2013 rolled in with sparkle and shine, champagne and fireworks! Many folks make New Year’s Resolutions with the intention of improving their lives, fattening their wallets or losing weight. If you’re one who started exercising or running, how are you doing? One mistake people make is doing too much too soon. Over-doing it can cause pain and injuries to your whole body. One common misconception is “no pain, no gain.” While muscle soreness is common with running and exercise, excruciating pain is a sign that something is wrong.
People who start running regularly after not exercising at all need to prepare their bodies for movement. It’s great to want to get out there and sprint a mile your first 3 days! But you increase your chances of injury and the pain you feel will probably discourage you from continuing to run. If you have never been a runner before do some research for beginners. If you know a fitness expert or personal trainer who specializes in running, make an appointment or send them an e-mail asking the best way to start. Talk with your physician or health care provider to make sure running is the right exercise for you. Wouldn’t it be awesome to set goals with your doctor?!
If you don’t know a trainer there are also many online programs to help you get started. There are a few versions of Couch to 5K available, just Google “Couch to 5K.” These programs or applications map out a training regimen to get you started, gain momentum, and then complete a certain amount of miles. These apps are an awesome way to “check off” your progress. Most importantly, they help you to get started! The first step is the hardest.
Injury prevention should be a priority while running. Of course, speed or distance is what you focus on, but preventing serious injury is important. If you are following a training schedule for a race, then follow it. Rest periods are just as important as run days. Short days are short for a reason. Long days are tough but rewarding. Eat, drink and sleep the proper amounts to make sure your body has the fuel it needs to keep moving. Rest days are good for other things like yoga, an exercise class, massage, weight training, or absolutely nothing.
Good running shoes are a must! Try on several, research them in magazines and on the internet. The right shoes can help prevent leg pain, lower back pain, and even foot pain.
It’s only the first month of 2013 and you’re doing great! Pay attention to your body, follow your training schedule and keep going into February. You can do it!