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New Runners Should Take it Slow, Experts Recommend

Update Date: Apr 14, 2014 09:22 AM EDT
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With the weather warming up, more people are tying up their laces to go running outdoors. Even though running is good for one's health, experts are reminding novice runners to take it slow. In order to build up strength and avoid injuries, new runners should focus on setting their own pace and rhythm before taking their workout up a notch.

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

Van Allen, who is the author of "The Runner's World Big Book of Running for Beginners," recommends novice runners to start off walking for four to six weeks. Walking, which can also be a good form of exercise, will help set the habit of going out and exercising. After getting use to the habit, people should learn the proper runner's stance. Even though running might feel natural, people who do not run with the right stance could end up hurting themselves.

According to Van Allen, the correct form is to look out onto the horizon and move one's arms alongside the torso instead of moving them across the torso. The shoulders and brows should also be relaxed. Runners should also "periodically check in with your body to release areas of tension." The experts remind new runners that one of the hardest parts of setting up a routine is consistency.

"It's actually one of the hardest goals, and more immediately important than mileage and calories. People fall out of the habit, often afraid that it's too difficult or too hard on their body," David Silk, a running coach for Equinox in Los Angeles, CA, commented. "Run with the runner's tilt, making sure your weight is barely over your hips, never back on your hips, except during a decline. That slight tilt forward engages your back muscles."

Aside from starting off slow and perfecting the runner's stance, experts remind people that investing in a good pair of running shoes can make a huge difference. In addition, new runners should not be intimidated. Van Allen stated that if running is a goal, you can make it happen with patience, endurance and drive.

She added, "It's great to have dreams but in order to get there you have to start where you are."

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