How To Properly Begin To Train.

Running has become a very popular physical activity in the past several years for people of all fitness levels. Many people use it as a way to lose weight or just as a new physical challenge. It is also a form of exercise that does not require gym equipment and many people have enjoyed running to stay in shape while gyms were closed due to COVID restrictions. As summer is upon us, more people will be going outside more often to get fresh air and enjoy outdoor exercise like running. If you are new to running, here are some helpful tips as you begin to train. 

1. Make sure you don’t have any health problems

If you have any existing medical problems that may impact your ability to start a new exercise program, consult with your doctor. If you are unsure if you have any medical problems such as cardiovascular issues and are in a high risk group related to age, gender, or family history, it would be good to still consult with a doctor and get screened.  

2. Get fitted for proper running shoes

There are many running shoe stores with employees who are knowledgeable in all of the different types of running shoes and how to fit those shoes properly. Having adequate support on your feet is very important when running and may even decrease the risk of injury.

3. Choose a safe place to run

Avoiding running in the dark and alone is a generally a good guideline to follow. If it is dark out, choose an area that is well lit. Make sure you are aware of your surroundings. And try to keep the volume low on the music or podcasts you are listening to. 

4. Progress slowly

Be realistic about your goals. As a first time runner, or perhaps you are getting back into running after a long hiatus, do not start immediately with a high volume of running. Where exactly to start will ultimately depend on each individual. If you do not have any baseline of fitness and experience with exercising, it might be best to start with walk/run intervals and short distances. 

5. Warm up and Cool Down

While many runners want to just start running as soon as they step out of their home, getting a good warm up with dynamic stretching and/or a short walk can help better prepare your body for the activity. It helps to increase your heart rate and increase circulation in your muscles to prepare for the quick and continuous movements. Cooling down after your run with a walk and/or static stretching can help to gradually bring your heart rate down to pre-exercise levels and may decrease muscle soreness later. 

6. Do not run every day

As you are beginning a new running program, having a day of rest in between runs can be very beneficial. This does not mean it has to be a complete rest day of sedentary activity – nor should it be. Strength training can help to add variety to your workouts, build strength, and even making running more enjoyable as you may get burned out from running if you do run too many consecutive days. 

There are many books and other resources online with different running programs for every level of fitness. Keep in mind that some plans are more aggressive and some more conservative with different theories and scientific evidence to support their model. From the experience of a PT who has worked with runners, the more aggressive plans tend to increase the risk of injury, especially with new runners. If you want more detailed and specific advice for yourself, we suggest that you consult with an OMPT Specialists physical therapist who is skilled in exercise prescription for wellness and managing orthopedic issues. If you are struggling with any running related pain, please call today for a FREE consultation. 

By OMPT Specialists Physical Therapy

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