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Long Distance Running Tips for Novice Runners

By Charles Hopkins Published 06/24/2006 | Fitness
Your heartbeat pounds in your ears, your eyes focus straight ahead and you only feel the thumping of your feet striding the path as the wind rushes by.

Yes, the experience of running can indeed be described as spiritual or poetic, but unfortunately many new runners find the experience to be boring, painful or even the cause of a serious injury which turns them off running altogether.

If you are interested in running for health, recreation or to train for a marathon supporting your cause, it is wise to take time to develop a healthy routine that will protect your body and create an enjoyable running experience.

STEP ONE: PREPARE TO RUN

It is crucial for a runner to invest in a proper pair of running shoes. Not doing so will put you at an increased risk of pain and serious injury. You will also quickly notice that a proper pair of running shoes gives you more cushion and support which will make running easier than using regular street shoes or those developed for another sport.

Hydration is also important for running. Staying hydrated will help you endure the run and keep your body in prime condition.

If you are training for a long distance race you will want to keep a log of your distance and/or time. You may also wish to log your style of training, any discomfort or feelings about the run if it suits your needs.


STEP TWO: WHERE TO RUN

Concrete sidewalks are NOT the place to run. Harder than asphalt and full of cracks you should make the effort to find a more suitable running surface.

Tracks are usually safe, but can be boring. If tracks are the only option try taking a friend to encourage you to stick to your routine.

Smooth dirt paths are the best option. Grass can work as well but watch for obstructions or uneven surfaces. You can ask local runners or a running store for recommendations for places to run.


STEP THREE: HOW TO RUN

There are various training methods for long distance runners, including interval training and speed training. However, for beginners there are a few basic suggestions to get you started.

Begin every run with a warm up walk. This gets your muscles ready to move. Take a walk break every ten minutes to rehydrate and extend your endurance.

Don't forget to breathe. You should be able to talk while running unless you are going for a fast run which is not usually suitable for a beginner. If you are gasping for breath you need to slow down. You will build endurance with time. It is better to start out easy and build up than wear yourself out.

STEP FOUR: HOW TO FINISH THE RUN

You should always walk for a minute or more after a run to cool down. Stretch your muscles for 10-15 minutes within about 15 minutes of completing your run to keep them from contracting and causing discomfort.

Ice packs or cool water on your legs will also reduce inflammation and help keep your body in good condition for the next run. Not taking these steps can lead to severe injury.

Enjoy your run and take care of your body and you may find that you enjoy the mental benefits of running as much as the physical!