Running is tough, Especially in the beginning. Here are some MUST-KNOW running tips to avoid getting injured:
Warm-Up & Take it Slow --The warm up is extremely important! If you want you can warm up on the Elliptical for a mile, then performed some low impact dynamic stretches before getting onto the treadmill. Never push yourself to do too high intensity, too long distance, too soon. It can result in pain, symptoms such as shin splints, discouragement and/or injuries. I recommend increasing distance/ intensity by 10% each week. Intervals are also a great way to improve your endurance.
If it Hurts, STOP --If you are experiencing pain beyond the norm, stop. period. It's not worth the hurting yourself, stick with other means of cardio.
Invest in GOOD running shoes --don't settle for cheap sneakers. Go to a specialty store where you can get fitted for proper foot wear.
BREATHING - if you get the "side stitch" when your run, it's most likely from improper/ shallow breathing. If you find you are short of breath-slow down. Make sure you are breathing from your belly, take longer, deeper breaths. Breath in through your nose and mouth. Aim to take three footsteps for every inhale, and two footsteps for every exhale.
Proper FORM --
Relax, don't tense your muscles, hold your head up high. Your facial muscles, jaw and neck should be relaxed.
Keep shoulders back o not allow them to "slouch" forward. Hunching over will restrict breathing, allowing less oxygen to get to your working muscles.
Keep abdominal muscles pulled in, the torso erect as if you were a puppet hanging on a string from above.
Hips should be facing forward, with no rotation. Your foot should strike with a heel-to-toe motion directly under your hips. Make sure you keep your arms bent at 90 degrees. As you run, swing your arms forward, try not to swing them across your chest.
Understand your running gait as well...make sure you are running heel to toe, try to keep your feet low to the ground and touch the surface as lightly as possible. The lighter your feet touch, the less pounding your body will incur.
6. Cool-Down Properly --The warm-up is to prepare your muscle/skeletal and cardiovascular system for activity & prevent injury. The Cool-Down is JUST as important in calming down nervous system; it helps the heart rate and breathing goes back to normal. It prevents blood pooling (when lactic acid stays in the muscles after stopping exercise suddenly, causing swelling and pain). It also prevents muscle injury and reduces delayed onset muscle soreness.
See a list of ALL the recommended stretches to avoid injury here: