There are many reasons to start a running program. Running offers several benefits including aerobic endurance, a great way to tone the lower body, stress relief, and cardiovascular health. Before you take a single stride, there are a number of items to prepare prior to your run
- Finding the right pair of shoes
Having a good pair of running shoes is critical to anyone looking to start running as they are the only thing separating your feet from the pavement (aside from socks). These shoes don't have to be the best running shoes ever created but they should be comfortable, offer support, and not agitate your feet in anyway.
- Pre-plan your distance / route
Do not just hop on a treadmill or walk out the front door and start running. Before you run, establish cardio goals based on either distance or time. If you plan on running outdoors, run a route you are familiar with so you can best control the distance as well as set mental markers for how much longer you have until finished.
- Don't forget to warm-up
Stretching the thighs, buttocks, and calves can greatly reduce cramping that may occur while running. Another great way to warm up is to walk for a couple hundred yards before running. This will allow the blood to start flowing and the muscles to loosen up. This can be especially helpful if you have been sitting all day or have just woken up.
- The cool down is critical
When the run is complete, be sure to walk for 5-10 minutes after the run. This will allow the lactic acid that has built up in the muscles to work itself out which will aide in daily recovery. Also, the heart rate will be allowed to return to a resting rate more gradually with the walking, providing your body with less of a shock after the run is complete.
- Patience is key
We all want to go out and run for miles on end but unfortunately, most people cannot do this. The human body needs time to adjust and make itself more efficient. Generally, if you start running 5 days a week, you won’t feel any different in your runs (aerobically) until around week 3 of your program and even at this point, depending on the intensity of your runs, may be a very small gain. As we grow older, it takes a greater amount of time for our bodies to adapt so if you don’t feel results right away, be patient, you will get them.
- Stay hydrated
As with other exercises, be sure to drink some water before you run and a fair amount after you run. Do not drink a gallon of water right before a run and expect to have a good time. A glass of water 30 minutes before a run should be plenty in most climates. After the run is complete, another glass will aid in re-hydration. Do not chug the water immediately after the run as this can lead to an upset stomach.
Starting a running program is one of the most difficult things to do. Be prepared to get out of breath and feel a little pain, it's all worth it in the end. If you are finding that your thighs tire easily, try some thigh exercises to boost up the muscle mass which will aid in running. This can also be done by performing butt exercises to strengthen the glutes.