Whether you are an avid fitness enthusiast or a first-time jogger, it is important to know the safest ways to run. Here are some tips to get the most out of your workout.
- Get the right shoes. Visit a running specialty store to get fitted properly. Do not be afraid to splurge on nice shoes since they are the only equipment you really need, and good shoes will protect your joints.
- Buy new running shoes every 300-400 miles. If you run on roads, you might need to replace your shoes closer to the 300-mile mark.
- Halfway through the life of your running shoes, rotate another pair of shoes into your runs. This will allow your shoes to last longer because they will have time to decompress and dry out between runs.
- Running the same path in the same direction may alter the alignment of your legs. You can fix this by switching up your paths or running on the opposite side of the road.
- To avoid chafing, do not wear 100% cotton clothes.
- Wear reflectors if jogging at night.
- If you are a beginner, it can be effective to start with a run/walk method. Start with a one-minute run/five-minute walk interval and repeat. Gradually decrease your walking time and increase your running time over the following weeks.
- Try to keep your hands at waist level, right about where they might lightly brush your hip. Your arms should be at a 90-degree angle, with your elbows at your sides. Keep your posture straight and erect. Your head should be up, your back straight, and shoulders level.
- Take the “talk test”: You should be able to breathe very easily and carry on a conversation while jogging.
- Strike the ground with the middle of your foot for safe jogging.
- Find a running buddy who is at the same fitness level as you. This will hold you accountable for your workouts.
- Stay consistent. It is better to run twice a week for a month than to run every day for three weeks and then take a whole week off.
- Warm up: Start each run with a gentle warm-up of at least five minutes. This can include quick walking, marching on the spot, knee lifts, side stepping and climbing stairs.
- Cool down: Do each exercise for 10-30 seconds, including jumping jacks, high knee skips, butt kicks, straight leg shuffle, and tuck jumps.
- Always stretch after: Hold each stretch for at least 15 seconds to reap the full benefits.
- Drink water: One cup 30 minutes before a run will most likely hydrate you without giving you cramps. Take in 5-12 ounces every 20 minutes of activity.
Danielle DiCristofano is a sophomore at the University of Dayton majoring in dietetics. She plans to become a registered dietitian and work for a health magazine.
Photo Credit: Nicole Hayashi