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Running 101: A Beginner's Guide

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Thinking of trying a running program, but not quite sure how to go about it? We kept a running list of your running questions -- and we've got answers.

Running Basics

How fast should I run? How will it feel? What should I eat? Could I do a race? Trying a new activity like running can bring a certain level of anxiety. But relax! Running is a great activity for anyone to try, regardless of age or fitness level. We answer your questions -- and tell you how to get started.

How do I get started on a running plan?

First, plan your schedule so that you're sure to set aside time to devote to your new running routine. You can reap fitness rewards with just 30 minutes a day, three to five times per week.

When you start running, don't plan to go too far or too fast right away -- doing so is the number-one cause of injury among runners. Start by running for 20 minutes at a time, three times per week. Gradually increase the amount of time you're running and the number of days you run, but do not increase either until you feel comfortable completing your current level of training. If 20 minutes is too much, don't be afraid to take walking breaks. Perhaps begin by running for 4 minutes and walking for 1 minute, until you complete the 20 minutes. As you get stronger, begin eliminating the walk breaks.

When you're a beginner, it's not necessary to worry about how many miles you are running. Focus on the number of minutes instead. Gradually you'll begin to cover more ground in the same amount of time, and that's when you'll want to increase the duration of your workout.

What equipment do I need?

One advantage of the sport of running is that so little gear is required. But the most important investment runners should make is in a good pair of running shoes -- not cross-training, walking, or tennis shoes. Running shoes are best purchased at specialty running stores, where employees can recommend models based on your ability and goals. Many will also watch you run, to make sure the shoes you buy complement the way your foot strikes the ground.

You should also have a quality, well-fitted sports bra, preferably made of wicking material to keep you cooler and drier. A digital sports watch is also helpful. As you advance in your running and set new goals, a heart-rate monitor is nice to have, to make sure you keep your effort level where it should be.

How sore should I expect to get?

Your legs will be sore in the beginning, but if you keep up the routine, the leg soreness will subside relatively quickly. If you feel acute pain anywhere, stop running for a few days and let your legs recover, to prevent injuries. Shin splints are the most common injury, usually incurred when you overdo your training or wear improper shoes. Be aware of the difference between being tired and being injured, and make sure you're not encouraging overuse injuries.

Next:  How-To Training


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brownyq wrote:

I just started running more like trotting, but it's a start,I've lost 76 lbs and want to tone my body, information was helpful

5/5/2014 10:24:52 PM Report Abuse
davidroyy wrote:

When you begin running, it's really important to progress at your own pace. A great training plan can help you achieve your goal to run a few kilometers safely and without stopping. I would personally suggest Cyclide training plans; they offer 1k, 2k and 3k for beginners:

11/12/2013 01:45:18 PM Report Abuse
abbypettis210 wrote:

Great article!!! I would also say some form of cross training is great to prevent injuries. I started doing Pilates and it really aided in my runner's hip pain. I found this article that forced me to join a Pilates studio: Has anyone found any other forms of cross training that were beneficial? I'm not sure how long I'll stay with Pilates...? Thanks! Abby

2/25/2013 11:43:04 AM Report Abuse
lancasterpter wrote:

Really nice begginers article! You could not be correct! Check also, great advise also! Happy running, on my way to my morning 10k! Carrol

5/7/2012 11:32:19 PM Report Abuse
ambercholtz wrote:

It's the information I was searching for. Thank you Fitness Magazine!

4/17/2012 10:53:14 AM Report Abuse

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