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Is Not About Me"
The Right Shoes Are Essential
Before you take your first step, get yourself a good pair of
running shoes. It truly is the most important investment
you'll make. Go to a store specializing in running gear,
where the staff tends to be knowledgeable about the
products, and try on as many pairs as necessary to find the
right shoes for you. A good fit is essential. And don't even
think about running in your regular cross-trainers, tennis
shoes, or sneakers. Running can be traumatic on the body. The
mechanics of running creates specific kinds of forces on the
body. Running shoes are designed to absorb and minimize
those kinds of forces.
Keep in mind that running shoes have a limited lifespan.
Generally speaking, quality running shoes have 500 miles of life.
Even though they may still look good after 500 miles, shock absorption diminishes
after 500 miles and if you run in shoes that have more than
500 miles into them, you are opening yourself up to injury.
Consult Your Physician
Before you start any new fitness program, it's wise to
consult with your physician
especially if you're a man 45
or older or a woman 50 or older, the experts say. A
physician will examine your blood pressure, cholesterol, BMI
(body mass index), blood sugar and more. Running is not the
best exercise for everyone. So, listen to your doctor and
Ease Into A Routine
Once you get a green flag from the doctor, put on those new
running shoes and start out with a combination of walking
and jogging. For example, you might alternate walking for
five minutes and jogging for two minutes. Over time,
steadily increase the amount of time you spend running until
you're able to jog for 20 minutes at a time. Once you
achieve that, start increasing your distance. However, it is
recommended that you increase your exercise time/intensity
by no more than 10% per week.
If you have been sedentary, start only with walking. Then,
progress to brisk walking before adding any jogging.
Progression is the key element for a beginner. Your
cardiovascular system will adapt more easily than your
musculoskeletal system. People don't usually give up running
because their heart can't adapt, but because of injury.
Gradually conditioning yourself with a combination of
walking and running gives your body time to adapt to the new
stress on the joints and muscles. The first two weeks are
usually difficult. Getting out the door is often the biggest
Tips For Feeling Good
To keep feeling good during your runs, many experts
recommend these tips:
While you're running, be sure you can pass the "talk test":
You should still be able to carry on a conversation. Keep
your pace comfortable so you won't burn out too quickly.
Instead of tracking the miles you run, count time. Don't get
caught up in measuring distance. The clock is most important
to keep your eye on.
As you build up past 20 minutes, be sure to stay hydrated.
This is especially important during the warm-weather months.
Know where the water is, where the park is, where the gas
or you can stash water along your route ahead
of time. Also, you might want to carry a small container of
water. There are some good running bottles available.
In addition to running, do strength training to build muscle
and bone density and protect against injury. A 20-minute
strength workout a couple of times a week is all you need.
To get started, get a personal trainer to write out a
program you can do at home
or get a quality video.
Save stretching for after your run, when your muscles are
warm. Stretching cold muscles increases the risk for injury.
To stay consistent with your running program, keep a running
journal or log. At the beginning of the week, plot out when
you plan to run and for how long, and commit it to paper.
You may want to use a pedometer to count steps.
Setting specific goals
whether it's time, distance, weight loss or cholesterol
will also inspire you to stay on track with a running
Consider A Running Companion
Another thing that helps: finding a friend to run with.
Having a partner to meet you at the mailbox will keep you
motivated... and honest.
In or Out?
Is it better to run on a treadmill or outside? You can get a
great cardiovascular workout either way, and there are
benefits to both, the experts say. With a treadmill, you're
never far from home. It's a good choice if you're injured or
rehabbing an injury
or just feeling a little intimidated
about running outdoors. You don't have to deal with
stoplights, dogs, cars, pollution, bad weather, and more.
Treadmill running can be lower-impact too. Many runners
equate it to running on grass. But a treadmill doesn't quite
simulate the outdoors.
When you're outdoors, you're getting fresh air. Running
during the sunlight you get vitamin D, which women really
need to absorb calcium. You have the scenery
you can discover parts of your city or town, or if you're
traveling, it's a great way to see a city. It's better with
a group of people, and easier to do with a family.
Stay Safe... Be Seen
Always run on a sidewalk if one is available, being
courteous of people on the sidewalk. If no sidewalks are
available, always run on the outside edge of roadways facing traffic.
Too many runners go the same direction as traffic and place
themselves in a dangerous situation with traffic coming up
behind them. If you're running at night always wear a reflective
vest or some other form of reflective material. Also,
headlamps and/or other running lights warn drivers and
bicyclists that you
are near the roadway.
Road ID makes wonderful identification
items for runners and those IDs have saved many lives.
In fact, Paul Staso wears a "Road ID" on his training
runs and while crossing states and countries during P.A.C.E.
Treks. Finally, always pay attention to drivers. In today's age of
cell phones and other portable electronic devices, drivers
are not as attentive as they should be. Always be aware of
drivers around you, as well as bicyclists and other forms of
When Not To Run
Running is not for everyone, say the experts. If you have an
injury or disability, or if running is painful for you, try
cycling, cross-country skiing or swimming. They all work
well. The advantage to running is it doesn't take any
equipment except shoes, you can do it anywhere, and it's
convenient. It's one of the best cardio-respiratory
activities you can do.
Keep In Mind Thomas Jefferson's Words:
"Not less than two hours a day should be devoted to
exercise... I speak from experience, having made this
arrangement of my life. If the body is feeble, the mind will
not be strong.”