Fitness Articles

Don't Be a Runnin' Fool

A Beginner's Guide to Running


Many beginning runners complain of an inability to catch their breath while they run, causing them to stop for frequent walking breaks. If you experience this problem, slow down and relax—after all, it isn’t a race. One of the biggest mistakes beginners make is running too fast. If you can answer a question (but not comfortably carry on a conversation) while you run, your pace is about right. You shouldn’t be gasping for air. Concentrate on breathing from deep down in your belly as opposed to taking short, shallow breaths. It's okay to take a break if you need one—just start again as soon as you’re ready. 

Proper form can help you conserve energy and avoid injury. Your posture should be upright—shoulders back, abs pulled in, and no slouching or leaning forward. Look out to the horizon while you’re running instead of at your feet. Don’t forget about your arms! They should pump forward and backward to help with momentum, because swinging arms side-to-side or hanging them at your sides does nothing to help with your forward motion. Especially when going uphill, your arms can make a big difference. (Remember that it is important to maintain a consistent effort, not necessarily a consistent pace, when running uphill.)

Running can be a great addition to your workout routine! Just remember to talk to your doctor before starting any new activity, especially if you are a current or former smoker, are overweight, or if there is a history of heart disease in your family. Through consistent effort, you’ll be headed for your first 5K in no time!

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About The Author

Jen Mueller Jen Mueller
Jen received her master's degree in health promotion and education from the University of Cincinnati. A mom and avid marathon runner, she is an ACE-certified personal trainer, health coach, medical exercise specialist and behavior change specialist. See all of Jen's articles.

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