I would buy a good pair of shoes, figure out where you’re running, find a good plan to stick through to build up endurance, figure out generally how to run, warm up , cool down and stretch, notice signs of injury, stay well hydrated and be safe.
shoes/clothing: you want light but sturdy shoes, a pair that provides adequate support for your foot. I would recommend stopping by a “legit” running store where the sales associates are actually trained to help you find a shoe that works for your feet/legs. Clothing depends on the weather, if it’s warm enough I would suggest shorts or breathable pants and a non-restrictive shirt. sports bra if you’re a woman, compression for lower impact and the encapsulation for higher impact. smaller larger. If it is cold wear sweat wicking underlayer, a middle layer if it’s very cold and an outer layer that is made like a windbreaker. You want to be somewhat cool when you walk out the door so that you don’t uncomfortably overheat yourself, but you also don’t want to be freezing. have your ears covered, and I would suggest a scarf or one of those bands that can cover your mouth and nose as well to keep them warm and moist (will also help with inspired air). gloves are a good plan to keep fingers and hands warm as well.
pavement vs grass vs treadmill: For your knees, the softer the ground the better in general. Therefore, if you have the opportunity to run on grass/sod/turf (that has no divets or at least noticeable ones if it does) that’s technically best. Second is softer surfaces like an outdoor track, then pavement and lastly concrete. Try to avoid concrete as best as you can to avoid injuries. Treadmills are a class on their own, if you want to simulate outdoor running keep the grade at 1% or 1.5% to start (simulates flat ground). Don’t hold on to the guard rails unless you need to hop off or steady yourself. If you feel any pain, weakness, dizziness, hit the stop button and get off immediately.
couch to 5k (C25K): I highly recommend the couch to five K training plan, there are a gazillion apps out there anymore for this kind of training if you like to have your phone on you while you run, or if you can just remember the sequence and use a stop watch then that works great as well!
breathing and other technicalities: Some sources suggest breathing in your nose and out your mouth. Some also say that forcefully exhaling over two steps and inhaling over three is a good way to prevent/get rid of side stickers (pain on your side). If you become short of breath stop running and slow down to a walking pace, put your hands on your head so your elbows are above you, stand up straight and breathe deeply. I personally can’t breathe through my nose so I’m always breathing through my mouth, but find what works best for you. I often try to breathe in over three steps and out over three steps to keep it balanced. With endurance training stand mostly upright with a very slight forward lean, arms bent at about 90 degree angle, hands totally relaxed. Face is also relaxed, it will feel funny and weird at first, but do not clench your jaw and you should actually feel your cheeks moving up and down with you as your run. Land more midfoot (“flat footed”) than heel-to-toe or toe-to-heel-to-toe. We are not built to land on our heels (it’s something we’ve gotten from wearing shoes supposedly) and landing on your toes increases your risk of injury and also increases your overall time (not that you’d necessarily care, but it’s something to think about) and causes you to expend a lot more energy than necessary.
Types of injuries: shin splints-irritation of the tibialis posterior that causes small tears in the muscle which hurts a lot. Best way to recover from shin splints is PRICE-protection, rest, ice, compression and elevation until the symptoms have cleared up. A good exercise to do to help prevent/treat shin spints is to hold a small dumbell betwee your feet, extend both legs so the lower half of your leg (below the belly of the calf) and your feet are hanging off with the dumbell between the feet. Point your toes and then flex your feet at the ankle working the front of your leg (shins). Runner’s knee-this could actually be a few different things. Using proper equipment, doing the training slowly, stretching, etc will help to prevent this from occurring. However if you’re genetically built in the “wrong” way (like me) you might have problems. IT band syndrome-possible causes include running form, tight tissues (you need to stretch!), improper equipment, overuse or weak hip muscles. achilles tendonitis-an inflammation of the achilles tendon (back of your leg where you probably cut yourself often when shaving if you shave your legs -_-). It is often accompanied with pain and stiffness, especially after remaining still for a period of time, and there is often noticeable swelling of the tendon. stress fractures-These can occur from increasing intensity or duration of an exercise too quickly. You would experience localized pain when exercising as well as pain to the touch in a specific location. PRICE is a good way to treat this as well as seeing a doctor. And also plantar fascitis. All of these can be from overuse which is pretty much going too far too soon, or too far for too long day after day. As always if you have any pain or trouble make sure you see your doctor to check it out.
warm up and cool down: Always try to warm up, if you’re indoors 5-10 minutes would suffice of walking speed that slowly increases to a jog (or in your case probably just walking). Same basic thing at the end, slow down in small increments until you’re at the end. If you need to stop abruptly for whatever reason and don’t have the time to do a proper cool down lie down. This is an adequate way to allow the blood to return to the heart and head efficiently. note: you might feel lightheadedness or dizziness if you do decide to lie down and then get up too quickly this is simply orthostatic hypotension and is nothing to worry about unless it happens quite often.
Stretching: Warm up beforehand, and if you have time include dynamic stretching. If you are only running a few simple ‘stretches’ will do: walking toe touches “zombie walk”-alternating the hand touching the foot and walking across the field/space as you do this. then “over the gate” so you swing your leg, bent, from outside across the body to the inside take three steps and do the same on the other foot, again across the field. do the same thing but the opposite direction, from inside to outside next. then you can do a walking quad stretch but don’t hold it much more than 2 seconds at a time. If you do dynamic stretching you shouldn’t need to warm up with walking/jogging for much more than 5 minutes. After running you should stretch in the way that probably comes to mind when you hear stretch <that website has many different stretches, all are good post-run but most important are the legs and arms…toe touches, either sitting or standing, quad stretch, calf stretch, groin, and hips. If you notice your hips are tight here is a good representation of hip stretches. Only do static stretching after you run, not before as it could increase your chance of injury.
music and general safety: If you are planning on running outside please be safe. Wear reflective clothing, run in public spaces, try to avoid running when it is dark, carry a cell phone on you and/or a whistle and/or mace, let at least one person know where you will be going and how long you expect to be gone, make sure YOU know the route you plan to take and try not to stray, please avoid using headphones when running outside, run AGAINST traffic, not with it, and if you will be running at night also carry a flash light
water: It is important to stay hydrated however running outside can often make it difficult to have water with you at all times, use your own discretion for what you decide: to carry a water bottle or keep it in a set location, etc. In theory you should weigh the same before and after an exercise bought to be sure you have remained adequately hydrated.
phew that was a lot! Hopefully that’s everything you needed (and probably a lot, lot more..). if you have any questions or need clarification on anything please let me know!
Good luck :)
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