Running shoes

Running is fantastic way to get into shape and maintain your health. It’s a perfect stress reliever and helps ward of depression and anxiety. Running is also a great way to socialize; many areas have local running groups you can join to meet new people and train with friends.

It’s also a relatively inexpensive hobby to pick up. Your only investment will be in a good pair of running shoes (the average price is around $100), but once you have your shoes, you can run for free anytime and anywhere.

Becoming a runner can do wonders for several aspects of your life, but newbies to the sport need to be slowly introduced to this new activity. For example, be sure to gradually build up endurance.  Doing too much too fast can cause setbacks in training as well as anything from minor aches and pains to very serious injury.

So if you’re looking to start running, keep these tips in mind to help you make a smooth transition from your average walker to full-fledged runner.

Take care of your feet. You must invest in a good, properly-fitting pair of running shoes if you want to be a long-term, injury-free runner. You’ll not only end up with blisters and sore feet, but you could do real damage to your legs, joints, and other parts of your body by attempting to run in improper footwear. Take the time to go in to a running store that specializes in running shoes. They’ll be able to analyze your gait and recommend the right pair for you.

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Slow and steady wins the race. It really does. You must gradually build both your endurance and speed. No one becomes a runner overnight. It takes weeks and months of steadily increasing intensity. Try using a Couch-to-5k program to get started. These programs, also known as C25K, will guide you through 8 weeks of running workouts the right way: by slowly upping the amount of time you’re running, and steadily giving you more and more to do. You can use a C25K program via a smartphone app or you can look for e-books.

Make it a habit. Inconsistent training will keep you from making any progress as a runner. Even if it’s simply five or 10 minutes a day, make an effort to get out there and run for a bit on every day that you’re scheduled to run. Don’t ignore rest days – you need periods of rest to allow your body to recover – but you cannot expect to run once a week and see improvements in your abilities.

But don’t neglect other exercise. Remember to balance out your runs with cross-training days. You need to build and maintain your strength so that your body can hold up to the stress that a high-impact activity, like running, entails. Fitting in strength training is as easy as doing bodyweight exercises in your own home three times per week.

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Take yourself seriously. Runners come in all shapes and sizes, and can run anywhere from half a mile to 100 miles. So no matter what your current skills and abilities are, believe in yourself and take pride in the fact that you run. Because if you do run, no matter how fast, slow or far, you are a runner.

Running for your health is truly one of the best things you can do for yourself. But if running isn’t quite your thing, don’t worry! There are plenty of other endorphin-boosting options for you: try yoga, roller derby, swing dancing, or hiking!