What is a Running Program?

A running program is a schedule designed to ease you into consistent running, or help you train for an upcoming race. Why not just go out there and run? Whether it’s your first time becoming a runner, or you’re a runner who went on hiatus, it is not safe to hit the pavement without a plan of attack. The running program is there to protect your health and keep you running for years.

To begin, you will need to choose a program that fits your personal needs. There are plenty of ideas online, but you can also consult a personal trainer for a custom-made plan. Either way, you should choose the right program based on your ultimate goal. For example, if you are training for a 10K race, your program will be different from that of someone who is training for a marathon, or someone who is simply getting into a lifelong habit of running daily. In any event, you will want to consider length, frequency and difficulty when choosing your running program.

Running programs vary by many factors. Those who wish to make the transition from walking to running should consider an eight-week integration of walking and running that ends in the elimination of walking. Those who are looking to tackle a 5K will be able to find everything from a six-week program to a twelve-week program. You will benefit the most from choosing a running program that fits you and your style, regardless of what your friend, neighbor, or significant other is doing.

Whether you are new to running or not, but especially if you are new, you should see your doctor before embarking on your running program. The doctor can tell you if you are physically prepared for the high-endurance exercise. Furthermore, he or she should give you an exercise stress test on a treadmill to ensure that you have no cardiovascular problems that may become irritated or stimulated once you have begun your routine.

Once you have selected your program, and received clearance from your physician, your next step is to select the proper shoe. This is extremely important, as taking care of your feet will ensure that you take care of your knees, lower back, hamstrings, and all other joints and muscles that are stressed from the constant pounding your body endures while running. When choosing the perfect shoe, resist the urge to base your choice on color.

When you go to find your perfect shoe, spend time making your selection. The salesperson should watch you run in the shoes to judge if you are overpronating (rolling your foot inward when you land) or supinating (rolling your foot outward when you land). To avoid foot problems, bruised toes, and dead toenails, your running shoes should be a half to a full size larger than your other shoes. Try each recommended pair on, jog in them, and judge for comfort, fit and compatibility with your step. Lastly, if you find that the shoes don't work for you after all and you can still exchange them, take them back and get a pair that does work.

Once you’ve started your running program, there are a few common mistakes you should try to avoid. Replace your shoes every 300 to 400 miles (about 480 to 640 km) as old shoes no longer provide the proper support. Keep yourself safe from injury by refraining from doing too much, too fast. Practice proper running form — landing heel first over and over again will cause injury. Do not underestimate the amount of liquid you loose when running — remember to stay hydrated. Lastly, have fun!


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