Do you feel inspired when you watch others running? Are you looking to add this exciting cardio to your fitness regime? If the answer is yes, then you might need some help kick-starting your journey as a runner. And believe us, the prep isn’t limited to just buying the right shoes and gear.
To get some detailed insight into running, MH got in touch with an ace runner and Sports Exercise and Musculoskeletal Medicine Physician, Dr. Rajat Chauhan, who has been actively running for more than 33 years and is the Race Director at La Ultra – The High held in Ladakh.
Once you’ve decided to run, start focusing on the time frame of running rather than the miles covered. Dr. Chauhan adds, “When starting off, try and go slow. Control your breathing and take walk breaks after every two to three minutes for 30-60 seconds. Keep going like this for 20-30 minutes and don't be in a rush to run non-stop for 30 minutes. Just get your foundation right first. Remember, focus on baby steps.”
The Equipment You Need
When putting together your running gear, start with shoes. “Please don’t get confused with tennis, walking or any other kind of shoes,” says Dr. Chauhan. You need shoes that are meant only for running. He explains why running shoes are necessary, “It is the most important running equipment you'll need; there is nothing better than getting a good pair of running shoes, one that will suit your feet. There are primarily two kinds of shoes – neutral running shoes are designed for those whose feet don't really roll in while running, whereas stability shoes are for those whose feet roll in a lot. One simple tip for selecting your running shoes is to take enough time, maybe even half a day, before making the final purchase. Once you shortlist the shoes, wear them for at least 10 to 15 minutes before buying. And never buy a shoe based on brand preference only.
Next to shoes, socks are an extremely important running gear too (quite underrated if one may add!). Ill-fitting socks could lead to friction and eventually result in hot spots and blisters. Further, the right size of socks can minimise the risk of shock owing to the placement of the heel padding.
Says Dr. Chauhan, “As much as I am of the opinion that you can run in anything, I would still highly recommend getting running-specific shorts and t-shirts. Look for a vest that is made of wicking material as it will keep you relatively cool and dry during the run. It's worthwhile to invest in a couple of such garments. ”
Although smart gear is becoming increasingly popular among athletes and fitness enthusiasts, Dr. Chauhan suggests it’s best to avoid using any gadgets when running, at least in the beginning. He says, “Simply enjoy your running. Only when you've got a good hang of the activity, consider buying smart gear such as a fitness tracking watch, preferably after 3 months” He explains that one shouldn’t worry too much about pace, speed and distance; the focus should primarily be on time.
Foods To Eat
You don’t need to follow a specific diet until and unless you’re preparing for a marathon or other professional race. You can eat whatever you want, but don’t restrict the intake of carbohydrates and protein. Dr. Chauhan suggests sticking to a simple mantra - “eat healthy, eat clean.”
Read more- A Beginner’s Guide To Cycling
Treadmill Or Ground
A treadmill is a good option only in case of unforeseen weather conditions; otherwise, it’s best to run in the outdoors. By outdoors, our expert means choosing a slightly softer surface as hard surfaces may to lead to knee injuries if the landing is inappropriate.
Soreness In Legs
“After the first few days of running, your legs and even your back might feel sore. This doesn’t mean that running is bad for you; soreness is a sign that your body is not used to the activity,” informs Dr. Chauhan. The good news is that aches and pains usually settle down in a couple of days; a simple tip is to start slowly and not try and do too much too soon.
On your marks, get set, go!