Run for your life!

I used to run all the time.  Then I hurt my ankle and I had to stop for a while.  I was reluctant to take it back up again, mainly because I was too lazy.  When I first started running, it took me ages to get to a point where I could do it without all the wheezing and sore muscles that occur when you’re a novice.  I didn’t want to start from the bottom again.  Finally, I decided I was tired of being a wuss and forced myself to just go.  Sure, the first run was difficult, but it was nowhere near as bad as I’d expected.  Now, I’ve been going at least once a week, and I’m starting to shake off my wobbly legs and sore chest and really enjoy myself.

Running is a great way to exercise.  It’s brilliant for burning fat, improving heart health and increasing your general fitness.  It’s also loads of fun.  If you’re thinking of incorporating running into your fitness routine, go for it.  You’ll feel great. Before you start though, take a look at some of my best running tips and tricks:

– Get yourself a good pair of running shoes.  Be sure to choose a pair that are designed specifically for running, and only use them for that purpose.  Wearing the wrong shoes can increase the risk of injury, expose your joints to greater impact during running and make running a much yuckier experience than it needs to be.

– Have a really good stretch before and after your run.  Aim to stretch for at least ten minutes.  This will reduce your chance of injuring yourself, and lessen post-run stiffness.

– Jog outside.  It’s so much nicer to run in the fresh air.  Natural scenery is more interesting than the drab walls of a gym, and will make your run more enjoyable.  Also, running outside gives you a better workout than running on a treadmill.  The treadmill actually pulls your feet along slightly, so you don’t have to work as hard to keep up your momentum.  You’ll burn more calories running outside.

– Don’t start out sprinting.  Walk for a block before you start to ease into a light jog.  This gives your muscles a chance to warm up.  At the end of your run, walk the last block to cool down.

– If you get tired, don’t stop suddenly.  This can shock your muscles and cause them to stiffen up.  Instead, slow down to a walk until you’re ready to jog again.

– Maintain your posture while you’re running.  I have a tendency to hunch my shoulders up, which leaves them very sore the next day.  Keep your head held high, your shoulders down and tuck your tummy in.

– Try to keep your breathing even and controlled while you’re running.  This will help you to avoid that raw throat/ tight chest feeling.  I also find concentrating on breathing in through my nose and out through my mouth keeps breathlessness at bay.

– Start out slowly, with short runs and then build your way up to doing longer routes.  Don’t push yourself too hard.

– Remember to stay safe while you’re running.  Always stick to well-lit, public areas, and keep your mobile phone handy.  If you listen to music while you’re working out, make sure that you keep it turned down low enough that you can hear if someone approaches you.

Running is really great fun, and it’s fantastic for your fitness and health.  If you haven’t tried it, I would totally recommend giving it a go.

Are you a runner?  Do you have any tips to add to this list?

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