Beginning Running for Dummies

So you want to start running? Good for you! Running is a great way to exercise and stay healthy.

Beginning runners

If you haven’t been exercising regularly, you might want to think about a few things before you lace up your shoes. Of course, I am obliged to tell you to get a physical exam before you embark on a new exercise program.

Beyond that, here are a few tips:

1. Get some new shoes. You might have those 1989 high top tennis shoes in your closet that you think are perfectly adequate, but trust me—they’re not. And do not even think about buying yourself running shoes at Wal-mart. Shoes will be the most important investment you make in your new hobbie, so invest smartly. I recommend going to a running store that specializes in fitting your feet with appropriate shoes (depending on your arches, pronation style, etc.). I ran for about 5 years before I did this. And, when I finally was fit for shoes, I learned that I had been wearing shoes about a size too small. This is why I had bloody blisters on my toes! I had figured all runners had those!

2. Start slow. I mean, very slow. One of the more common mistakes I see new runners make is simply running too fast. I had a friend a few years back who started running and couldn’t figure out how I could easily run 7-8 miles. He said he couldn’t even make it half a mile. I went running with him, and it was easy to diagnose the problem. I could barely keep up with him for that half mile. He was starting out running 7 minute miles! I would say an appropriate pace for most new runners is about 11-12 minute miles. You will make more progress running three 12 minute miles than half a 7 minute mile, so slow down!

3. Walk. Many new runners refuse to walk because it seems like cheating. Walking is actually a great strategy for new runners. Try running for 5 minutes and then walking for 1 minute. Do this 5-6 times. This is a great way to build up your stamina. As you progress, run more and walk less. You’ll improve faster if you walk when you get tired and begin running again in a minute than if you just quit because you can’t continue. Just keep moving!

4. Don’t compare yourself. You will always know people who can run faster and farther than you can. So what? Get over it. You have to realize that you are running at your own pace and for your own reasons. You may or may not participate in races. If you do participate, you may or may not be competitive. But, it doesn’t matter; you’re still a runner. Don’t be afraid to see yourself this way. For years, I’ve said stuff like, “Oh, I’m not a REAL runner, I run 10 minute miles.” I finally gave that up. I am a REAL runner, as much as someone who runs 6 minute miles. We both get out there and run because it’s important to us.

Finally, just get out there and run. If you have problems with injuries or training dilemmas, get on the internet and do some research to see how to work through these issues. But you can worry about all that later. For now, the most important thing is just to run.

Running Injuries: Common Symptoms and Treatment Options

Running injuries

Many people around the world love to jog or run, may it be as a recreational runner or a professional runner, but nearly 70% of them will at some time sustain a running-related injury.

Even though most sustained injuries are minor, some are quite serious that requires surgical repair of the injured part. Moreover, these minor running injuries may become chronic if left untreated or inappropriately treated. The common sites of running injuries include the knee, Achilles (calcaneal) tendon, hip and groin, foot and ankle and back. Among these, the knee is the most commonly affected area.

Some of the running related injuries include Shin splint Syndrome, sprain (on the knee or the ankle joints), plantar fasciitis (the most common cause of heel pain in runners), Achilles tendonitis, synovitis, and muscle soreness.

Joggers or runners may also experience hyperthermia (increased body temperature) due to prolonged sweating and inadequate replacement of water and electrolytes in hot weather.

Injury Causes

Most running injuries are attributed to improper or faulty training techniques. This may involve inadequate or lack of warm-up routines. Beginning runners, sometimes too enthusiastic and out of shape, are often hurt when they initially run too much or run too soon.

Heavy and prolonged sweating especially with inadequate replacement of fluids and electrolytes may cause hyperthermia (increased body temperature). Running on hard or uneven surfaces for extended periods and wearing poorly constructed or worn out running shoes are some factors that contribute to running injuries. Other factors also inlcude improper running posture and structural abnormalities such as flat footedness, unequal leg length and muscle imbalance.

Signs and Symptoms of Injury

The most common sign of running related injuries is pain. Other signs and symptoms include swelling, bruising, inability to move or use the joint, and sometimes a feeling of popping or tearing when the injury happens.

Temperature Related Conditions

For heat cramps, symptom includes muscle cramping in the legs or back; in heat exhaustion, signs and symptoms may include headache, confusion, muscle cramps and pulse is weak and rapid; Heat Stroke, which is a medical emergency, include the skin becomes hot and dry, absent sweating, involuntary movements, seizures and may lead to death if left untreated.

