Fitness Sportsman

Published on June 6th, 2013 | by Healthy Gay Lifestyles

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Is Now the Time to Start Running?

by Jim Lynch

Seems everywhere you look someone is running, and maybe you’ve actually been thinking about running yourself — why not, everyone is doing it!  Running can provide so many benefits: physical, mental and social. Running can even change your life. So, how do you get started?  What do you do?  Here is some advice.
If you live in a city or town that has a running store, driving (not running yet) to that store should be your first step , as an experienced person there will fix you right up.  The most important purchase you make will be your running shoes, which support the mechanics of your feet and can be a huge factor in preventing injuries.  So, you’ll want to get the right pair from the very start. Most running stores are equipped with a treadmill, and while you are test-driving different shoes, the expert will check your form, gate and your pronation (i.e., the natural side-to-side movement of the foot as you walk or run). From these factors, they’ll be able to make some solid shoe recommendations.

Your local running store is no doubt connected with the local running community. You can find out a wealth of information, such as local running groups, the best running routes, and local races from the people who work there. Some stores even have run clubs where you run right from the store on certain nights of the week. I’m a huge supporter of local running groups.  I’ve seen so many people show up for the first time barely able to run a mile and, over time, develop into incredible runners, competing in half and full marathons, and even moving on to ultra races and triathlons – and, making so many new friends along the way.

Lacing up for your first run can be exciting but scary. Know from the start that you’re not going to be an Olympic marathon champion the first time out – start off slow, even mixing in a few walk breaks.  Remember, you’re trying this running thing out to enjoy it, and of course to see results, which you will over time. Know that pain is part of running . Not to discourage you, but that’s the reality. If you can mentally work through the aches and pains, you’ll come out the other side strong, fit and accomplished. Your runs will go from tough to euphoric, and you’ll surpass goals that at one point seemed impossible. The running world is filled with amazing stories of human spirit and accomplishment.

Gauge your progress by using sites such as Runkeeper.com or MapMyRun.com. Skip spending money on out of date running books and instead get a wealth of free, up-to-date information on training plans, nutrition, running apparel, etc., on sites such as RunnersWorld.com or Running.Competitor.com.  There’s so much information out there if you dig a little.

Runners are resilient. They’re goal oriented and not quitters. The recent Boston tragedy will not deter runners, but attract more to our wonderful sport. There are all kinds of reasons people find their way to running. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you do; so when you become a runner, you are a runner and evolve into  a better person for it. So, is now the time for you to start running? My guess is YES, so get out there and start to enjoy the run!
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Jim Lynch is a runner and author of One Foot in Front of the Other a book about life and running woven with wonderful stories of youth, growing, success, even failure. He has competed in 91 marathons that include all 50 states. Running has been a major factor to achieving a now happy and healthy life. www.authorjimlynch.com

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