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As the weather gets warmer, it seems like more and more runners start hitting the pavement. It can be motivating seeing others hit their stride, so to speak. If you’ve never run before, you might want to slow down and make a plan before lacing up your shoes. Aaron Hewitt, PA-C, offered advice on how beginner runners can make the most of their workout.

Assess your current fitness level

Make sure you are in good enough shape to be running. After all, running is a high impact sport and can put a lot of stress on your joints. Set realistic goals for yourself. If you’re not at an ideal body weight, consider biking, swimming or more lower-impact exercises to improve your physical ability before taking up running.

Get a good pair of running shoes

Even if you love your current sneakers, they may not offer the best support. Function means a lot more than fashion in this case. Don’t buy cross-training shoes, but buy shoes specifically designed for running. Many local running shops will watch your running form, look at your arches and offer you shoe suggestions based on these factors. You need to ensure these shoes are comfortable and be willing to invest in them.

Set a goal for yourself

Now that you’re ready to start running, it can be helpful to set an objective for yourself and develop a training plan based on that. A 5K is a great distance to train for.

Follow a training schedule

Here’s how to work up to it:

  1. If you’ve never run before, start by walking 60 minutes 3 times a week or 30 minutes 5 times a week.
  2. Once you feel comfortable walking, you’re ready to start running. To get to a 5K distance, it is recommended to train 6 weeks in advance.

For each week, perform each workout 3 times a week.

  • Week 1: Run for 3 minutes; walk for 1 until you hit 1 mile.
  • Week 2: Run for 3 minutes; walk for 1 until you hit 1.5 miles.
  • Week 3: Run for 4 minutes; walk for 1 until you hit 2 miles
  • Week 4: Run for 5 minutes; walk for 1 until you hit 2.5 miles
  • Week 5: Run for 6 minutes; walk for 1 until you hit 3 miles
  • Week 6: Run for 7 minutes; walk for 1 until you hit 3 miles

Running should be fun!

While running definitely requires a lot of training, it should not be something that you dread doing. If you don’t enjoy running, it will be harder to stay committed to a plan. Download a new playlist or find a friend to run with, and enjoy the scenery of the Carolinas.

By following these tips, you’ll be able to start running in a safe and effective way. Once you feel comfortable with longer distances, consider signing up for the OrthoCarolina Classic, which offers a 5K. Happy running!

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