. If you have any health issues, be sure to talk to your doctor before beginning a running program.
Always make sure to warm-up and cool down during a workout. To do this, simply walk or jog at a decreased rate. This will loosen your muscles in preparation for your run, which will prevent injury. Make sure you stretch after you run as well.

If you've never run before or it's been a while, start by running just one or two miles. If the idea of running one mile seems too much, try a walk/run approach; walk for two minutes and run for one. Each time you workout, increase your running time by a minute.

As you become accustomed to running, increase your mileage. Make sure you never increase your weekly mileage by more than ten percent. Doing so could cause injury and will most likely cause burnout. If you plan on training for a race, slowly build up to the race mileage (unless you're marathon training, in which case you may opt to not run the full 26.2 miles until race day).

Try to run three to four days each week, changing your route to keep yourself motivated and enthusiastic about running. Set a goal for yourself, whether it be running a full mile, competing in a race or losing some weight. This will keep you hitting the pavement.

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