Thinking about becoming a runner? Our Glenn Dale physical therapists can guide you in the right direction as you get started
April 26, 2019
With flowers of all sorts coming into full bloom, the sun staying out long after the workday is done, and the temperature often “just right” for being outside, spring is the perfect time to take advantage and become more active. If you’ve been considering an entry into running and have put it off far too many times, you won’t find a better opportunity than now to strap on a pair of shoes and finally make it happen. But the process of getting involved in running for the first time can be a bit overwhelming and you may not even know where to begin, so our Glenn Dale physical therapists would like to offer you some tips to ensure that you’re primed for success.
The benefits of running regularly are numerous and varied. Running can strengthen your heart and cardiovascular system, increase your bone density and bone mass, and improve your mental and emotional wellbeing. Studies have also shown that running frequently can reduce the risk for obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, some types of cancer, and a host of other dangerous health conditions.
Perhaps best of all, to start running all you need is a good pair of shoes, a place to run, and the will to stick with it, especially in the early stages. For most people that consider a future in running, the toughest part is often finding the motivation to get out there and start the process.
It usually takes new runners some time to build up enough endurance to be able to run for a short period of time, but after reaching this point, many runners find that they can continue to increase their mileage much more easily. For this reason and because it takes the body some time to adapt to the physical demands of running, it’s extremely important to start slowly to avoid burnout and injury. To help safely guide you during your entrance into the field of running, our Glenn Dale physical therapists recommend the following:
Glenn Dale physical therapists’ tips for new runners
- **If you’re over the age of 40, not accustomed to exercise, or are more than 20 pounds overweight, talk to your doctor before starting to run**
- Consider having an assessment of your running form by a trained professional; our therapists can provide this type of assessment and offer you suggestions on how to improve your form in order to reduce injury risk
- Having the right pair of running shoes is extremely important, so be sure to visit a running store and get fitted for shoes that support your individual foot type
- Though it’s not essential, having some running shorts and clothes with breathable fabrics and wicking materials will make you more comfortable while running
- Many new runners find it easier to start with walks that include some running before committing to a full run; from here, you can gradually increase the amount of running in each workout and focus on going further rather than harder once you become more comfortable
- Listen to your body for pain while running and use the “talk test”—being able to have a conversation—to ensure you’re keeping a good pace
- Avoid overtraining, and allow your body enough time to rest and recover in between runs
- Try to schedule your runs on a weekly or monthly basis and commit to your plan to the best of your ability
- Don’t rush: be patient and go slow at first; expect bad days and don’t get discouraged; it takes time to feel comfortable running for a while
- Eat well-balanced, smaller and more frequent meals with lots of fruits, vegetables, carbohydrates, lean protein, and “good” fats
As a beginner runner, a good goal is to be able to run for 30 minutes at a slow, relaxed pace. From there, the potential for improvement is endless. For more advice on how to safely and efficiently get started as a runner, or for any pain you might experience in the process, our Glenn Dale physical therapists can help. Contact CAM Physical Therapy and Wellness Services today at 301-464-7390 to schedule an appointment at any of our four clinics in Glenn Dale/Bowie, Hyattsville, Laurel, or our newest location in Silver Spring, MD, or click here for more information on becoming a runner.