By Lisa Malcomson, PT DPT, MS
What better time than the spring to begin a new exercise routine and face a new challenge. If you’ve set your sites on running, here are some tips to make sure you stay on course:
DO Start at your own pace. Pushing past your limits just because you would like to see progress, can result in injury. Starting at a lower intensity can ensure that you will have a more enjoyable workout. Your run may start as a brisk walk, but with perseverance you will be running in no time.
DO Make sure you have good sneakers that will give you the right amount of support when starting out. Good shoes can help make a workout a pleasant one by giving support in the right places.
DO Stay hydrated and healthy. It can be very easy to forget the importance of drinking water when making the change to a more active lifestyle. The more you sweat the more water your body needs. Have a small snack high in complex carbohydrates and low in fat, like oatmeal or quinoa and garbanzo beans, about an hour before your run to keep you fueled and avoid stomach aches.
DO Find your rhythm. Listening to music helps you keep going and helps silence any negative thoughts. Make a music playlist that will hype you up for the entirety of your run!
DO Find your inner motivation and sign up for an event. Many runners stay motivated because they have a goal in mind. Signing up for an event, like a charity run, can help to keep that motivation during your training. You might try Mather’s Families Walk for Hope, in May. It’s a five-mile course through Port Jefferson and Belle Terre and benefits the Fortunato Breast Health Center.
DON’T compare yourself to other runners. Whether you’re running on the track, at the gym, or just around the block it is likely that you will encounter other runners like yourself, however it is important to remember that everyone must start somewhere. It is okay to run slower, take breaks, or finish before they do.
DON’T forget to stretch after running. Muscle soreness is common when starting a new activity but it is important to stretch to avoid or prevent any serious injuries.
DON’T give up. This is a process, and you will need to be patient and stay motivated in order to see results. Of course you will not be running a 5k overnight but if you put in the time and effort, you will be there in no time.
DON’T neglect to see your doctor if you are in pain. There is a difference between muscle pain and an injury. If you are feeling consistent pain with no relief even after resting, schedule an appointment with your physician to have it checked out.
Lisa Malcomson, PT DPT, MS is Director of Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Services, Mather Hospital.