Conservative Treatment Measures

Most minor injuries may be treated initially by PRICEMS Therapy, which stands for Protection, Rest, Ice application, Compression, Elevation, Medications, and Support. Immediately apply ice pack for about 15 – 20 minutes, rest and elevate the injured part. You may also apply an elastic bandage, if possible, to compress the injured tissue. Avoid applying heat during the acute stage of injury as this will worsen the swelling. It is also helpful to take aspirin and related nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), such as ibuprofen, to minimize the pain. Continue using PRICEMS Therapy for 2 – 3 days until swelling subsides. Follow-up treatment may include alternating moist heat and ice massage. (If there is still swelling, don’t apply heat.)

For severe cases (a complete tear to the ligament or tendon), consult your doctor for proper treatment as torn ligaments and tendons take longer time to heal due to poor blood supply to these types of tissues.

It is important, during the recovery period, that the patient be active using an alternative fitness program that does not worsen the original injury. Ask your healthcare provider about these alternative fitness program.

Temperature Related Injuries

For heat cramps, rest and replacement of water and electrolytes; management of heat exhaustion include the treatment for heat cramps as well as elevating the feet and cooling the body with ice and cold towels; management for heat stroke includes the ones previously stated, plus immediate transfer to the hospital for prompt treatment.

Training for the Injured Runner

When symptoms are no longer felt (asymptomatic), graduated training program can be performed. For the first 2 weeks, the patient should do alternate walking and running every other day and on alternate days, other types of exercises can be substituted. Prior to walking or running, patient should do warm-up with calisthenics for low back and limbs and stretching exercises. Your healthcare provider (Physician or Physical Therapist) can provide you with a proper graduated training program.

Note: This information is not provided as basis for diagnosis for any particular condition but as a general guide to running injuries. Always consult your healthcare provider for any questions regarding your health.

How to Avoid Treadmill Burnout

From physical rehabilitation to weight loss, many adults use treadmills on a daily basis, with most using them in fitness facilities, gyms, or in their own homes. Treadmills are a convenient way to run.

Running on treadmill

As a great piece of fitness equipment, we find the use of a treadmill to be effective at not only controlling and managing our running workouts but also providing feedback on our calories burned, timing, and the extent to which we are working on inclines and declines.

While most running enthusiasts prefer running in the great outdoors, treadmills are a solid option when running outside is not possible.

A New Age Problem: Treadmill Burnout

For many fitness enthusiasts, especially those new to the world of fitness routines, there is a marked risk for treadmill burnout. If you are using a treadmill on a daily basis, it is important to become familiar with the signs of burnout and how you can negate the effects.

Be Realistic With Goals

Small goals are a common mistake that we make with fitness programs and especially when using a treadmill. While small goals are important, they must be realistic and should not force you into treadmill use that is going to be stressful and create a feeling of dread about using the treadmill. So, the first step to avoiding treadmill burnout, is to set up small goals but make them as realistic and achievable as possible while also incorporating them into a larger weight loss and fitness goal plan.

Switch It Up On Occasion

Boredom is another factor that leads to treadmill burnout. If you find that you are becoming bored with your treadmill usage, it may be time to either change the fitness treadmill program settings or even consider walking or running outside. By changing up your routine for a few days, you can overcome the hurdle of boredom and be back on your way to recovering your excitement about the fitness program using the treadmill.

Be Consistent with Exercising but Spontaneous within Workouts

When using the treadmill, if you found that you initially set aside times and days that seem to make the treadmill a priority, and then those days and times fell to the wayside, this may be indicative of a burnout process. Be sure to always set your schedule around a realistic expectation that fits into your sleep cycle, your work schedule and your family life. If you find that you are not keeping to your original schedule, it may be time to break up your treadmill usage into smaller times throughout the day or even to move the times to an alternate time of day. At no point should you cease use but recognize that lack of priority, especially if it once was present, could be indicative of burn out.

Treadmills are a favorite piece of household fitness equipment and are the most popular items used in gyms and fitness facilities. When attempting to lose weight, or simply to get in better shape, be sure to incorporate a treadmill as part of your cardio workout but recognize that burnout could be a possibility and know what the signs of treadmill burnout may be.

Running is a great activity for your health and wellness. Treadmills can make running throughout the year more manageable. But be sure not to overdo it.