With the city of Plattsburgh hosting a half-marathon this April, a lot of people are setting their goals to run this 13.1 mile race.
The very first thing a new runner should do is get medical clearance from your doctor. After that, get yourself a good pair of running shoes and some good winter gear to get you through the cold winter months of running in the North Country. Yes, you can do the majority of your training on the treadmill, but it is still important to get at least your weekly long run in outside so your body will get used to the pounding of the pavement opposed to a cushioned treadmill.
When you head out for your run, it is a good idea to tell someone where you will be running and when to expect you back. Carry some identification with you as well as a phone and a few bucks in case of an emergency. Warm up with some walking and finish with a cool down and some stretching.
Watch out for cars. Be a defensive runner, don't take it for granted that cars will see you when you are running on the road. Always pay attention to traffic and run in the opposite direction so you can see oncoming cars. Including a training partner can be a great motivation for the both of you as well as increasing safety by numbers.
Don't wear headphones while running outside, they tune you out from your surroundings making you vulnerable to hazards such as cars, bikes, dogs, and criminals.
Don't run alone in remote areas. Especially for women, it is important to be completely aware of your surroundings. If you don't have a running partner, run with a dog or pepper spray, do not approach a car for directions and don't assume all runners are safe.
It is also very important for the first time runner to be patient and go slow by only increasing your weekly mileage by no more than 10 percent to avoid overtraining and injury. There are many training plans available on-line to get you started or you can contact a certified personal trainer in your area to help customize a plan for your individual needs and goals.
Corinna Maggy is a National Academy of Sports Medicine certified personal trainer and corrective exercise specialist. She can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. The information contained within Health Matters is not a substitute for professional medical examination, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult your physician before starting an exercise program or beginning any nutritional regimen.