If you've made the decision to start a running program, congratulations! Running is an excellent form of exercise and racing events continue to increase in popularity across the country. From 5K races to marathons, there is something for everyone who is looking to take part in a running event. It's also an excellent way for you to be healthy as it can help prevent disease, manage weight, relieve stress and give you a mental boost.
However, it's important to train properly and begin slowly if you are starting a program for the first time. Here are some tips to help you get started on a safe and effective running program.
Determine Your Level of Fitness
Each person's fitness level and health status varies, so it's important to take that into consideration especially if you have any health limitations or suffer from a chronic illness. You should always talk with your doctor before beginning a fitness regimen. Other factors like age, weight and natural durability will also affect your running program. For example, if you are under 30 years of age, weigh less than 150 pounds and have a solid base fitness level, you may be able to run a longer distance more quickly than someone who is older, heavier or less fit.
Many people find it helpful to begin a running program by doing a combination of walking and running. For example, start your activity with two minutes of walking followed by one minute of running. Repeat for approximately 20 minutes. Over the next weeks, you can gradually increase the amount of running or the duration as your body adjusts to the increase in activity. While daily exercise is recommended for optimal health, you should give your body time to adjust in the beginning. Allow 48 hours between runs to allow your body time to rest and your muscles to recover. In between runs, you can participate in other non-impact or low-impact activities like weight training, swimming, bicycling or yoga.
In the first few months of beginning a running program, try to keep a slow and steady pace. Also, stay in tune with your body. If you experience significant aches and pains, you may need to decrease the duration and/or intensity of your workouts.
Are You Up for the Challenge?
For many people, a running program is an excellent training motivator. And with the popularity of road races, many decide to extend their training to participating in a race. If you decide that road racing is next on your "to-do" list, Runner's World can provide you with valuable information to get started off on the right foot. Learn more in the Race Training section of Runner's World.
You can also find a listing of various walking and running events around Mississippi from Let's Go Walkin' Mississippi. Be healthy and active this spring! Get off to a running start!