It isn't until the moment when I can't run that I realize how much I have come to love it. Running is tough and kicks my tail on a daily basis, but seeing the gains in speed and mileage after time is rewarding. Not to mention how much fun I have racing with my friends.
So how does a beginning runner stay injury free?
Start SlowIn too many instances when a person starts running, they get hurt, and then fail to ever pick it back up again. We want to help prevent that from happening. No matter if you are "in-shape" or not, running requires the use of different muscles than other forms of exercise. Many new runners experience shin splints, pulled calf muscles, cramping quads, or sore hips from going out too fast or from doing too much too soon. Take it slow and ease into your new activity.
As a beginner runner, the number of miles you cover is not important, instead focus on the number of minutes. As you get stronger, the amount of time you are able to run will increase.
The same goes for any change in your exercise plan. No one should expect themselves to be able to jump into a cross training class or similar venue thinking they can lift 50lbs or do 100 push-ups the first day or after a long break. You need to ease into it, steadily increasing over time. I learned this one the hard way, and now I've been sidelined due to a strained muscle for the past 6 weeks.
If you do get injured, try your best to continue with a fitness routine. If you are able to, try a SPIN class instead of running, or yoga. Once a fitness routine is broken, it's hard to get that groove back unless you make it a priority to do so. Depending on the nature of the injury, try to focus on other areas to work on like resistance training and weights.
Are you injured? What do you do to maintain fitness?
For me, I'm spinning my evenings and weekends away hoping to still make that next race; knowing that if my body isn't ready, instead, I will be cheering on my gal pals as they cross the finish line.