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Running 101: A Beginner's Guide

Food and weight

Running burns an average of 100 calories per mile. Eat a balanced diet, mostly carbohydrates, followed by equal parts of fats and proteins.

If you want to lose weight, regulate your diet and use running to tone your body.

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Benefits

It is never too late to start running. Many take up this sport in their 50s and beyond. To start, you only need a good pair of running shoes and a desire.

Running is a very effective way to build cardiovascular endurance and increase mental toughness. It is an excellent stress reliever and will improve your health overall.

Types of running
  • Road Running: running on paved roads, paths, and sidewalks.
  • Treadmill Running: easier than outdoor running and can be gentler on your joints.
  • Racing. Road races can vary from 5Ks to half or full marathons or even ultramarathons. 
  • Trail Running: it takes place on hiking trails, from deserts to mountains.
  • Track Running. Track events include shorter distance races from the 50-yard dash to 400-meter sprints. 
Getting Started
  • Invest in Shoes and Gear. Visit a specialty running store to get fitted for the best shoes for you and check out gear such as running shorts, tops, or tights made of wicking fibers.
  • Stay Safe. Do a warmup before you start, like a walk or an easy jog for 5 min.
  • Follow running safety advice, such as going against traffic when running on roads. Always carry some form of identification with you.
  • Use the Run/Walk Method. Start with running for one minute, then walk for one minute. Try to increase the running intervals over time.
  • Make It Manageable. Keep a conversational pace during each workout. If you can't speak in a full sentence, slow down. Breathe through your nose to get enough oxygen.
Ramp up slowly

If you did 3 short runs in your first week, you shouldn’t double that for week 2, even if you feel fine. 

Progress takes more time than you think, because each body system adapts to exercise at their own pace - maybe your lungs felt fine on the run, but the next day your muscles felt sore.

A beginner routine should include:
  • Most or all of your runs at a pace that feels comfortable, controlled, and conversational.
  • Exercise that is not running, if you feel that the above isn’t enough for you: Cycling and other cross-training can work your lungs and muscles without putting too much strain on your tendons and ligaments.
  • Strength training, to help everything get stronger and more adaptable.
The "too-much-too-soon" trap

It's usually not the shoes you're wearing, or your posture, but forcing yourself to accomplish too much from the very start that's causing you physical pain.

If you started running in the last few weeks or months and you get injured, you probably have nothing to blame but the fact that you’ve been doing too much, too soon.

Running - the miracle drug

Many experts consider exercise to be the closest thing to a miracle drug. Running is one of the simplest ways to exercise. It can lift symptoms of depression and improve your mood. It burns calories, builds strength and improves cardiovascular health.

Knee pain

Knee pain is often a sign of over-training or a need to improve form or flexibility. Running actually seems to improve knee health. Researchers found the more people ran, the less likely the were to suffer knee pain or osteoarthritis.

Running helps young people sleep

Research found that young people that run for 30 minutes, five days a week focus better during the day and sleep better at night.