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Monday, October 3, 2011

Running Tips for Beginners

As someone who does not run, I love it when I see a jogger running down the street. You can always tell the more experienced from those who may be ... uh ... experiencing their first day. No matter the skill level, I admire them. I admire the gumption it takes to get up, get out there and do it.

I actually like running, it's my body that doesn't. My right knee has always given me problems and because of that, my cardio usually comes in the form of a StairMaster or elliptical trainer. Every now and then, I'll hear a friend talk about having had a good run and I'll get motivated to get out there and try it again. And every time, the next day my knee is screaming at me.

Now, I'm faced with a slight dilemma. I've entered the AZ Urbanathlon which is basically a 5k with a bunch of awesome obstacles thrown in. I know, you're probably thinking, "why did you do that if running causes you pain?" Yeah, seems silly. Well, I've decided to really challenge myself. I am going to improve my running technique and thereby, hopefully, prevent my usual knee pain.

And since I'm newbie to running, I've been doing some research*. I've listed some basic running tips that should come in handy for beginners like me. Check it out.
  • Each step should land lightly between heel and midfoot.
  • A short stride and slight knee lift is best for distance running.
  • Be careful not to hunch forward. Keep torso and back comfortably upright and straight. 
  • Arms should swing forward and back and not across your body. The motion should be in pace with your stride. 
  • Make sure shoulders don't creep up toward your ears. Keep them low and loose. 
  • Don't look at the ground. Keep head up and looking forward at the horizon. Make sure chin doesn't jut forward. 
  • To prevent stomach cramping, avoid short shallow breaths. Instead breath deeply from the lower lungs.
  • Breathing at a 2/2 ratio is common among runners. Take two steps as you inhale, take two steps as you exhale. 
  • Too much water or food in the stomach can lead to stomach cramps. You may need to eat anywhere from 1-3 hours before your run. Monitor your body and what works best for you.
  • Get in the habit of drinking more water in general. Dehydration can lead to muscle cramps. 
Tips listed here are from Runner's World and WebMD.

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