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Running for the Non-Runner: Here's how you start!

It is finally warming up outside (it’s about time!), so why not ditch the gym and get some fresh air?  Have you ever looked at a runner and thought “Oh man I wish I could do that,” OR “Oh man, I could never do that?”  If so, I have some simple tips that can get you started ASAP. I know from experience that it is possible! In high school I could not even run the mile in gym class. No presidential fitness for me… but today (33 years young) I run regularly, have participated in multiple races, and can still run a couple of miles even in my 3rd trimester of pregnancy.  (Thank you, Alice Cummings, for getting me started!)

Running is a great way to increase cardio fitness, manage weight, tone the core, and relieve stress.  Try it this spring, and by summer you will be beach ready!

Start Slow
Most people think that once they put on their running shoes they are ready to hit the road and run a 5K (or even just a mile).  That is usually not the case.  Starting with a walk/run is easier and safer for beginners.  Try jogging for 2 minutes and walking for 2 minutes.  You will decrease your chance of injury and increase your chance of sticking to it!

Find a buddy
Find a friend who is close to your fitness level.  Set a weekly date to go for a run together.  The conversation and support will make the time fly.  There are also free running groups that you can join, and some of them come with a run coach to help guide you.  If you are in the New York City area check out this list of free running meet ups - http://www.thefitgourmand.com/2011/03/free-running-groups-newyorkcity.html

Cross Train
It is important to devote a couple of workouts each week to a non-running activity, otherwise you could end up with an injury. Choose a low impact cardio activity such as swimming or cycling to give the joints a rest, or try strength training to work the muscles that you have been neglecting during your run. Yoga is also a great addition to a runner’s routine. The asanas can cut down on muscle tightness and increase your flexibility. 

Sign up for a Race
There is no better motivation than training for a race.  Keep it simple and choose a 5K walk/run if you feel uneasy about an all-out run.  Having a specific and time sensitive goal will keep you on track with your weekly routine. And the high you feel on race day is a fabulous reward! Sometimes they even give you a metal…:)

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