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Advice for a New Runner

Imagine that you have just begun your first run; you may find yourself struggling to continue for more than a few minutes because your shins are already on fire or your chest is aching, and you are concerned that you may be experiencing a heart attack. These feelings are entirely normal when you first begin your journey as a runner.

The human body is designed to achieve long distant running, but that does not mean that training and proper technique is not crucial to prevent injury. Running is a high impact sport and is incredibly strenuous on our bodies. Without proper form, we risk tears to our muscles, chipped teeth, and extreme fatigue before we can even make it a mile.

What is the proper way to run, and how do we achieve our distance goals?

Warm-up: Stretch Those Legs

Stretching your legs allows your body to increase free movement when you start to run. Without stretching first, you are forcing your body to use muscles that are too tight to run on.

It is suggested that you try to stretch your hamstrings, quads, and back before you take off. Holding each stretch for 15-30 seconds will ensure that your body is prepared for the strenuous exercise and prevents rips, which will then require less recovery time before your next run.

Slowing down: Slow and Steady Wins the Race

It is common to want to run at a fast pace when we first begin running; you are tempted to take off and start releasing endorphins in your brain, but doing so will only risk injury and deplete your energy too soon.

When we run, it is essential to start slow. A slow start allows around muscles to warm up and will enable us to run further distances before our bodies tell us it is time for a break. It is strongly advised to begin with a slow walk, then a crank it up to a brisk walk, followed by light jogging. Without this proper warm-up, our muscles will be tight, risking a tear, and the muscles will also deplete their oxygen, causing us to feel weak.

Proper Formation: Breathing and Stance

Ever experience a side sticker during a run? This pain is caused by pressure on your diaphragm, and the best way to avoid this is to practice proper breathing techniques. The next time you are on the run, try to breathe deeper through your nose and out through your mouth. This technique allows your lungs to fill and avoids putting to much stress on your diaphragm.

The proper form is equally as important as stretching beforehand to keep your muscles for getting all twisted when running. The first step to this pattern is purchasing the correct shoe for you. You can go to a local athletic store, and more often than not, they can perform specific tests that will help you find a pair of shoes that fit the design of your feet and reduce the amount of impact you will experience on your body.

Lastly, keep your shoulders back and allow your arms to thrust naturally. Moving your arms while running helps you gain speed; it carries the air out of your way and allows less stress to be put on your body while you run.

Remember This: Running is a beneficial exercise that helps you strengthen your muscles and promote cardiovascular health, but it is also stressful on the body. Strength your muscles beforehand, start slow and practice your breathing. Before you know it, you will be a pro!

Source: Hetzel, M., 2020. 11 Tips For Newbie Runners. [online] Runner's World. Available at: <> [Accessed 5 September 2020].

Disclaimer: I’m not a fitness expert, medical doctor or registered dietician. This blog is solely to share my experiences in running, fitness and nutrition. In regards to your health, please do your own study and exploration. Everything I share here comes from personal experiences, knowledge gained from sources, and is based off my own lifestyle. If you are in need of specific advice in any of these areas, please contact your own health professional.


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