How to Start Running Safely

Let’s talk about how to get started running. There are a lot of reasons people enjoy running. There are also a lot of reasons people think they cannot run or should not run. Few of the reasons people think they should not run are actually legitimate. Let’s dispel some of these myths and talk about how you can get started running.

First, you have to understand that when starting a new exercise routine and becoming active when you have been sedentary requires the advice and clearance of a doctor. There is no substitution for this advice, so visit your doctor before embarking on a new exercise program.

Running gained in popularity with the masses in the 1970s. And beyond the fancier shoes we have today, not too much has changed in regard to participating in the sport. You just need a good pair of running shoes, the appropriate clothes for the weather conditions and yourself.

A lot of people think running is bad for you. Perhaps they think it hurts the knees too much or is just too hard on the body. Long term studies on those running for decades have shown that runners gain a lot of advantages when compared to their non-running counterparts.

A report conducted by Stanford researcher James Fries tracked over 500 runners for 20 years. The study found that runners had fewer disabilities, a greater span of activity in their lives and were about half as likely to suffer from an early death. The study also found that the joint damage that many expected to see from decades of running did not happen (barring injury of course).

A news report published on NPR’s website in May of 2011 also cites several studies that find runners are not at an increased risk of developing arthritis and that jogging may even be beneficial. The researchers do note that if you have had knee surgery or are more than 20 pounds overweight, you should ease into a running program and follow your doctor’s advice.

The best advice I can give on how to get into running is what is stated in the above paragraph—ease into the program. Base how fast you ease into a program on your fitness level when you start the program and listen to your body. Being uncomfortable is ok—you can and should push through that. If you are in pain though, stop immediately. Pain is a sign of impending injury or injury. This is when you should take some time off.

If you are completely sedentary you should start by walking. This also holds true if you are more than 20 pounds overweight. Walk for a certain amount of minutes per day. Pay attention to the minutes and not the miles. Once you are ready, you can start doing a run walk routine. Run for a minute or two, walk for a bit and then repeat.

Work up to longer running times as your body adapts to the new activity. You may experience a good deal of muscle soreness. This is ok. It won’t always be that way. Make sure you are eating a healthy diet too.

Once you are able to run for a good deal of time—30 minutes or so—you can start to investigate the intricacies of running and possibly start to prepare for a 5k, 10k, half-marathon or marathon. There are several types of training runs you can do so take the time to learn about them.

Make sure you stay as consistent as possible too. Do take a break when you are sick and if you experience injury, take sufficient time off to heal.

Finally, go to a running store and get fitted for a proper pair of running shoes. Don’t let price, color or style be a factor. Have someone who knows how to fit a pair of running shoes bring out a dozen or so shoes and watch you run in several different kinds. They will narrow down your choices based on the mechanics of your feet. This is super important. It is amazing how well a good pair of running shoes will fit and feel from the first time you use them. There is no such thing as a break-in period.

Running is one of those sports that do not require much in terms of equipment and time spent learning. It is just something that you go do, and it provides so many wonderful benefits. Take your time when starting a running program and enjoy the journey. That is what it is all about.