Five Tips To Get Your Jog On
Editor's Note: Becoming a runner was not something she took lightly. She read everything she could to learn the best way to train her body while avoiding injury and now, at The Act of Returning to Normal, she shares her tips for achieving her success. -- AVF
There are several things I learned that have contributed to my success and I wanted to share them with anyone who wants to start running:
"Woman running" via Shutterstock.
- The shoe debate. Most shoes on the market have incredible cushioning and motion control built into them. Most books make shoe recommendations based on gait and foot structure. Research has shown that this technology has done nothing to reduce the rate of injury in runners. The latest research suggests that one should buy the most comfortable shoe. I inadvertently bought a shoe with minimal support, minimal cushioning, and no stability control and my knee problems disappeared (this is a long standing problem for me). When I replaced those shoes based on the recommendations at the running store (the shoe I'd been wearing wasn't made any longer) I had near-instant knee pain. Trust your instincts here - blame the shoe first. Most shoe stores will allow you to exchange your shoes if there are no signs of wear - I took five different pairs for a run, cleaned them, and returned them. Yes - it was embarrassing to go back to the store for the fourth time. On the plus side, I found shoes I really love. One other thing: don't tie your shoes too tightly - pain in your arches signifies that the shoe is too tight. And lastly, buy non-cotton running socks.
- Running form. Here too, I found multiple conflicting perspectives. Some advise aiming for a heel strike and a wide stride to reduce injury, while others argue for a mid-strike. Bio-mechanics indicate that a heel strike (hitting the ground with your heel first) increases the overall stress on your body, suggesting that the mid-foot people are right. For me, heel strike feels unnatural and increases my knee pain. Keep in mind that a shoe with a lot of cushion will force the heel strike. Go with what feels natural.
- Start now. You don't have to change or improve yourself before you start running. Whether you're still drinking or still smoking or whatever, you can still take this one step.
Read the rest of the tips at The Act of Returning to Normal.