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Running for Beginner

     Which fitness program is the best? The type of exercise is not nearly as important as your consistency doing it. Select a fun fitness program, and you'll do it more often.

Exercise you look forward to is the best fitness program!

Race Director for Great Pumpkin Race      I was Race Director of The Great Pumpkin Race for 7 years. I've seen lots of people have fun running. People from 1 to 100 years old ran. Short, tall, slender, hefty, old or young, they all had a great time.

     Running is an important foundation for many sports. You develop strength and endurance. Jogging for weight loss works because it burns calories. A good jogging program allows us personal quiet time to enjoy scenery and think deep thoughts (or just plan your day). Jogging for exercise keeps you fit and looking your best.

The true benefit of jogging is being healthy and looking your best.

     Our daily fitness level can even act as an early warning system for sickness.

How you feel after your run, indicates your current health level.

     If your regular jogging program is unusually difficult one day, you may be getting sick. Take appropriate steps to improve your health. Eat a few vitamins or extra vegetables. It's much better than a week in bed from the flu or a cold.

How to start jogging

     Jogging gear doesn't require a lot, but you can look great running. It doesn't even require the expense of a gym membership.

     Your basic jogging gear is simple. Just dig things out of your closet and start. As you run more, pick the equipment and outfits for your specific circumstances. Don't worry, you'll figure out what you need.

All you really need are shoes, socks, shorts and a shirt ...but

Jogging Gear

     Individual jogging gear depends on your circumstances. On a nice summer day, I wear good running shoes and enough clothes to enjoy the sunshine, and still be decent.

     As the weather cools, I add layers. Modern jogging gear works great, because it wicks away moisture, protects against wind and rain, but still moves. Cold weather running apparel is amazing in cold weather.

     Exercise raises body temperature. While cool weather requires layers of clothing, hot weather needs material that expels heat. Too many clothes on your run, causes you to overheat.

     In boot camp, our equipment used for jogging was hightop leather shoes and something like cotton blue jeans and a golf shirt.

     I wished for those sleek Star Trek uniforms that worked equally well, in hot or cold weather. Today, modern jogging gear is made of those materials, about 300 years early!

Running Shoes

     Of all the equipment used for running, shoes are most important. Running shoes are the interface between the runner and the road. The running shoe you choose can make the difference between running comfortable or getting injured.

     Running shoes have made incredible advances in the last few decades. They last longer, while providing ideal support for your feet. Tougher, lighter materials make running easier and your shoes keep your feet dry while allowing them to breath.

     A shoe is not just a shoe anymore. Running shoe companies now provide different feet with a different shoe. While this seems to complicate shoe selection, running in comfort with fewer injuries makes it worthwhile.

Every foot is built a little different and requires a different running shoe

     Special attention should be given to running shoe selection. Shoe size is usually the one thing people know.

     To determine your arch, look at your footprint. Just get your feet wet and step on some thick paper.

types of foot arches for selecting running shoes      High arches don't absorb shock. Instead, the shock is absorbed by the legs. The high arch tends to be a supinator (underpronator). A neutral-cushion shoe works best.

     A normal arch is most common. This normal pronation arch absorbs the shock. Normal arch feet can wear most shoes but might tend toward stability shoes.

     The low arch is also called flat foot. The arch tends to collapse and absorb more shock. This is overpronation and your foot has excessive motion. The low arch is more prone to injury and should use stability or motion-control shoes.

     Try trail shoes if you are looking for good weather resistant running shoes. They are more likely to be waterproof and gives you better traction.

Jogging Clothes

     The type of jogging clothes you wear, determines your comfort level and even your speed and health. Dressing in layers works best. You want to dress a little bit cool, because you heat up as you exercise.

     I have a running shirt, not much thicker than a T-shirt. The first time I wore it, it was about 8ºf.

     As I ran, traffic slowed and stared at me. When I stopped, I noticed steam coming off the shirt. I was dry and toasty, while the shirt was expelling sweat.

     On a warm day, I can wear the same shirt and stay cool. Weird stuff, but I sure like it.

People who try technical clothing, seldom go back!
     The inner layer should fit snug and wick moisture away from your body. Coolmax® or Lycra® are great materials for the first layer (only layer in warm weather). Sweat makes you clammy and uncomfortable. Coolmax or Lycra dries twice as fast as cotton and keeps you warm when it's cold and cooler when it's hot.

     Coolmax® or Lycra® wick moisture away quickly and dry in half the time of cotton. These materials make a great first layer (only layer in warm weather). Lycra is a stretchy material and fits very snug, like a second skin. Long distance runners can appreciate that a fast drying fabric takes the rub out as well.

High tech materials mean you dress like Star Trek, instead of the Michelin Man

     Cold weather running apparel, includes an outer shell. This shell should be waterproof and wind proof, but still allows moisture to escape.

     Rain cools you faster than you think. Heat transfers quicker through water than air. An outer shell should be waterproof and wind proof, but still allow moisture to escape. Gore-Tex® is another magical material. It allows steam through, but blocks rain because it has a larger molecule than steam.

     Lots of heat escapes through your head and hands. On a cold day, a hat keeps you surprisingly warm. Gloves or mittens keep your hands warm. I like polar fleece, maybe with a water resistant shell.

     If the weather becomes really cold, you may want to add an insulating layer. Polar fleece works great. It allows moisture to continue away from you. It also keeps you warm even when it's wet.

Running Shorts      The legs don't sweat as much as the torso, so usually one layer is sufficient. Athletic gear is designed for movement and works best.

Sweat clings to cotton. Lycra pulls sweat away from the body and expels it. Along with details like support and rub, new materials can make running so much more comfortable and even faster.

When to Run

     Jogging can fit any schedule. Some people do mornings, others do evenings.

     You don't have to run every day. You need time between runs to recover. As we get older, recovery time increases. Any type of exercise stresses the muscles, but we actually get stronger during recovery time.

Get creative and you'll find time

     Travel can be tough on your running schedule. Once, at a hotel, I ran up 27 flights of stairs to the top floor. What a great workout with a reward of a wonderful view of the city!

     I was training for a marathon and needed my long run, but I was flying that weekend. The solution? Simply put on my running clothes at the airport, my wife drove home with the luggage. After 20 miles and a few hours, I finally got home.

Do whatever works most consistently in your schedule

     Jogging for weight loss or jogging for exercise only requires running 2 or 3 times a week. You might try mixing other types of workouts with your running

Where to Run

     A marathon goal obviously requires longer runs than a goal of jogging for weight loss. Goals can change over time. Follow your interests, they guide the way.

     Try a fun run and ask the Race Director for a course map. Don't be shy, we're regular people and are thrilled when someone appreciates our course enough to run it often (after all, it took hours to design). A fun run route is usually measured and the kinks have been smoothed out, making it an ideal run.

     A simple course is to run down a road for a while, then turn around and come back. This works great when I'm out of town. I don't get lost. Remember, to run up a hill first.

Keep it simple and pick a course you want to run

     You don't have to run the same course every time. Different courses offer different exercises and different scenery.