Ready to start running?

runAttention, beginner runner: It’s safe and smart to start out slow. Really slow. Give it some time to help your muscles get used to the impact of running. Follow a run/walk program three times a week (not on consecutive days).

Regular running can reduce your risk of chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke. It can also boost your mood and keep your weight under control.

Set a goal – If you want to stay committed, then you need something to work for. If you have never run before, then find and enter a 5k race. Your goal may just be to complete it without stopping, or to do it in under half an hour – it doesn’t matter, as long as you work towards that goal.

Invest in a good pair of running shoe – Expect to shell out at least $75 for a good running shoe. Sneakers that don’t meet the needs of your foot type and running style can lead to Achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis (heel pain), knee pain, and shin splints.

Train your brain – After a few weeks, you’ll begin to believe that the whole idea of an exercise high is not a myth. But, it can be hard to get out the door at first. And relying on willpower alone just won’t work. Make a plan. Listen to certain music, pick the most convenient time to work out and pick some rewards that will motivate you to just get up and go.

Build mileage gradually – Adding miles too quickly can lead to burnout and injury. So increase your long run by no more than one to one and half miles at a time.

Take breaks before you need to – Once you’re running, you may feel comfortable enough to skip the walk breaks. But it’s important to take walk breaks before you feel like you need them. This will help fend off fatigue and prevent you from doing too much too soon.

Run with a friend – It really helps to have someone about the same level of ability as you to run with. You’ll encourage each other when you’re not so keen to run. You’ll feel you don’t want to let your running partner down, and this will help motivate you.

Cross-training – Weak muscles are prime targets for injury. Strengthen them with a bi-weekly 30-minute strength-training session that targets all your major muscle groups. There are plenty of other forms of exercise that will help your running: pilates is brilliant for building core strength, a spinning class will give you a good workout and a swim may just help stretch sore muscles.

Stretch – Running makes muscles short and tight, which can compromise your form and cause injury. Stretch after a warmup, then repeat after your run (stretching when your muscles are cold can lead to injury)

Be patient – Many of the positive changes that are happening when you start exercising won’t be visible in the mirror or on the scale. The weight loss will come if you’re consistent, but it takes time to condition your muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Plus, every time your foot strikes the ground, it stimulates bone growth, so your bones get stronger and denser.  When you’re not patient, you risk doing too much too soon and getting injured.

Come join FitMama every Sunday morning for a run at Lysterfield Lake. Buzz me at 0425 751 810 to confirm your attendance.

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