Running: Knowing the Basics Goes a Long Way

IMAGE People of almost any age can run for exercise. It can be done almost anywhere at minimal cost, and you do not have to be an athletic superstar to participate. Nevertheless, there are some basic guidelines you should know to help keep your running program productive, safe, and injury-free.

Running Shoes

Your running shoes do not have to be the fanciest or most expensive. But they should fit properly and comfortably, be well cushioned, and give your feet proper support. If you run on trails, you will want to buy shoes for trail running to grip the terrain and protect your feet. Find a local running store that does gait analysis to help you select your shoes. You will be asked to try on different running shoes. The sales person will watch how you run in different shoes to determine which ones will provide the best support for your running style. Expect to replace your shoes every 3-6 months or 350-500 miles (563-805 kilometers). By that point, the shock absorbing ability of the shoe will have lessened. If your legs begin to get sore, they may be a sign it is time to replace your sneakers.


Though often overlooked, safety concerns should be a part of your running routine on the road or on the trails. All runners should follow these basic safety rules:
  • Run in familiar neighborhoods or trails close to your home. If you are away from home, plan your run ahead of time to choose a route that is safe and has support services along the way.
  • Do not run in dark, secluded areas, especially at night.
  • Avoid busy, highly trafficked streets. You should also avoid rural roads that may have fast drivers or lots of curves and hills.
  • Run on the shoulder of the road facing traffic. This will make you more visible to drivers.
  • Take responsibility for staying clear of motor vehicles, pedestrians, and bicyclists. Obey traffic signals and other pedestrian safety rules.
  • Never assume a driver can see you.
  • If you do run at dawn, dusk, or at night, wear bright clothing, including at least a piece of clothing with specially designed reflectors.
  • Avoid wearing headphones while running, as they decrease your awareness of surroundings.
  • Consider carrying a mobile phone in the event of an emergency.
  • Wear insect repellent if you are running on trails, especially in areas that increase your exposure to ticks and mosquitoes.
  • Wear sunblock and UV-protective sunglasses when running during the day to protect against skin and eye damage.

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