Many beginning runners face difficulties when they first start running, from breathing difficulties to low endurance. Here are some basic tips that will help your body gradually adjust to a regular running schedule.
1. Get rid of stress. Running can be a great way to relieve yourself of mental stress, but it’s better to leave the physical effects of stress behind before you start running. Stress can make your muscles tense, which will affect your breathing and may cause injury.
2. Set small goals. It’s good to challenge yourself when you start running, but don’t expect to be able to run a marathon a month from now. Don’t focus on how far or fast you go, just try to make gradual improvements in the time you run until you build your endurance.
3. Strengthen your core. It’s not just your legs that help you run – a strong core will help propel you forward. Exercises like Pilates, crunches, and kickboxing are great for the abs and can serve as cross-training.
4. Take a day off. One mistake that many beginning runners make is to run more when they think they aren’t improving. However, taking a day off to rest will make the next day’s run seem easier, since it allows your body to recover.
5. Warm up. If you are having trouble increasing your endurance, try warming up by walking or jogging slowly for a few minutes before you start your run. This helps your heart rate get up gradually and can make your run more enjoyable.
6. Vary your speed. Once you get up your endurance, running at faster intervals or at a faster pace a few times a week will help you increase your speed and get your heart used to pumping faster without over-doing it.
7. Vary distance. The same goes for distance. Instead of trying to run longer and longer distances, try running a longer distance one or two times a week. This will help you gradually get stronger and increase your endurance, which will make your normal runs seem easier.
8. Use the treadmill. Don’t be afraid to vary your running experience by using the treadmill every once in a while. If you want to zone out, control your pace, or avoid outdoor distractions like dogs and allergies, treadmills are a valid alternative to running outside.
9. Eat lots of light meals. Running on a full stomach is just as difficult as running when your blood sugar is really low. Eat light meals before your run so that you have enough energy to sustain you without having too much food in your stomach.
10. Stay hydrated. Keeping your body hydrated will make a major difference in your running performance. Drink fluids all day long, but particularly before, during, and after your run.
This article was written by Erin McKinney, who is a licensed nurse practitioner. Erin also owns the site http://www.mastersofnursing.org >Masters of Nursing for students interested in getting an advanced degree in the nursing field.