Running is one of the more accessible exercise activities available to athletes - all you really need is a good pair of shoes and a place to run; no fancy equipment or special skills. A word of caution however - it takes time to build up the endurance to run for even a short period of time, even if you've been walking, cycling or doing other activities in the past. Keep in mind that “it is wiser to prepare than to repair," so before you open the door and take off, visit your doctor, get the okay to start a running program and start working on your flexibility - particularly your lower back, hamstrings and calf muscles.
For most exercising adults, slower and longer is both safer and more productive than running hard (like you remember) and getting it done in 8 minutes. Use the “I can still talk while doing this” rule of thumb to gauge your intensity.
Don’t save money on your shoes. The soles of your feet only make up 2-4% of your skin surface, but the other 96% is resting (and counting on) the soles of your feet, so make them comfortable. Read 13 Tips for Selecting the Best Fitting Running Shoe >>
Running for exercise can be done when convenient to your schedule or your body’s schedule. Some people are morning exercisers and simply cannot get it done in the evening. There is no right or wrong time and each time slot has advantages. Just make certain to make the time, or you may never find the time. (Learn more about finding the right time to exercise.) There is bound to be some discomfort and occasional injuries associated with physical activity. Take care of them when they are small to reduce how long they last. Anything that hurts or persists should be seen by a medical professional.
To care for aches and discomforts, shop at http://www.esportshealth.com/running.
Phil Hossler, ATC has been an athletic trainer on the scholastic, collegiate and Olympic levels. He has authored 4 books and numerous articles and served as an officer in state and regional athletic training associations for 20 years. He is a member of four halls of fame including the National Athletic Trainers’ Association’s.