1. Start slowly-A marathon begins with the first step, but you don’t need to go out and run it all at once. If you have never run before, it will take some time to adapt to the jostle and pounding of the pavement. A walk-run program is a great way to begin. There are many out there and the couch-to-5k is one of the most popular and successful.
2. Begin a strengthening program to supplement the running-Five great exercises to try that simulate a bit of the one-legged stance in running include: single leg squat, lunges, step-ups, kick- backs and calf raises.
3. Get a good running shoe-If you haven’t run before, go to your local running store and get a gait analysis so they can determine your running style and shoe need. And as cool as the new barefoot running shoes are, this probably isn’t the time to try them out. You can work on form and then ease into lesser supportive shoes as your body becomes stronger if you wish. Your muscles will thank you.
4. Change up the pace-Try cross training or alternating a run every other day to let your body recover. The body will only get stronger if you give it some rest. Cross training will help you use muscles in the different planes of motion to prevent using one group of muscles to much. It’s best to take at least one day off a week. This will significantly reduce your chances of injury.
5. Stretch after you run- This will help you tune into your body and see where you are tight. Check to see if one side feels more flexible than the other. Work on balancing the sides to decrease the stress placed on any one side or area.