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How To Start A Running Routine

By Dr. Riley Williams with contribution from Evan Schwartz .

If you want to start running, you start by setting a goal.  A mile a day?  A 5k race in a month?  A half-marathon in half a year?  Just set your goal.

It’s that simple.

Well, not exactly.

The mental aspect of beginning any exercise routine can be daunting. If you’ve never run before, you may not see yourself as capable of running. If you’ve been a runner but stopped, it may not be so simple to just get back in the saddle – especially if you are recovering from an injury.

If pain made you hang up your running shoes or fear of injury is keeping you on the couch, here are three tips to help you get up and running.

1) Start Slow

The simplest advice is also the best. You can tell yourself a hundred times you’re going to start slow but the first run in a long time can be exhilarating. You can ride pure adrenaline and motivation all the way to sore knees and shin splints. You won’t want to get back on the road for days.

So, pace yourself. That means no matter how great it feels, set a limit and stick to it. If you haven’t run in years, don’t push yourself much further than one mile. If you tend to run 3 miles a day but have just spent a few weeks hung up with an injury, cut your distance in half. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, especially if you are actually training for a marathon!

Give yourself all the tools you could possibly need so you have no excuse to quit.

2) Get The Right Equipment

If you’re going to commit (or recommit) to running, make sure you give yourself the best chance to succeed. That means updating your shoes and other gear. Invest in a good running app for your mobile device to keep tabs on your progress. Make a great running music playlist that will keep you motivated. Find a running buddy to keep you on the right track. Give yourself all the tools you could possibly need so you have no excuse to quit.

3) Embrace The Pain

Exercise hurts. Running is no different. But learn the difference between debilitating pain and pain you can overcome. If you feel sharp or sudden pain or if your body is screaming in pain, stop immediately and seek help from a trainer or healthcare professional.  But, if you are simply feeling the discomfort of asking your body to do something it has not done in a while, keep on truckin’.

The truth is, aches and pains are a part of getting fit. You can steal of bit of pain’s thunder with a proper warm-up and dynamic stretching. You can combat post-running pain with a disciplined cool down routine and a recovery tool like Therma1™.

Most people who had the desire to run can become runners. Don’t be discouraged if you’ve never been a runner, or if you’ve been waylaid by a long layoff or the feeling that you just can’t climb that hill. Start running again and your body will thank you.

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