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For those who want to start running as a form of exercise or having the idea of running as a competitive sport, it best to know the proper way to begin running. Photo Contributed

How To Start Running

MADISON- For those who have looked into or will choose running as a new sport or just to way to get into better physical condition, there are numerous ways to see exactly what the correct protocol is for a novice in the sport.

Running doesn’t take special equipment, an expensive gym membership or having to join a league or team. You can be a novice and join in at any time. Most running experts agree there are just four basic notations of an itinerary needed to lace up the shoes and sprint down the street to become a runner:

Set a goal; run with friends or a running buddy; choose the correct running shoes; take it easy!

Any physical activity should include a goal and running is no different. Setting goals is an important part of getting into running, but set the correct goals for you. Goals of being healthier or getting into shape won’t help your training regimen because they are difficult to measure and don’t have a defined conclusion. Instead, set specific, time-bound goals like finishing a certain distance or a race. These types of goals give you something to work toward and tangible ways to measure your success.

In other words, set attainable and measureable goals and especially set goals that fit your schedule. We all are busy with work, family, community, etc., so plan accordingly and prioritize quality over quantity.

“Consistency is key as a consistent runner is a happy runner,” said Julia Donovan of Fleet Feet Sports of Huntsville, the leading business in the area for the sport of running. She added, “Get adequate sleep, stay hydrated, maintain a healthy diet, do some strength training and build your mileage and intensity gradually.”

Once you set your goal begin scouring out the best running shoes for you. Don’t rely on how your shoes fit in the past, your feet change over time, so make sure you see a professional about the correct shoe to fit your feet. That professional will take accurate measurements to get you into the right shoe. It’s also worth to invest into a high quality shoes even if the cost seems to be a bit much.

“There is no magic shoe as the correct shoe for you is the one that fits your foot well and should be comfortable,” said Donovan. “If you feel a bit overwhelmed by all of the different brands and models of shoes out there, go to your local running specialty store like Fleet Feet and let the fit specialists analyze your feet.”

Most running professionals will tell you to purchase at least two pairs of shoes and rotate through those two pairs on a regular basis as that helps the shoes last longer and helps you to stave off injury.

Once you set your goal and are wearing the proper shoes, find a running community or friends to run with. Runners are usually a welcoming bunch and friendly to the core. Groups of runners are always looking to gain new members so reach out and touch local running clubs or groups. At the least, find a running buddy who can keep you on track of your goal. A friend who knows your goals, your habits and is great at keeping you in check is the best to have. Your running buddy can also be a great accountability tool who has the strength to lead you straight to achieve your goals.

Finally, and what could be the best advice for a beginner runner: Take it easy! As in the lyrics of the Eagles 1972 hit song “Take It Easy,” written by Glen Frey and Jackson Browne- “I’m running down the road, tryin’ to loosen my load, take it easy.”

Many new runners try and do too much, too soon, too fast. When you’re starting out, don’t be worried about your pace while you build your endurance. Set a goal each time you decide to run. Make a contest of your activity within yourself. Set a pace time that’s reasonable or know you would like to complete the run in time for you to cook dinner or go to work or watch your favorite television program.

In other words, as the Eagles sang 57 years ago…take it easy!

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