Maybe you have never run before, or it’s been a long time since you last ran. Here are a few tips to help get you out on the road or treadmill.

1. Start slowly

When beginning a new running program, focus on the total distance and not the total time. Begin by alternating short running intervals with recovery walking intervals. 2-minute jog – 2-minute walk – 2-minute jog. Over time, you can increase your running interval until you can run the entire distance. Also, know that it takes time for your body to adapt to the changes you are making by running. You may experience shin splints, tight calf muscles, sore hips or quads but with some gentle stretching and taking it slow, your body should acclimate to the new exercise level within a few weeks.

2. Let your body rest

Give your body active rest days between runs. This allows your body to recover and adapt to the new demands on it. Try yoga, light weight lifting, or a pool workout on your “off day” to continue to work your body.

3. Good shoes

Invest in your body and purchase a well-fitting pair of running shoes. Getting properly fit for a pair of shoes that correct for overpronation, supination, or other foot problems will decrease your risk for injury, make exercising more enjoyable, and increase the time you can spend on the road.

4. Find a friend

It’s easier to be motivated when you know someone is waiting for you to exercise with them. Find a friend or join a running club. It will help you stay motivated and make running more fun.

5. Always start with a dynamic warm-up

Save the static stretching – holding for 30 seconds for when you are finished running and cooling down. Before you start your run, start with a dynamic warm-up of 5 minutes of walking to get your muscles warmed up before you work them. This will help prevent injuries along the way.

Physical Therapist at Freedom Physical Therapy Services
Molly Rittberg received her master’s degree in Physical Therapy in 2007 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and went on to receive her doctorate from Rosalind Franklin University (North Chicago) in 2009. She has since worked in an outpatient orthopedic practice where she worked with patients of all ages, injuries and disabilities. She has a wide variety of experiences including knee, ankle, foot and shoulder injuries, post-operative conditions, spinal rehabilitation and peripheral neuropathies.