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Yes, You Can Run

Wish you could run for your workouts? Here’s how to get started.

Do you ever see people running on the treadmill or jogging past you in the park and wish that could be you? Some people dread the thought of running while others find it an enjoyable and effective workout that burns serious calories, relieves stress, and keeps the heart healthy. A 150-pound person can expect to burn 272 calories in a half hour of slow-paced jogging, but pick up the pace and you can burn well over 400 calories in a half hour.

Enticing as the calorie burn may be, running isn’t for everyone. Because of the constant pounding on your feet, if you have joint problems, shin splints, or plantar fasciitis you’d do better with a low-impact form of exercise.
If your body is in good shape for running and you’re ready to add it to your routine, here are a few tips to get started.

Buy Shoes

Running is a workout that doesn’t require a lot of expensive equipment, but one thing it does require is a good pair of running shoes. Wearing poor quality shoes increases your risk of injury. Get your feet fitted for a shoe that best supports the shape of your foot and the gait of your run. A pair of quality running shoes is an investment you won’t regret and will help you stay running for miles to come.

Set Goals

What do you hope to accomplish by running? Some people want to get in shape, compete in a 5K race, or run a mile without stopping. Maybe you want to lose 10 pounds, reduce your blood sugar, or lower your blood pressure. Whatever your goal, write it down and post it where you can see it. Then let that goal fuel your next run.

Make Plans

For your dream of becoming a runner to become a reality, it helps to make a plan. Mark the days and specific times on your calendar when you plan to run. Unless you’ll be on a treadmill, map out your route. Use an app on your phone or a notebook to record each run’s distance, time, and how you felt during and after the run.

Since running can be taxing on your muscles and joints, plan to run no more than three or four days a week. You’ll become a faster, stronger runner if you allow your body a day to recover between running workouts. Plan to increase your running distance by no more than 10 percent each week and cross train with another exercise on the days you don’t run. Weight training, cycling, or yoga are great options.

Eat Right

At least half an hour before a run, fuel your body with a snack that includes carbs for energy. After your workout, replenish your muscles with a snack or meal made with protein and carbs. Be sure to drink water before, during, and after your workout to avoid dehydration.

Warm Up/Cool Down

Start each run with a short warm-up and end your workout with a cool-down period. This might be a brisk walk or a slow jog that gradually gets your muscles ready for exercise and then slowly brings your heart rate and breathing back to normal.

Get Started

It’s time to go running! If you’re new to running or out of shape, you may not even run the first few weeks. You may need to start out walking and gradually increase your speed and distance over time. Running too fast or too far too soon will lead to injury and burnout. So look online or work with your trainer to find a running plan that takes you from your current fitness level to where you want to be.