• 10 Stick-With-It Strategies For New Runners

    on Jul 18th, 2016

Posted on Prevention.com: http://www.prevention.com/fitness/fitness-tips/strategies-new-runners

JANUARY 5, 2015


Running often gets a bad rap as being too hard, too boring, and too tough on your joints. Truth is, as with any workout, it's going to feel harder than it needs to be without proper technique. Follow these 10 must-try solutions for everything from achy knees to a lack of motivatio—and you'll soon be looking forward to lacing up your sneakers and hitting the trails (or at least dreading it a whole lot less).

1. Shorten your steps. No matter how cushiony the heel of your shoe is, your body isn't designed to land on it when running, experts say. Shorter strides help you land on the middle of your foot, activating your body's natural shock absorbers. (And avoid these 3 sneaker mistakes that seriously hurt your feet.)

2. Build your thigh muscles. One of the most common causes of knee pain is weakness in the thighs and hips, which absorb impact, says runner Alexis Chiang Colvin, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. (Try this easy 10-minute routine to protect knees and put a spring in your step.)

3. Go up a shoe size. "Your feet increase anywhere from one to one-and-a-half shoes sizes when you run," says coach Hal Higdon. "Especially for new runners, fluids can pool in your extremities, making them swell." Also, when purchasing sneakers, make sure to buy running shoes, not walking shoes.Sneakers designed for runners have thicker soles with more cushion and stability.

4. Splurge on socks. Yes, there's a difference between $1 and $10 socks. Fabrics that "wick sweat," including synthetics (like CoolMax) and lightweight wool (like SmartWool), limit friction-causing moisture. Avoid cotton socks, which hold in dampness. We suggest Ultra Lite Minis from Icebreakers ($15,us.icebreaker.com).

5. Blister-proof your feet with lubricant. Apply a lubricant such as petroleum jelly or Body-Glide to your heels, sides of your toes, or any blister-prone zone before putting your socks on. If you do feel a blister coming on, act fast: Apply moleskin, an adhesive bandage, or more lubricant to the tender area. 

6. Motivate with a mantra. Exercisers who repeated an inspiring phrase (I am strong and beautiful!) aloud at least three times before running a mile went faster and felt better than when they did the same run without the mantra, according to research from the University of Nevada.

7. Don't go solo. Not only is exercising with a friend more fun than going alone, but the company also may make your workout feel easier, according to a recent British study. Researchers believe the camaraderie may heighten levels of mood-boosting hormones. (Here's how to pick the right workout buddy for you.)

8. Slow your pace. Running at a gentler speed will pay off later. As you become fitter, your body will become more efficient at converting oxygen into energy. Then you'll be able to go faster without running out of steam. 

9. Inhale through your nose and mouth.  Forget the old wives' tale that air through your nose is better for you. Quite simply, you need more oxygen to support running or fast walking, and using both your nose and mouth is the most efficient way to get it, says Higdon.

10. Practice belly breathing. Allowing your chest and belly to expand as you take a breath relaxes your body so it can get oxygen to your muscles more efficiently during exercise, says Susan Joy, MD, director of Women's Sports Health at Cleveland Clinic. Practice it while you're on hold or waiting in line at the grocery store, then try it while you run.

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