Whether you’re a fitness enthusiast venturing into a new form of exercise or a complete beginner, running is a great way to boost your physical and mental well-being. Many are drawn into the challenge of preparing for a race, while others look to burn calories, improve their heart health, or enhance their mood.
However, the fear of getting injured, feeling self-conscious about form, and not knowing where to begin can be a major obstacles for those thinking about beginning running. That’s why we spoke to the fitness coach at Curves, Joanna Dase, who outlines seven crucial things to know before your first run.
Curves is one the largest fitness club franchises globally, with over 4,500 clubs worldwide. Joanna Dase has 30+ years of experience in the fitness industry, helping women to achieve their goals and become comfortable in her fitness clubs.
For contributions to the fitness industry, Joanna has been accredited as a fitness director by eReps. She has a degree from Thomas Edison in Science and Public Social Services with an option in fitness and wellness Services. After becoming a fitness coach at Curves, she expanded the brand globally and stepped into her role as operations director.
Invest in proper footwear
Choosing the right running shoes is essential for a comfortable and injury-free run. You’ll find that you will also be able to go faster for longer with the correct footwear. Visit a speciality running store for a gait analysis to determine your foot type and get proper shoes fitted. Opt for shoes that offer proper support, cushioning, and a good fit to keep your feet healthy.
Investing in quality running shoes will also ensure the necessary protection and stability, reducing the risk of discomfort and potential injuries during your runs. Keep an eye on wear and tear, replacing your shoes when needed to maintain good performance.
Always start with a warmup
Before you hit the ground running, take a few moments to warm up your muscles and get your body ready. Warm-up exercises, like light jogging or brisk walking, help increase blood flow to your muscles, loosening them up and reducing the risk of injury during your run.
Incorporating a warm-up routine into your pre-run preparations keep good stamina and makes the run more enjoyable.
Go slow for a greater stamina
When you’re excited to kick off your running journey, it’s easy to get carried away and push yourself too hard. However, starting slow is the key to building greater stamina and endurance. Give your body time to adapt to the new demands of running by incorporating a mix of walking and jogging in the beginning.
As you gradually increase your running duration and intensity, you’ll find that your stamina improves, allowing you to tackle longer distances and more challenging runs with confidence. Patience is the name of the game, and by taking it step by step, you’ll set the foundation for a successful and sustainable running experience.
Walking is okay
If you’re new to running or haven’t exercised, don’t feel discouraged if you need to start walking. Walking is a fantastic way to ease into a running routine and gradually build up your fitness level. It allows your body to get used to the movement without putting excessive stress on your joints and muscles.
As you gain confidence, you can incorporate short bursts of jogging or running into your exercise routine. Remember, there’s no rush, and everyone’s body is different. Embrace walking as a positive stepping stone and build slowly towards your running goals.
Land on your mid-foot, not your heels
Heel striking, where your heel hits the ground first with each step, can lead to unnecessary impact and strain on your joints. On the other hand, landing mid-foot allows for a more natural and balanced stride, distributing the impact throughout your foot and reducing the risk of injuries. Adjusting your technique may take some practice, but mastering this skill will make your runs more efficient and safe.
Avoid bounding (running and jumping combined)
A common mistake known with runners is “bounding,” which combines running and jumping in each stride. Think of it like a bouncing motion as you run. Bounding can stress your muscles and joints, increasing the risk of injury.
Instead, focus on maintaining a smooth, fluid running motion with controlled movements. Keep your strides comfortable and ensure both feet contact the ground without unnecessarily bouncing. By adopting proper running form, you’ll reduce the chances of strain and injury.
Don’t swing your upper body too much
As you set out on your first run, you must be mindful of your upper body movements. Avoid swinging your arms and torso excessively, wasting energy and disrupting your running rhythm. Instead, keep your elbows in, arms relaxed, swinging them naturally forwards and backwards.
Your upper body should remain strong and stable, allowing your core muscles to provide support and balance. This will give you a more controlled running experience and allow your stamina to build for longer as you conserve energy.
If you’re struggling with your form, it’s worth getting the guidance and expertise of a qualified fitness coach to condition your body for high-intensity sports like running and long-distance marathons.