When starting a new fitness regime, you may be excited and exhilarated by the prospect of meeting your goals. However, you put on your running shoes for your first run ever, walk out the door, start jogging and two minutes later you feel as if you’re about to die. In this article, we will discuss the basics of running for beginners and a great running schedule to get you on your track to fitness in no time.
Before You Begin Running
There are a few things you must consider before you even step one foot out of the front door. Are you properly hydrated? Are you wearing the right shoes? Are you wearing proper clothing? Let’s explore these questions a little more in depth.
Hydration is one of the biggest keys in any fitness regiment. If you are not properly hydrated you can become easily fatigued, your body will not cool properly, and you simply will not perform as well. The goal is not to pack your body full of water, but to find the right balance of water and electrolytes. Do not drink just to drink, drink for your thirst. Water is best; however, it is recommended to also add a sports drink of some kind to replace or add electrolytes to your system to promote the absorption of fluids.
You may ask how can you tell if you are properly hydrated? There are two major indicators of hydration. The first is the urine test. If your urine is a dark color, you are not hydrated properly. You want to see urine that is pale yellow in color. The second indicator is whether you are sweating or not. If you start a run and you are sweating well, then part way through the run you stop sweating, it is time to stop. You do not have enough fluids in your body to sweat in order to keep your body cool.
Wearing the proper shoes will greatly influence how your body reacts to a running regime. For example, basketball shoes or walking shoes are not going to provide the proper support and balance for your body to absorb the impact of running in the right manner. Look for shoes specifically geared toward running. Some popular major brands, good for beginners, are Asics, NewBalance, and Saucony. Different brands and types of running shoes will be discussed in a later article.
Finding clothing appropriate for running is a simple task. Wear clothing that is comfortable to move freely in. If it is chilly outside, dress in layers with cooler layers such as shorts and a t-shirt underneath sweat pants, sweaters, and windbreakers. Especially as a beginner, you will not know exactly how hot you actually get while running, and with layers you will always have the option to remove a layer if you get too warm.
Now For the Run
How should you begin running? It is definitely not recommended to start at a sprint. You will easily wear out your body and it most likely will turn you off to running altogether. I personally recommend that you start with the “Couch to 5K” program. It is a combination of warm-up, running, walking, and a cool-down period. As the program progresses, the amount of time spent walking dwindles while the amount of time spent running increases. Although it states 5K (approximately three miles) in the program title, it is not geared toward distance. It is instead geared toward actual time spent jogging or running. You can research other beginner programs on the internet; however, this particular program has been tested and is highly recommended by me. When I began this program years ago as an unfit smoker, I was barely able to make it through the first workout. I went from barely being able to complete the first day to running a minimum of eight miles at a time and directing a beginner’s running group for my place of employment.
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