Before attempting any physical regimen make sure you get checked out by a doctor.
Also observe safety rules in your area when running.
Wear appropriate safety gear, don't run with headphones and watch out for traffic/predators.
Stretch before and after running. In cold weather do some warm up exercises first, then stretch.
Cool down is just as important too. Walk a quarter mile or so after a hard run. Let your heart rate go down gradually.
Step 1: You will need:
Reflective gear (required when running during dusk/after dark, recommended for daytime use)
Appropriate running clothing (again more about this later)
A schedule set aside to run.
Step 2: Buying Shoes
One of the most important pieces of equipment is the running shoes. How fast do you think you can run with cowboy boots? Flip flops?
Before buying running shoes find out what kind you need.
Basic guideline. After you take a shower step onto a brown paper bag.
Normal arch will need a stability shoe.
Flat feet need a motion controlled shoe
High arched feet will need a neutral cushioned shoe.
Most of your famous running shoe companies have websites that go into more detail on purchasing one of their shoes that are right for you. Make a list and go to the shoe store and pick them up, touch them and try them on.
The difference in brand/style is cost, but try to find a light weight shoe that meets your needs.
Its recommended that you change your shoes around every 500 miles. That's about 6 months of frequent running. So remember that when you decide to drop a few bills on shoes endorsed by professional athletes.
With the wrong shoe you could end up with shin splints, stress fractures, back problems, foot problems and a not so fun running experience.
Step 3: Running Clothing
As cool as jeans are, tight blue jeans do not make the best outfit to run in.
I wear spandex compression shorts underneath regular running shorts. And regular cotton t shirt.
Ladies would benefit from a good sports bra.
Basically for boys and girls: the object is to limit things from bouncing about when you run. If you cant keep the poodles in the yard when you run then its not going to be comfortable to you. (Also studies show it can actually make them sag more)
Also spandex shorts keeps your sensitive items from being exposed to other people when warming up. You don't want to be stretching and someone accuses you of stealing hamsters from the pet store.
And do everyone the favor and wear regular shorts over spandex. No one wants to see what your working with.
Step 4: Technique is not important.
Keeping your toes pointed inward/outward /parallel with the marching surface, it doesn't matter. When you get too focused on the mechanics of running then you actually start slowing down and you could add stress to your feet and legs by running in a form that is not natural to your body.
When you start getting tired, increase your stride. Never, never slow down and start walking. Even a light jog is faster than walking. Jog until your heart rate/breath stabilizes and drive on.
Step 5: Rythmn/Breathing
Natural rhythm and breathing is important when you run. I try to breath every other time my left foot hit's the ground.
Ever wonder why the military calls cadence when they run. Its to regulate breathing/step. Also it takes your mind off of running so miles fly by. (and its fun to yell profanities when you run)
Step 6: Now we improve on speed.
To get a rough estimate of how much you improve grab yourself a timer and run on a measured course. A good distance is 2 miles. Record this number. You can use your car to measure the course if its on a street. But make sure you run the same course each time you test yourself.
Grab a calendar and make a plan.
A good plan is running every other day. The other two days you could do cardio or lift weights. The goal is to smoke yourself every day, go ahead and wear yourself out. Also running with a buddy is good too.
If you have a friend that runs a couple minutes faster then train with them.
If you own a dog even a small dog, and they are leash trained you can benefit from running with your dog. Your dog has 2 more legs than you so he will be faster so try to keep up. And your dog can benefit from the exercise as well. They make road guard vests for dogs also.
A simple idea is as follows:
Mondays: Jog for 20 minutes
Tuesdays: Cardio/weight lift (about 1 hour)
Wednesdays: Sprint 60 seconds followed by 120 seconds of speed walking. Repeat 6 sets or so.
Thursdays: Cardio/weight lift (about 1 hour)
Fridays: Run 2 miles.
If you're a bit chunky then substitute a day of running for a day of walking 1 hour each week.
Each week you can increase the intensity a bit. Also vary your course. If you are used to running on a track. Run on a sidewalk.
If you are used to running on flat surface, run up the stairs or up hills.
Bleachers at a sport park are a good place to run up/down. Make sure they are good and stable first.
Step 7: Some things to avoid.
Adding WeightsTo increase endurance/speed some people attach weights to their bodies with the theory that added mass= added work for body= added gain.
The downside is that your body is only designed for so much before it wears out. The current trend in fitness is to loose weight, not getting fat. Running is stressful on the body, tacking 30 lbs onto joints, bones and the heart can be too much.
A better idea is to run up hills or run stairs. The incline will work different muscles without putting too much stress on bones and joints.
Dehydration:That aint good for anybody. Drink plenty of water at night before running the next day. Its better to run in the morning or evening when its cooler but its still good idea to drink plenty of water before exercises and afterward.
If you have to drink alcohol, drink beer. Its better than distilled alcohol.
Beer is mostly water, a mixed drink is mostly sugar.
But still drink some Gatorade or regular water as well.
The more you work out and the more your body becomes accustomed to the heat the more you sweat. So drink water to replace those lost fluids. It's a lot easier to drink water than it is for someone to find a vein and push a liter of fluids into you while your passed out.
Its recommended to drink a quart of water an hour before physical activity.
Running with music.Running outdoors with music is very bad. Someone could sneak up behind you and assault you or you could get hit by a car. Plus its illegal in some areas. Remember to keep your eyes and ears open.
If you want to enjoy some music, head over to a gym and grab a treadmill or run on an indoor track.
Ipods make great gifts for thieves. Leave it at home.
Shaving:Shaving your legs/head/various body areas will probably not increase your run time. And you will look like a freak in the locker room at the gym. People will look, and they will talk.
Plus hair does grow back. Remember when your sitting in class or the office and your itching badly.
Supplements:Avoid the get rich quick schemes. If you cant pronounce it, you probably don't need it.
gamma-Hydroxybutyric acid Not Okay
Atropine/epinephrine Not Okay.
Testosterone/ human growth hormones Not Okay.
Step 8: In Conclusion
Law of Diminishing returns:The good news is that if you never ran a mile or more before then you can easily improve your run time by 2-4 minutes per mile.
If you normally run 6 minute miles, it will be very hard for you to get down to 5:30 min or even 5 minute miles.
Here are my stats:
Male: 22-26 yrs old
Run time 2 miles = 17:00 (Aug 07) (sloppy ball of clay)
Run time 2 miles = 14:42(Sep 07)
Run time 2 miles = 15:58 (Nov 07) (Diet was cigarettes, beer and fatty cakes)
Run time 2 miles = 15:00 (Apr 08)
Run time 2 miles = 14:38 (Aug 08)
Run time 2 miles = 13:48 (Oct 08) (chiseled in stone)
Not the best but decent.
Remember: Drink water. Stretch before and after exercising. Drink water. Wear appropriate gear. Drink water. Be safe. Drink water. Have fun.
ExtraCool website on nutrition planning if your trying to loose weight or gain mass. You can enter the food you eat/ exercise and it calculates caloric intake and how many calories you burn/need. Plus its free.