If you are looking to shed those extra pounds, take on a fresh challenge, meet friends, or simply pick up a new pastime, running is the perfect activity for you. Not only is it an excellent cardio workout, it’s also a good way to get outside and connect with other people. Through running clubs, training groups, or fellow race participants, runners of all ages, shapes, and sizes make up a remarkable network of people who all share the zeal for running.
People often say they hate running after just a couple of bad experiences. If you feel this way, it could be that running is not for you, but more likely you need to change your approach. Bad shoes, improper form, or running too quickly not only will cause pain during a run, but can also lead to injury. Fitness professional Joe Vennare, co-founder of The Hybrid Athlete , recommends beginning with intervals of running and walking, working your way up to 30 minutes of continuous exercise in order to adjust your body to the activity.
After your body is used to running, it’s time to work on your endurance by slowly increasing the distance of your runs. Vennare suggests adding to your run’s length by 10% each week until you reach your goal. Don’t worry about speed; at this point, it’s all about stamina. Once you are confident with your technique and can run your goal distance, focus on performance. Vennare says, “A successful plan to improve running performance should include elements of interval training, tempo runs, long steady efforts, track based workouts, and hill climbs…it’s better to develop a running plan that features different workouts during different phases. This way, you can avoid plateaus and keep your training interesting by varying work intensity, duration, and technique.”
By following this style of training program and really sticking to it, you will finally be able to count yourself among those addicted to the “runner’s high.” You’ll feel and look great and will have an entire new network of friends who also love to run. Every race you complete and every new challenge you conquer will be rewarding and make you proud of everything you’ve accomplished.
Check out these local running stores to stock up on new gear. Get fitted for the right shoes for your feet and stride. The experts at these stores will help you find everything you need and cater to your unique needs. Ask the staff about upcoming races and local running clubs! It always helps to have a goal you’re striving to meet and a friend to help you get there.