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Starting a Running Program, by Jordan Rubin

Behind the inquisitive stares and shaking heads, I can tell the bystanders are really just curious about the allure of running. Why would someone wake up at the crack of dawn to race several miles? Why would they train outside on a windy, rainy day when the couch and a movie are certainly more appealing? Alas, I have gone into long diatribes detailing what a “runners high” feels like. I’ve even tried to explain the feeling of peace and tranquility as I take a jaunt through nature, putting all of the days frustrations behind me. But, my words cannot do justice to the sport I love. Like a good friend, running has helped me through some tough times. A bad test grade in college? No problem, 7 miles of trail running will definitely help. Coping with the death of a loved one? Just being alone and pondering life as I log a few miles along city streets, watching people go about their days, watching them hustle along, watching them live. Bad day at work? I’ll take it out on the treadmill.

The benefits of running extend beyond a healthy body. Exercise is also beneficial for one’s mental health. Personally, I’ve found it can help me clear through the noise and distraction giving me time to prioritize things in my head while getting away from the demands of my day.

So how do you start? Follow these steps to get started:

Determine whether or not you can run. Do you have any medical conditions that should be considered prior to engaging in this activity? Buy good running shoes and use them only for running. It is important to wear the proper shoes to prevent injuries and also make your runs even more enjoyable. If possible and convenient, join a running group that contains a variety of levels. You will learn from the veterans and find partners in the novices.

Wear comfortable clothing and natural sunscreen Stretch before and especially after, running. When doing so beforehand, always walk or jog a few minutes to warm-up prior to stretching. Stretch to the point where you feel it and hold for 30 seconds without bouncing.

A few good stretches to try:

Calves: Stand a few feet from a wall, facing it. One foot should be approximately 12-18 inches behind the other with the front leg bent and back leg straight (1). Lean into the wall. Hold for 30 seconds, switch legs and repeat. Do two sets per leg. Try this stretch again (2) and bend your front leg at your knee (targets a different calf muscle).

Hamstrings Lie on your back and lift one leg up keeping it straight and pulling it toward you while the leg other remains on the ground. Hold for 30 seconds, switch legs and repeat. Do two sets per leg.

Quadriceps Stand upright and hold onto a chair for balance. Lift one foot behind you and grasp it with your hand, pull the foot toward your body until you feel the stretch in your thighs. Hold for 30 seconds, switch legs and repeat. Do two sets per leg

Buttocks Lie on the ground with legs straight in front of you. Pull one knee up toward your chest at an angle and hold for 30 seconds. Switch legs and repeat. Do two sets per leg.

Now that you are stretched and ready to go, where do you start? It’s a good idea to start on a flat, softer surface (a track is great) and jog a few minutes, walk a few minutes and jog a few more minutes. Though there isn’t any set program for every individual who is starting out, it may help if you follow one outlined in The Beginning Runner’s Handbook or a similar book. However, you can just as easily create your own. If you have a track you can set goals by distance but setting them by time works just as well. For instance, you might start by jogging/walking 1 mile every other day for the first few weeks. By week 3, you can move up to 1.5 miles on a few of your running days.

Now that it is spring time you will smell fresh cut grass, hear the birds singing and see kids playing. Keep in mind that you should always run at your own pace – don’t feel as if you have to keep up with anyone else or complete the distance they may be running that particular day. Set your own pace and distance and enjoy!

Common Makers Diet Jordan Rubin misspellings are Jordan Ruben, Jordan Reuben, Jordon Rubin, Jordon Ruben, or Jordon Reuben