Four practical essentials for healthy running

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I’m really wanting to get in to running. I think it will really help both my physical and mental health and is something I can do to help manage my sitting pain. I’m a fast runner rather than a long distance runner, so I’m keen to know the basics to help me get going, which was why I wanted to collaborate on this post (for which I received a small payment). I think it is really useful for anyone wanting to give running a try and knowing where to start.

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Running can seem like the most natural thing in the world. However, it’s not always as easy as it seems. We all have our own physical measurements and anthropometry that dicates just how our body moves and is moved, and that means that while there are essential aspects to running form, it changes from person to person depending on how they are ‘set up.’ For instance, someone who is flat-footed will need extra support and a long gait when running in order to counter those issues.

But what practical realities can we assign to the most amount of people who are looking to take up this most important of personal exercise efforts? It’s worth asking this question, because we do not wish to limit well-meaning people in their exercise efforts, be that through ability or through lack of confidence.

We understand that for many newcomers, running can be quite a scary new habit. Thankfully, with the following advice, you should find this approach much easier than you had anticipated. Who knows? You may even start to truly enjoy this practice.

Protect your feet

Protecting your feet is important when running, because this is, in actuality, a very intensive exercise. Even smaller strides and light running will continually leave your feet continually touching the ground, and they are carrying the weight of your body. This means that if you’re not careful about protecting your feet, you’re unfortunately going to experience problems. The first step to protecting yourself is to wear fitting and supported footwear.

If you’re flat footed, you may need specialist shoes, and the same goes for the appropriateness of footwear for those with low or high arches. Heading to a running store to ask pertinent questions can be a worthwhile use of your time.

I wear trainers with high arches as this helps protect my knees from all the standing and walking that I do. Staff at running stores know their stuff and can advise what shoes are best for you.

People on a running race track

Additionally, practice great foot hygiene. Wash your feet in the shower, learn how to resolve issues such as corn on sole of foot issues. Fresh, breathable socks and sometimes protective powder for athletes foot and other potential issues can be a worthwhile use of your time. The more you can protect your feet, the better.

Wear correct clothing

Wear clothing that helps you run comfortably. Jeans are obviously not helpful, nor is wearing the suit that you have just come from the office with. Good shorts are freeing and allow you to enjoy the best of your stride, but comfortable tracksuit bottoms can be just as worthwhile.

Apparel can be considered as anything you wear while running, and so it’s important to use items that help you run with the best form. For instance, an armband to help secure your phone can sometimes be used to help your weight distribution and accessibility. Additionally, wireless, sweat-proof headphones (not wireless studio headphones) can help you easily run with your favourite tunes to motivate you or a podcast to help you learn on the run.

Know your route

It’s important to know your route when running. Of course, treadmills hold no destination, but for many, outdoor running provides them with the many changes in stride and step needed to navigate the land, a more scenic experience and fresh air to breathe.

But it’s essential to ensure that if you follow this approach, that you know where you’re going, and how to stay safe. Those who live in the inner-city may not find that running on the pavement or sidewalk is a safe experience with so many people around, and so may take time to travel to a quieter environment or park. You may plan your route on specialist apps or Google Maps, and ensure that you have the least amount of chance of dealing with traffic, or that you run in trusted areas. This can always help your safety, and safety is always a good thing.

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Post-run care

Running is hard on your body, on your legs and feet. It’s important to keep them cared for, and to ensure you’re practicing recovery as well as you can between sessions.

Good sleep, eating protein-rich foods and plenty of vegetables, supplementing with vitamins, dynamic stretching before a run and static stretching after, and enjoying a good shower (cold water can help promote muscle recovery) will help you live well to run again one day, and from there, to enjoy this practice as well as you can.

With this advice, we hope you can practice the four essentials for healthy running. To this end, you’re certain to feel more confident in your exercise habits.

Your thoughts

Can you run with your chronic pain?

What advice can you give someone to get started?

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