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Going the Extra Mile: Long Distance Running Tips for Beginners

Oct 12, 2007
Long distance running is a thing of beauty: The graceful stride, the sheer power in motion - not to mention the lean and muscular pistons that are a long distance runner's legs.

Many of us would love to be long distance runners, but the reality is, it takes time to work ourselves up to this level of fitness. And if we push too hard, we may experience an injury (or mental burnout) that turns us away from the sport in the future

If you are a beginning runner and would like to ramp up your running routine (whether it's for your physical or emotional well being or to train for a marathon or a charity running event), here are some tips to keep your body running smoothly and to create an enjoyable exercise experience.

Get Ready

Talk to your doctor. You want to make sure that a long distance running routine is right for you, and your doctor may have suggestions, tailored to you, about what kind of running routine will be best for your body type, age, and fitness level.

Invest in a good pair of running shoes. Take the time to go to a local store where they specialize in athletic shoes and make sure you find the proper fit for your foot, your preferred running surface, and your level of ability. While you're there, ask around for good running routes in your town or city. You're looking for a route that is safe and that provides the proper mix of hills that will keep you challenged and motivated, but not exhausted.

You'll also want to make sure you stay hydrated while you run. You'll have more energy throughout your run, and you'll keep your body safe, too.

Keep a journal. Keep track of your running times and distance in a journal or online running log. You may want to make some notes, too. How did you feel starting out the run? How energized did you feel afterwards? What parts of the run did you find easy and which parts were more challenging? In what way does your running routine change the rest of your day?

Choose Your Ideal Path

The best place to run is a smooth dirt path. Concrete sidewalks can jar your joints as you run. Indoor and outdoor tracks offer a great surface but can get pretty boring pretty fast.

If you choose to run on grass, make sure you stay aware throughout your run for obstacles or uneven patches.

Start Running

You can choose from a variety of training methods when you run, and you can mix it up from day to day. One day, for example, you may run for speed. The next day, you may choose hilly terrain to get in a good interval workout.

You will want to start each training session by warming up. Stretch your muscles and walk briskly for five minutes or so to get your blood pumping, before you break into a run.

Make sure you are using proper technique. You want to avoid injury, above all, so check with a doctor or exercise trainer if you experience any pain, or if you are not sure whether you are running with optimum form.

Watch your exertion level, too. Ideally, you will be able to talk while you are running, particularly at the beginner level. Make sure you aren't overdoing it at this stage. Your endurance will build in no time. And if you train too hard in the beginning, you run the risk of personal injury (or burning yourself out on the idea of running in the first place.) If you become overly winded, slow down (even to a walk) until you can catch your breath. Then start running again, slowly.

After the Finish Line

Following your run, walk for at least a few minutes. Then do another stretching routine. And make sure to record your run in your log. Write down how great you feel immediately following a run. These words can be tremendously motivating the next time you need to lace up those running shoes.
About the Author
Jamie Jefferson writes for Momscape.com, Susies-Coupons.com and Susies-Travel-Coupons.com where you'll find hand-selected online coupons, coupon codes and travel discounts.
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