As novice runners hit the open road, experts say take it slow

Mon Apr 14, 2014 6:16am EDT
 
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By Dorene Internicola

NEW YORK (Reuters) - As the days lengthen and the weather warms and novice runners cast an eye outdoors, fitness experts suggest they take a slow start to find their outdoor rhythm and pace to avoid injuries.

Jen Van Allen, a certified running coach and co-author of "The Runner's World Big Book of Running for Beginners" said the first time outdoors everyone else seems like a real runner. And new runners often fear getting hurt, or that they will find running unpleasant or boring.

"Certainly when someone pushes body and mind farther there is going to be some discomfort," said Van Allen, who has completed 48 marathons. "But a lot of people make the mistake of running as fast as they can and they get hurt."

She suggests that even if the goal is to run, newbies should

walk and use the first four to six weeks to establish the habit.

"If you're just starting out, focus on rhythm, on finding the most convenient times and the safest routes, and deciding if you'd rather work out alone or with others," Van Allen said.

She added that the correct form for most people means eyes on the horizon, arms moving alongside, not crossing, the torso, shoulders and brows relaxed.

"Starting at the top of your head, periodically check in with your body to release areas of tension," she advised.   Continued...

 
The Washington Monument looms above blooming cherry blossoms and a jogger, out for an early morning run near the tidal basin in Washington, April 11, 2005. REUTERS/Gregg Newton