So you’re raring to run like a gazelle? Let running coach IGE LOPEZ run you through the basics.
Not everyone is a Forrest Gump who could just get up and run away like a champion long-distance runner…with the wrong shoes at that. But for amateur runners, it’s important to know how and where to start. Read on and jump start your running to a healthier and fitter you. (And leave that box of chocolates behind, if you please.)
Running is the most efficient way to lose weight, gain fitness, and increase your overall endurance. Among the benefits of running are lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, increased metabolism, and improved strength and bone density.
WHERE DO I RUN?
The best thing about running is that you can do it practically anywhere. You may run as soon as you get outside your door, in the park, around campus, in a running track, and so on. Opt for the track that causes the least amount of impact on your body, such as trails, fire roads (unpaved roads used for emergency access), grassy areas, running tracks (indoor/outdoor), asphalt roads, and even the compact sand along the beach.
HOW DO I RUN?
• Keep an upright but relaxed position to avoid straining your back and other parts of your body, and so as not to restrict breathing.
• Keep your chest out and stomach in with your arms at a right angle, and elbows at the back to avoid tension and tightness in the neck and shoulders.
• Look ahead and watch out for obstacles.
• Let your arms swing naturally to facilitate proper breathing
and avoid slouching.
• Make sure you use a mid-foot strike (this is when the foot’s heel and ball land simultaneously) while running to avoid shin pain or leg cramps.
WHAT DO I WEAR?
Too tight a clothing and you run the risk of fainting spells; too loose will weigh you down. Always go for shirts/singlet and shorts made of quick-drying fabric. Others prefer running tights or pants, while others use compression shorts (undergarments that support the thigh and groin muscles). Socks should also be of lightweight/quick dry material for blister-free feet. You can also buy the following for added comfort: a running cap/visor, eyewear for sun protection, sports watch with a heart rate monitor and/or GPS, and hydration systems for longer runs.
WEAR RUNNING-SPECIFIC SHOES!
Treat your feet right by using the proper footwear. Seek expert advice from runner friends or your local running store before investing on a new pair. Most running-specific stores have free gait analysis that analyzes your running form and can recommend a specific shoe for you.
TIP FOR BEGINNERS:
Start with 2–5 minutes of brisk walking, then progress to light running for about 1 minute. Do 10 sets of this for a total of 30 minutes.
DOs AND DON’Ts OF RUNNING:
• Warm up and cool down properly (10–15 minutes).
• Do your stretching after your runs.
• Go for distance first before speed.
• Be consistent with your training.
• Run fast all the time (alternate fast runs with easy runs).
• Use long strides (short but fast strides are better).
• Run with an injury (be 100% healed first).
• Run in worn-out shoes (check the wear of your shoes often).