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Become A Runner

Updated on February 3, 2010

Maybe I should have categorized this under health; I was up in the air on this decision. For me, it is a hobby, albeit a healthy hobby, but nontheless I do it for the fun of it.

So, I've always been an active person. I've had an on and off relationship with the local gym, and various group activities. I've played fast pitch softball competitively in high school, slow pitch co-ed softball for the city league; I've done mixed martial arts and hapkido, I take yoga and step classes pretty regularly, and I have been on and off with weight training.

Truthfully, I decided to get into running not only for the health benefits, but also because it is a really great way to give back to the community and get to know people!The older I get, the harder it seems to be to meet people with my same interests.  That's why I decided to go and try out a local 5K.  The registration money typically goes to some type of charity or benefit, I get up and out and get some exercise, and it's a blast!

Running Reading Material

Training For Your First 5K


I did things the unconventional way. My first 5K was pretty "spur of the moment". I woke up one morning, and decided I was "going to do this". I had joined the local gym and was looking for something else. So I whipped out my trusty laptop and Googled until I found a site listing all of the local races. Once I found one with a great cause it was benefiting, I called up a friend and registered.

Most people start training for a race prior to registering, however. I started training after my first race and it worked out for me. It gave me a starting point. I now knew exactly where I stood...I knew what I could run/walk a 5K in without training, and had a goal to improve on that time. My personal goal was not really time, however. My goal was to increase the length of time I could run and decrease the amount of time I walked, which in a round about was would lower my time.

I need to mention that you should definitely check with a doctor to make sure you are healthy enough for this type of activity before pushing your body like this.

In researching training programs after my first race, I've found that most programs are 3 - 4 days per week with about 30 minutes of activity per day. Now, there is no excuse for not being able to pull 1 1/2 - 2 hours out of your busy week to get moving in one of these programs. There is no gym membership, no specific time of day it must be done, nothing...NO EXCUSES!  All you need is a good attitude, good running shoes, and a decent running outfit.

Always start with a 5 minute brisk walk to warm up. Then you start where you can start. If it is running 30 seconds and walking 5 to recover, it doesn't matter, that is where you start. If you keep with it and push yourself to improve week to week, you will improve by lengthening the duration of runs and lessen the length and frequency of the recovery walks. Eventually you might be jogging 5 minutes, recovering 2 minutes... or better!

The biggest step is to get your butt out the door and get moving. I don't care if you are walking for 30 minutes, just use your legs to move your body! There are so many excuses about why you aren't, or haven't done it yet...shut up and move!

Remember, imporvement is based on you and what you've accomplished since starting your program...not on the guy (or girls) who is running next to you.

You can do it!

Accessorize

There are so many cool accessories available to runners now to help increase speed or endurance, or just to track your progress.

The right running shoes are #1 importance in my opinion. It is very important that you have the right foot support for the activity you are doing.

Next is clothing. You need to dress for your environment and activity. Sometimes I want to stick my head out the car window and scream "duh" when I see what some folks are wearing to go jogging. Like the shorts and tank top in 30 degree weather...or sweatpants and sweatshirt in 90 degree weather. It's insanity really, and it's not going to help your performance.

Some other really cool and helpful accessories are:

  • Fitness monitors and Training aides: include pedometers, heart rate monitors, phone applications, scales, Body Fat indicatiors

  • Hydration packs: back pack style, or waistband style; specialty water bottles

  • Sports watches & stop watches

  • Safety gear: includes reflective and lighted running gear

  • Active wear: Running pants and shorts, wicking materialsHeadbands, wristbands, bandannas, etc...

Common Injuries Associated with Running

It is important to know what types of injuries runners are most prone to so that you can make your best attempt to protect yourself from them. Running can be quite jarring on the body, so knee, shin, ankle and foot injuries are most common. As mentioned earlier, the first step in protecting yourself against these injuries is to be sure you are wearing the correct running shoe for your type of foot, and one that it is properly fitted.

The other advice I have is to not over do it. Gradually increase your time or distance. It is estimated that your knees, legs feet and ankles experience a stress load of 3 to 4 times your body weight while running. If you are working on a one mile jog right now, don't go out and attempt to run 5 or 6, or else you will likely be feeling the damage from overuse. If 6 miles is your goal, make a plan to gradually work your way there, and you will be there in no time.

Oh, and remember, DON'T GIVE UP!


Good luck!

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    • superbowlsaints profile image

      superbowlsaints 

      8 years ago

      Great hub! I try to stay consistent with running, and this article reminded me that I need to get out there!

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