How to Get Started on Your Running Routine

Running is a smart and powerful exercise choice, one that can change your life in so many ways. Not only does it improve your physical fitness, but it also lifts your mood and promotes your overall health. Running requires very little effort or equipment to get started, but it sets you on the right track to a better, brighter future.

If you are new to running, you may wonder what to wear. Fortunately, you do not need expensive running clothes or fancy workout gear. Your shoes are your most important running gear. Wearing old shoes, or shoes that are not right for your foot or running style, can lead to injuries. Forget about your old tennis shoes. Look for new, well-cushioned shoes that are specifically designed for running.

While the best shoes are usually found at a running specialty store, you can find a good pair at most shoe or sporting goods stores. Forget about the most expensive shoes in the store, but invest in the best pair you can afford. This will prevent injuries and pay off in comfort.

Fancy running clothing is not necessary either. Choose comfortable workout wear that allows you to move freely, but do not overdress. After a warm-up, your extra body heat can make you feel up to 20 degrees warmer. A cotton t-shirt and shorts are usually adequate clothes for new runners. Depending on your location, winter months and cooler temperatures may require dressing in layers.

Next to comfortable running shoes, a good sports bra is a must for women runners. Your bra should be supportive: not too tight and not stretched-out. Replace your sports bra when it loses elasticity or if you experience a significant weight change.

As you get more serious about your running, you can invest in more technical workout clothes. Synthetic fabrics, unlike cotton, wick away sweat and keep you cooler during your runs. Synthetic blend running socks will prevent blisters on your feet.

With the right sportswear, you are ready to run. Despite your best intentions, you may stumble in the beginning. This usually stems from a lack of preparation. It takes time to break into running, but almost anyone can do it. The secret is starting slowing and building up gradually, as your fitness level improves.

Start your new running program by walking. Gradually add small running segments into your walks. These run-walks may continue over several weeks. Run at an easy, conversational pace for maybe three days a week, resting on the in-between days. Over time, strive to run four or five days a week.

To prevent injuries, always stretch before and after workouts. Eat healthy and stay hydrated to boost your performance. Motivation is hard to maintain, even for seasoned runners; finding a running club or friends to run with can kick-start your running habit. Be sure to check out running magazines and online running forums for inspiration and encouragement (hint, hint: like this blog!)

About the Guest Author: Vanessa is a health and fitness buff who writes about women’s fitness and lifestyle topics.

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