Tips & Tricks for Newbies
Those who are new to running have a difficult but exciting journey ahead of them. Unfortunately, this journey is often met with well meaning but inaccurate advice from “experts” on how to do everything from picking shoes to dieting. Luckily, there are some tried and true guidelines for making the transition into the running world as easy as a downhill jog.
Fix Your Form.
Getting into a rhythm is one of the hardest parts of being a new runner. What feels most comfortable may actually be slowing you down. Here are a few things to keep in mind to improve your running form:
- Keep your chin up. Your head weighs about ten pounds. Finding a comfortable position will keep headaches and neck pain away.
- Higher knees. Many new runners tend to drag their feet, resulting in dreaded shin splints. Raising your knees a little higher will feel unnatural at first, but your legs will thank you later.
- No more dinosaur arms. Okay, we’re probably all guilty of this. But keeping your arms too close to your upper body will tense up your muscles and slow you down. Instead, keep your elbows at 90 degrees and your hands at waist level, moving them back and forth like pendulums.
Muscle and stomach cramps can stop even the most seasoned runner in their tracks. Luckily, there are ways to avoid them:
- Stay hydrated. If there was a golden rule for running, this would be it. Drinking plenty of water will prevent muscle cramps and spasms during and after runs.
- Don’t drink and run. Staying hydrated is important, but there is a time and a place for hydrating. You should stop drinking and eating about two hours before you go running to avoid stomach cramps. Plus, no one wants to feel liquid sloshing around in their bellies while exercising.
- Breathe. And the number one cause of cramps: shallow breathing. Perhaps the hardest part of getting into running is learning how to breathe naturally while doing it. If you feel a side cramp coming on, focus on making deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth and lower your arms to open up your lungs.
Don’t forget why you’re running. Whether you’re running for your health, training for a race, or looking for a hobby, remember that every step you take is one step closer to achieving your goals.