How to Become a Runner

So you want to join that elite group of usually scantily clad, sweaty superhumans, whom we see flying across traffic, cross country and uphills. As a member of that group (1980-), it takes a number of things not just to become a runner-but to do it properly and safely. Those, like myself, who did it safely and properly are still doing it. The ones who didn’t usually suffered sometimes terrible injuries, quit and ended up doing some other sport, went to the health club…or did nothing from that point on.

To become a runner (safely and properly) it takes good shock absorbing shoes. Your vehicle has shocks, you need them too. Without a good shock absorbing shoe, that wonderful creation known as the human body is going to be subjected to incredible stresses. Eventually you’ll get an injured knee, a leg injury, or strained back. All of which could become quite serious, discouraging you enough to quit.

You don’t have to worry about astronomical costs. The thrift stores usually have a lot of good air and gel shock absorbing shoes that have been hardly worn with proper support for a mere fraction of the cost. Proper support is important for some runners can pronate when they run (the foot turns inwards) causing more stress on your body.
Don’t overdress and carry a water bottle when you run. They are big mistakes for beginning runners and usually identify them as amateurs. Heavy layered clothes are going to make you sweat, and the ensuing loss of fluids are going to make you very uncomfortable and drain not only your bodily fluids but those important nutrients that go along with it. Light, more roomier clothes such as tank tops or baggy shirts and light, airy shorts should be the norm in warmer times. Unless you are running in extreme cold, don’t wear track pants

Get rid of that water bottle! Unless you are running in the desert-you don’t really need it. Stopping every ten minutes or so for a drink is going to interfere with your normal running-cycle. Your body does have to adapt to some physical stresses, especially if you are going to run marathons or other ultra distances. Besides, do you want dead weight clamped to your side when you run. Get a cold drink before you leave and one when you finish.
If it is especially hot-definitely bring the water bottle. But for beginning runners, avoid the heat until your body is more physically stronger and adaptable to the heat. You could have a heat stroke quite easily. That is usually the least event that can happen. A beginning runner could have a heart attack in extreme heat.
I usually avoid it and wait till it cools down.

Pace yourself when you run. If you head out in some kind of blitz across your neighbourhood, you could find yourself totally out of energy. Eat properly to get this energy in the first place. You don’t have to eat twigs and berries. I still eat junk food-in moderation. Eat foods that can sustain the energy your muscles need (glycogen)such as pasta and other complex-carbohydrates. No low-carb diets in distance running.
Carry your IPOD with you (I still carry an old cassete walkman). Music can be very uplifting and inspiring when you are trying to go that extra mile or climb that big hill. Music and running together can easily double the amount of endorphens your body releases during excersise, giving you a feeling of euphoria. They will help build your distance up better over time.

Get a pedometer and keep a log of all your runs. You have to be methodical here. Logs are important to see exactly where you are in your training; where you may need improvements and such. And remember, the most important thing is to have fun!


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