I hear people all the time who say they wish they could become a runner, but they are afraid to start. I wish they knew that running can change both your physical and mental health. Runners are also the least judgmental group of people I know. You can show up at any age, any shape or size, and any fitness level, and you will still be welcomed. If you are ready to start the adventure, here is a basic guide to becoming a runner.
I’m going to tell you about the correct form for a runner and then tell you that you will see many variations of this form, and most of them are o.k.
Drop your shoulders. Many runners hunch their shoulders when they first start running. It will cause cramping in your shoulders, so focus on relaxing those shoulders.
Keep your elbows tucked into your sides and pretend you are holding eggs in your hand.
Breathe regularly. Runners also hold their breath when they first start to run. Focus on breathing in and out until it feels normal.
When your feet connect with the ground, land softly instead of slamming your feet down each time. You can save energy and I know for myself I have avoided injuries running like this.
Hold your head so that your eyes are looking ten feet ahead. Don’t lean your head forward, and don’t bend your head down unless you are looking at a trail to avoid falling. People often drop their head when they are tired, and it slows them down.
You should do exercises to protect yourself as a runner. All the core exercises are good like sit-ups, planks, push-ups, and bridges. I like to do strength exercises. Stretching is key. Good nutrition is important too. I eat lots of protein and fruits and vegetables. Drink plenty of water. Get enough rest.
If you can afford it, buy a good pair of shoes. Go to a local running store and let them evaluate your running style to fit you for the right shoe. Shoes should be changed out around every three months. If your feet are tired, rub in some peppermint oil and lotion.
If you try to do too much too soon, you will be sore, and you might not want to run again. Don’t increase your mileage by more than 10% per week. You can start off running and walking.