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A Beginners Guide to Running!

Tackling the NYC Marathon is not and will not be easy. Obviously throughout the years running has been a staple in my life. Of course running for competition was just an afterthought. Running from my doorstep to the bus stop was the extent of my workout. And while the bus stop stood four blocks away, in the end I felt I ran a marathon. The extent of my well being was evident as I boarded a bus huffing and puffing trying to gather my breathe. As stated in previous entries I rarely took care of myself.

But now that I am living a healthy lifestyle how does one mentally and physically prepare for a competition such as a the NYC Marathon? Answer: With the help of online research and through dialogue with runners here are some key components for first time runners.

  • The BIGGEST key to any diet or workout activity is to get clearance from a physician. A person looking to begin a workout regimen who has not been active should see his/her doctor for a proper physical examination. A person who desires to start physical activity but who has been sedentary or has a heart condition or has a family history of heart disease should request a stress test. A stress test is an examination putting the patient on a treadmill. The patient is strapped to a sensors along the hands and an ECG (Electro Cardiogram) wire placed along the chest of the patient. As the patient is walking/running at a moderate level the sensors and ECG will help the doctors determine if there are any causes for concern.
  • Running shoes. A good pair of running shoes will help prevent injury. However, selecting a good pair will not be too easy. For runners there are specialized shoe stores that house a knowledgeable staff. Since we are not created the same runners need to carefully select a specified shoe that will meet their needs. Do we all want a pair of Nike’s? Of course. But that does not mean your feet are designed for them. A lot of research and questioning goes into finding the right pair of running shoes. In a future entry I will go in depth about where or how to find the right athletic store. AND BY THE WAY…I DO NOT CONSIDER CONVERSE CHUCK TAYLOR’S TO BE A RUNNING SHOE.
  • Eating is essential for runners. How much food can play a role in running for distance or prematurely ending. A runner should have a light snack or have a meal at least 2 hours before a run. Little to no nourishment’s will result in loss of energy, while running on a full stomach can result in injuries or a cramp. Runners should take note not all types of meals or snacks are made to help runners. In a future entry I will discuss what should runners eat.
  • Hydration. Drinking plenty of fluids is essential to keep the body moving. According to runnersworld.com, dehydration “causes blood volume to drop which lowers your body’s ability to transfer heat and forces your heart to beat faster.” Their response? Two hours before a race a person should consume 8 to 16 ounces of water. During the race the amount of water a runner consumes depends on the length of the race. Sports drinks are beneficial too. They help “replenish sodium by providing carbs and electrolytes”.
  • How can I forget stretching? Stretching helps warm up muscles in your body that can be susceptible to injury. Plus by warming up and stretching your heart is put in a rhythm. It has been recommended by some runners that light aerobic exercises for at least 15 to 20 minutes such as a walk or a jog are helpful.

These are some guidelines I am slowly starting to follow as my training progress day after day, week after week, month after month. I am sure there are other key necessities to grasp. However this is a learning process for me. If anyone has more information on what a novice runner should do please feel free to comment. I appreciate all types of feedback.

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