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Running Tips for Beginners

Follow these running tips and you'll be enjoying a free, healthy exercise that lets you see the world around you.


Running and jogging are two of America's favorite ways to stay in shape, and with good reason. Not only does running provide the body with necessary cardiovascular benefits, but it gives you the opportunity to see the world, or your neighborhood, in a new way. Running also provides competition for people of all ages and fitness levels who are seeking a little extra motivation.

Running Gear
The most important piece of running gear is a good running shoe. Look for shoes with support for your knees and ankles. Try different running shoes until you find a pair that's comfortable for you.A store geared toward running or a sports store can help you find sneakers to suit your individual needs. They can help you determine if you pronate or supinate when you run, which requires specialized support.



In addition to sneakers, you'll need comfortable clothes. A pair of jogging pants or shorts and a tee shirt will be fine, but if you plan on running a lot or in hot weather, look for clothes made of wicking material. These will keep sweat from lingering on your body, which keeps your body temperature down. Thick athletic socks will prevent blisters on your feet. For women, a good sports bra is essential. Make sure your sports bra has plenty of support and fits snugly.


Sunscreen is important, especially in the summer months. You may want to wear a hat as well, if you find it comfortable. A stopwatch can be great if you want to keep track of exactly how long it takes you to run a course, or if you're training for a race. An mp3 player will help you pass the time, especially if you load it with motivational songs.

Starting Out
When beginning a running program, it's important to be reasonable with your goals. Do too much and you could sideline yourself for awhile and potentially kill your motivation. Age and fitness level can be a factor in your program. If you're over 40 years old or more than 20 pounds overweight, talk to your doctor before beginning a new workout regimen.


Your fitness level as well as your goals will determine your running program. Those who are already in good shape from other activities may want to run longer distances. If you are training for a race, it is best to find a running program suited for the race's distance.


Start designing your running program by choosing a run length that you can comfortably handle. A mile or two is a good place to start. If running a mile seems too daunting, try a walk/run approach; walk for two minutes, run for one. Each time you set out, increase your running time by a minute. Before you know it, you'll be running a mile.


Begin each run with a warm-up, walking or jogging at a slower pace than you plan to run, for up to five minutes. This will loosen your muscles and prevent injury. It's also good to stretch after your run to avoid cramps.


Make it your goal to run three or four days a week. Try varying the place where you run; a change in location can keep you motivated and interested in the exercise.


Increase your weekly mileage by no more than 10%. If you start off running one mile three times a week, for a total weekly mileage of 3, the next week you should run no more than 3.3 miles. Increasing your mileage too quickly can lead to injuries such as shin splints, which could keep you off the streets altogether.

Running for Weight Loss
When weight loss is your goal, variety is key. It's not necessary to log dozens of miles a week to burn fat. Simply running two or three miles several times a week can be effective for weight loss. Keep your muscles guessing by running a flat course one day and a hilly one the next. This will keep your body from becoming used to its task, so you continue burning fat. Throwing bursts of speed will have the same effect. If you're running for 30 minutes, for example, run at a regular pace for 3 minutes, followed by 1 minute at an increased pace. Repeat.


Cross train at least one day a week. This means doing something other than running that will provide you with cardiovascular benefits. Swimming is a good example that works your entire body. You could also lift weights or participate in a sport such as tennis.

Running Music
Whether you're running to shed pounds or training for your first 5k, listening to music can help you reach your goal. Running music can take your mind off a grueling course or help motivate you to sprint up that last hill. Besides, it's just fun to listen during a workout.


Finding running music isn't difficult. Fitness magazine Web sites often have playlists geared toward different activities and provide playlists of what readers are listening to when they work out. A lightweight MP3 player or CD player is all you need, but you should be sure that the player is shock-resistant so that the motion of your body doesn't cause the songs to skip.


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