When you decide to make the transition from walking to running, it’s important to check with your doctor first. Get the go-ahead before you start a running program. Make sure you have the proper shoes as well. A specialty running store can help you find the best shoes for your feet.
Every runner has a unique style and it’s not a good idea to stray too far from the form toward which your body naturally takes, but below are some tips to practice.
Make sure to warm-up. Start out slowly and gradually build up. Make it a goal to eventually run for thirty minutes. You can start by walking the warm-up, then alternating running for one minute and walking for one to two minutes, and walking the cool-down at the end. Each time you run, try to lengthen the running segments and shorten the waking segments. Run until you feel tired out and then push it another thirty seconds. This will get you out of the habit of stopping the minute running becomes uncomfortable. Remember to stretch post-run!!!
While running, look ahead, not down. This will help keep your posture erect and allow you to breath easier. Your center of gravity should be up and forward. The hips are your center of gravity so don’t lean or hunch over or your pelvis will tilt forward as well. This could cause lower back pain. If you feel yourself start to slouch, take a deep breath and feel yourself straighten up.
The back should be erect and straight and the shoulders should be relaxed. Don’t hunch them forward or up towards your ears. Your hands control the tension in the upper body and the arm swings work along with the stride to propel you forward. Hold your hands in a loose, unclenched fist. The elbows should be at a 90 degree angle and your arms should swing no higher than your chest, in a back and forth motion, not across the body.
You don’t need to lift your knees in an exaggerated motion. Just a slight knee lift is fine. When you’re running with proper stride length, the feet should land directly under your body. If the lower leg extends out in front of the body, the stride is too long.
Your foot should hit the ground lightly. It should strike somewhere between the heel and mid-foot and then quickly roll forward. As you roll onto your toes, try to spring forward. Your feet should never slap loudly. Try to stay light-footed.
Some say to breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth, but just do whatever works best for you. It is a good idea, though, to try to get into a rhythm with your breathing and steps. Try this: breath in, step, step, step breath out. Once again, do whatever works best for you.
Most importantly, relax. Sometimes we have a tendency to clench up. Relax your face, relax your shoulders, relax your hands, etc.
Take it slow in building your time and distance. Don’t run on consecutive days when you’re just starting out. Give your body a break. If you over do it in the beginning, you’ll be less likely to stick with your running program. Once you can run for thirty minutes straight, look for a running club to join or local organized race. The excitement of it will motivate you in your everyday runs.
Set your own pace and have fun!
Written by Genie Bianchi