Now that the weather’s gotten very nice, you might feel inspired to revive your New Year’s resolution and get on your running shoes. But if your body isn’t used to running, you could face some challenges in getting started and maintaining the habit.
You must train yourself to warm up and stretch before a run, so that your muscles don’t lock up or risk a strain. Additionally, you need to listen to your body, remain aware of your surroundings, and pace yourself to prevent injury.
Warm up and stretch
These are actually two separate steps. Many people mistakenly regard stretching as part of their warm-up.
But you’ll want to walk around and warm up your muscles before you start to stretch. Stretching cold, stiff muscles can lead to strain and injury.
Try to focus on muscle groups and areas that are used during runs, such as the calves, hamstrings, glutes, IT band, hips, and core muscles.
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Don’t try to force your body to complete a 5K run if you haven’t done one in a while. Understand your limits and work your way incrementally to your goals.
If you’re completely new to running, try alternating between jogging and walking. Each day, walk a little less and jog a bit more. Bring a stopwatch so you can carefully measure out times and distances.
Listen to your body
Pain is your warning to stop. Whenever you feel discomfort, try to address it. Ignoring it will not make running injuries go away; in fact, they can become worse.
Examine your gait and shoes to see if these play a role in generating pain when you’re running. If you cannot identify the source and the pain persists, then check with a sports medicine doctor.
Awareness of surroundings
As a runner, you need to work with the terrain you have. Depending on where you live, you might only get access to sidewalks and busy roads, instead of scenic mountain trails.
Use your eyes and ears while running near traffic, in case you need to move out of the way of a vehicle or cyclist. If you’re struck by a vehicle, then contact the authorities immediately, get medical help if you need it, and contact a legal professional.
Running can be a healthy and fun hobby to take up. You will stay safe if you do proper warm-ups and stretching beforehand, don’t ignore pain, and stay aware of your running environment. Here’s to your fitness and well-being!