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Beginners’ guide to running

13Plan to do a little bit of running after a long time to stay fit? Don’t compete with anyone else around you and start with abby steps, says an expert.Adidas running expert Rajat Chauhan suggests how to go about itDon’t try to rush back to being how active or fit you were at a particular stage in life. You’ll get there and beyond, but you first need to understand the current situation too. Also, don’t compete with anyone else around you. Start slow, make a solid foundation so that you don’t get hurt.You’ll notice that in running community everyone is too obsessed with numbers of all kinds. I suggest you don’t worry about distance and speed for the first few months. Simply focus on ‘time on feet’.Start by alternating gentle walking for one to five minutes with brisk walking for one to five minutes. Repeat three to six times. For the first week or two, stick to this.Once you get comfortable moving at brisk pace five to 10 minutes non-stop, then you can start jogging a little. Now start alternating one to five minute brisk walks with one to five minutes jogs. Repeat three to six times.You need to have strength training to get the best out of your running. It’ll help you run more efficiently. Strength training could be done at home or at gym, using body weight or machines.The more you resist, the more unnatural will it become and more mistakes you’ll make. Start by relaxing your shoulders and just by jogging in one spot. Have an imaginary papadum (papad) between your thumb and index finger of both hands. Since you aren’t supposed to break it, you need to hold it softly, in effect relaxing your shoulders and upper body.Whether walking or running, you need to start working on your breathing. Don’t take it for granted. Soon enough, when you start running, you’ll get out of breath and start taking very shallow ineffective breaths. Practice breathing when you start walking by taking a long breath in, hold for a second or two and then breathe out. This will then come very naturally when you are even running at very fast speed.The only thing that you should listen to while running is your footsteps. If you can hear them, you are too loud. Be soft on your feet.Initially your body will tell you to just stop because it’s not going to be comfortable. I suggest for first three to four weeks follow the above advice, but if there is pain that persists for a couple of days, seek medical help.For people who are just picking up running, I am not at all in favour of barefoot running. First learn how to run better and then do what you feel like but for now just pick up a decent running pair based on your needs. If you are a neutral runner, pick normal cushioned shoes, but if you are an over pronator, please pick stability shoes.Have a sip or two of water every 10 to 15 minutes, but no more. Best is to have electrolyte mix and not plain water. Never run straight after meal. Give a break of at least two hours. After a run, it’s important you have some proteins within 20 to 30 minutes.                                           – IANS