Exercise & Health: A Complete Beginner's Running Guide
Running is a natural method of movement for humans, but when did it turn into a sport? In Ancient Greece, the Olympics turned running into a competition to test endurance, strength, and speed. Through the centuries that followed, including modern times, running has continued to be practiced for fun, exercise, and sport. In the United States alone, thousands of people participate in running clubs, as well as competitions such as marathons and races. Running isn’t simply all fun and games though. Apart from the sheer enjoyment of this activity, there are a vast number of benefits that come from it. Many people begin running to manage and maintain their weight better. It also improves the circulatory, respiratory, and cardiovascular systems. Running helps to tone and build muscle strength and improve the body’s natural metabolism rate. Besides the physical benefits, running helps psychologically too. When people run, a hormone called endorphins are released into their blood stream. Endorphins are typically associated with feelings of pleasure and wellbeing. In turn, after running, people tend to feel refreshed, happy, and relaxed. Some studies have even shown that running has positive effects on memory and learning rates.
In modern times, running has evolved into a number of different events. The most basic are short distance sprints, which mainly test the runner’s speed. On the other hand, longer runs, such as marathons and cross-country runs test endurance levels as well. For these long runs, runners have to pace themselves and conserve energy in order to make it through the duration of the run before putting in the final burst of speed towards the end. Long runs can take the form of a competition, or also a charity fundraiser event. Serious runners participate in even more challenging runs, such as ultrarunning and multiday running. These are even longer than the traditional marathon distances and may span a time period of several days.
How Long Should I Run For?
Although longer runs may seem difficult for beginners, the key is to start slowly and gradually. Overexerting yourself can lead to fatigue, disappointment, and even physical injuries. Follow a set plan that gradually increases the amount of time spent running each day. On warmer days, use protective measures such as a cap, sunglasses, and sunscreen, and schedule your run when the sun is lower on the horizon. Always be sure to continually hydrate yourself during the run, no matter what the weather is like. It is also wise to brush up on common forms of running injuries and know how to prevent them. One way is to warm up sufficiently before heading out on a run. This ensures that the muscles used in running are properly stretched and can handle the exertions of the sport. Twisted ankles, pulled muscles, shin splints, and stress fractures are common injuries that may occur with running and overexertion. It does help to go running with another person. They not only provide a safety backup, but also offer companionship and motivation. Be sure to use the right running equipment, with appropriate sneakers and clothing. This will help to prevent overheating and keep your feet safe while you run. If you aren’t sure where or how to start, simply browse through the collection of running resources gathered below!
Motion & Running Technique
- Improving Arm Swing
- Impact of Leg Motion on a Runner’s Balance
- Tips to Finetune Running Form
- Breathing Tips for Runners
- Starting Out and Pacing
- Find Running Routes in Any State
- Sample Marathon Training Programs
- Training Tips and Advice
- Cool Running Training Plans
- Runners World Online Training Log
Running Injuries and Safety
- Warming Up Before Running
- Running on Cold Days
- Common Running Injuries and Treatments
- Running Safety Advice
Benefits of Running