A walker’s guide to run­ning for health

Run­ning is one way to­wards a health­ier lifestyle – but it pays to be well pre­pared

The Tribune (NZ) - - BACKYARD BANTER -

We’re not all gifted run­ners. A lucky few can run up hill and down dale for hours and barely break a sweat. But many of us strug­gle to make it through a solid two min­utes with­out fear of to­tal col­lapse.

Don’t worry – there is still time to lift your game. Run­ning events crop up all over the coun­try as sum­mer looms and give us even more mo­ti­va­tion to swap a gen­tle am­ble for a strong and speedy stride.

But prepa­ra­tion is more im­por­tant than the ac­tual run­ning.

Here are a few hints to help those of us who’ve never jumped on the run­ning band­wagon but are keen to give it a go. In­vest in good shoes.

The bet­ter your shoes, the bet­ter your skin and joints will feel. There are a num­ber of spe­cial­ist stores that will film your run­ning style and se­lect a shoe style based on how your stride hits the ground and how how your an­kles and knees roll. Start small.

Don’t ex­pect to run for 60 min­utes straight on your first day out. There’s more chance of in­jury or strain if you go too hard-out at the be­gin­ning.

Start small – run­ning for 60 sec­onds and walk­ing for 60 sec­onds or run­ning then walk­ing be­tween power poles. Build your­self up to run­ning for five min­utes as you get fit­ter, walk­ing for one, and so on, un­til you’re able to com­fort­ably run for 10 or 20 min­utes at a time.

There are even run­ning plan apps to help you learn and track your run­ning, like Nike+ and Map­MyRun. Run in comfy clothes.

Your choice of out­fit shouldn’t be about fash­ion; it’s about com­fort. In­vest in shorts or leg­gings that let you freely move. Your T-shirt or sin­glet and socks should be breath­able. Ladies, in­vest in a good sports bra that gives you enough sup­port.

Join a run­ning group.

Ex­er­cise of any kind is al­ways more fun with a friend. A run­ning group will give you a bit of ex­tra mo­ti­va­tion and en­cour­age­ment. You might even want to set up your own. Stick to a sched­ule.

Cre­ate good habits by set­ting up a weekly rou­tine. Get your train­ing out of the way early if you’re a morn­ing per­son.

If you’d rather run af­ter work, that’s OK too – what­ever works for you works for your train­ing. Don’t run ev­ery day though; mix your run­ning train­ing up with other ex­er­cise like swimming or weight train­ing. Get reg­u­lar mas­sages.

Run­ning might take it out on your body, but it’s re­ally ful­fill­ing when you hit the fin­ish line. One way to ease the im­pact is to book reg­u­lar sports mas­sages for your aching mus­cles and joints. Don’t be too hard on your­self.

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and most run­ners can’t go from zero to Olympic stan­dard overnight ei­ther. Start small and build your­self up to your goals slowly, rather than push­ing your­self to meet them too quickly.

You could even give your­self re­wards for reach­ing mini mile­stones.

PHOTO: HAN­NAH JOHN­STON/GETTY IM­AGES

Run­ning is one way to­wards a health­ier lifestyle – but it pays to be well pre­pared.

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