If it seems like running has become one of the more popular forms of exercise, you’re not wrong. Statistica reports that nearly 60 million people participated in running, jogging, or trail running in 2017.
Whether you are interested in running to get healthier or have a marathon or 5k on your bucket list, there are a few things to consider before you start running (especially if you’re new to the world of running).
Schedule an Appointment with Your Doctor
Running is loaded with health benefits, but it doesn’t automatically mean that it’s the best exercise for you. If you’re exploring running for the first time, or you haven’t run in a few years, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor about starting running.
Most people get the “green light” to go ahead and start running, but depending on your health, your doctor may recommend other types of exercise.
Start Slow and Be Realistic About Your Goals
Many new runners get injured or burned out because they start out running too fast, push themselves too hard, or have unrealistic goals about running.
Running may seem pretty basic, but it takes practice, and it’s important to perfect your posture, form, and stride. Every runner has to start somewhere, so don’t forget to go slow and work up to moving faster and farther.
Some runners find success with apps or programs, such as “Couch to 5k.”
Get The Right Gear
Any experienced runner will tell you that the running shoe you wear will make or break your experience with running. Be prepared to replace your running shoes on a regular basis and spend the extra money on getting fitted for the right shoe at a store that specializes in running shoes.
Other gear, such as a good sports bra for women and clothing that wicks away moisture, will make a difference in your comfort and confidence while running.
Find a Running Buddy
At the beginning of your running journey, you might find it challenging to run alone or be accountable for sticking to a running schedule. A running partner, or even a group of runners with similar experience levels, will not only keep you company but can help you stay safer if you’re injured on a run.
Know How To Run Safely
There are many things to consider to reduce your risk of injuries while running. Adequate hydration is essential during your run, as is stretching before and after.
Running at night may be your favorite time of day to exercise, but reflective gear is a “must.” Plan on running on the road? Always run towards traffic.
Sharing the road with drivers is risky, but sometimes your only option. If you run towards traffic, you are making yourself more visible to drivers but never assume that a driver sees you. Always stay alert.
Be Patient With Yourself
As a new runner, it’s important to go easy on yourself. You might not run far or fast in the beginning (or even the months that follow).
Allow yourself to take walking breaks and if you decide to sign up for a 5k or a marathon, don’t worry about where you place in the race, but rather be proud that you finished.