When you start to move (even if you are running one block at a time!) It becomes a habit - one that you not only learn to like, but may even start to crave.

There's no way around it: running is hard! The very thought of lacing and hitting the road can be intimidating and overwhelming, even if basic movement is something you've been doing almost your entire life.

But running is also exciting - according to a 2015 study published in the journal Neuropharmacology, it can cause the same kind of neurochemical adaptation in the brain's pleasure and reward centers as some addictive drugs (hence the "runner high"). This has big advantages: even less than 50 minutes a week (whether that is one run or four 10-minute runs) can reduce the risk of premature death from all causes by 27% (and by 30% and 23% in cardiovascular disease). diseases and all types of cancer), according to a recent study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. On the psychological side, running may be as effective in treating mild to moderate depression as antidepressants, according to a research review published in the journal Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice.

And there's more good news: to do it, just do it. If you're starting from scratch, run around the block or run straight for five minutes. On your next tour, try increasing it by 10 to 50 percent - to add another block or increase your run time by a few minutes. It won't be long before you start recording distances you once thought impossible.

Motivate with a race
Signing up for a race with at least four months remaining gives you a good goal to achieve and enough time to set up a fitness base, says Amanda Nurse, an elite runner and personal trainer based in Brookline, Massachusetts.

The most important thing any athlete needs in a competition is endurance to cover the distance, says Janet Hamilton, CSCS, a physiologist, trainer and owner of Running Strong from the Atlanta area. "Endurance is built over time in the form of easy training and gradually increasing total volume, which is total weekly miles and longest run."

5K is a great place to start. Figure about four months for training; there are plans that require a shorter training period, and these are fine if you can do every workout. But since life is unpredictable, it's not entirely realistic. "You should build in a few weeks in case your training doesn't go well or you get sick," says the nurse. "Give yourself the freedom to deal with anything that might get in the way of your training," says Hamilton.

When it comes to choosing a breed, find one that appeals to you, says the nurse. This could mean traveling to a city you love or choosing an event with tremendous support from viewers. "The more excited you are with the tour, the more motivated you will be to train before the race," he adds.

But there's nothing wrong with being close to home. "Choosing something local is always a good idea because then you fall asleep in your own bed, eat your own food, and eliminate some of the logistics involved in moving to a new location," says Hamilton.

No matter what, read the track descriptions and race reviews - if you can see words flat and fast, that's fine, while tons of hills or minimal help stations can be more difficult.

Find your method
Google's "Race Training Plan" and you'll get an alarming number of results. Forget about the plan for a moment and remember: "The goal is to act gradually and avoid strain injuries," says Dr. Steven E. Mayer, a sports medicine physician at Northwestern Medicine Running Medicine, a sports medicine clinic.

Before you choose an actual plan, you need to be realistic about where you are. "Absolute beginners who are not currently running at all should start with the walk / run method," says Hamilton. It's quite simple: you run for a short distance and then take a break for a walk; repeat. Increase your running time and decrease your walking time with each workout until you are continuously running.

If you can run a mile at a time, you're looking for a plan that is more geared towards running. Start one and a half or two miles straight; then you can slowly build up. If you're just starting to run, you shouldn't be following a schedule where you run more than every other day, says Dr. Mayer. This is where cross training comes in - "swimming, cycling or yoga are all activities that keep you in shape without impact," he says. Resistance training is also important in any plan, he adds: "The stronger the muscles in the torso and hip muscles, the better the results."

Do not stop
Consistency is key, but there are sometimes days when you prefer to do just about anything other than lacing your sneakers. Use our science-backed tricks to stay motivated.

Find a workout buddy. It's harder to crumble when someone else is counting on you. Research shows that exercising with someone increases the likelihood of more exercise and more effort. A study published in the journal Nature Communications found that even when you're not actually exercising with someone, your friends' posts about training on social media can inspire you to run further and longer.

Pump up the jams. According to a study published in the Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology from Brunel University London, music can increase endurance by 15 percent. And for high-intensity workouts, motivational music - ie anything above 120 beats per minute (bpm) - can actually increase your heart rate and power output, allowing you to work harder while making your workout more enjoyable. new study published in the journal Psychology of Sport and Exercise.

Smile. Running is not a punishment - you can run. You decide to pursue this runner's high. Behave the way you like! According to a 2018 study published in the journal Psychology of Sport and Exercise, runners who smiled consumed less oxygen, ran more economically, and showed lower levels of exertion than runners who frowned or thought about their expressions.

get ready
You don't need much on the go, but these essentials will keep you comfortable and confident.

Running socks. A good pair of socks greatly protects your feet and makes you feel better. Look for light, moisture-wicking steam, says Hamilton. They will keep your feet dry and prevent the build-up of moisture, causing blisters, chafing and hot spots.

Trainers. Don't just buy elite (or friends') clothes or the cheapest pair you can find. “Go to a good jogging store; let them look at your feet, ”says Dr. Mayer. They can rate your gait and recommend shoes. They may suggest more or less cushioning and a neutral or stabilizing shoe (the latter corrects excessive pronation or an inclination of the foot). Linguistics can be confusing, but just remember that the most important factor is how the shoes feel on your feet. Comfort is the key.

Sports bra. According to a study published in the British Medical Journal of Sports Medicine, thirty-two percent of women marathon runners reported discomfort that was significantly related to cup size. Make sure you choose the right bra size and choose a stylish cut to protect your girls.

True to Form
Surprise: running is not about getting in perfect shape. "The way you run is a function of how built you are, and it's mostly reflexive," says Hamilton. When you think about it, "you are likely to make it less efficient." And as you get stronger, your gait will evolve to be even more economical. Follow these tips from head to toe and get a better run.

Head. "Keep your eyesight five to ten feet in front of you," says Dr. Mayer. Your eyes direct your head, and looking too low or up can cause your shoulders to slouch or your back to arch, limiting productivity.

The arms. "The more relaxed the arms, the less tension and tension in the upper body," says Dr. Mayer. Stress and pressure waste energy.

Torso. You should be tall, advises Hamilton. Keep your chest proud and your spine straight. A fall (which happens when you are tired) can cause pain in your neck, shoulders, and lower back.

The arms. Allow your arms to swing naturally, but try not to let them pass in front of your body - too much rotation slows you down. "Pretend to hold potato chips between your thumb and first finger" to avoid tension, says Hamilton, and keep your thumbs up to relax your arms naturally.

Hips. Try to minimize excessive pelvic rotation. "Your hips should be as symmetrical as possible to provide a firm base on which your legs can work," says Dr. Mayer.

Cubes. "The most effective way to run is to lean forward slightly, which should come out of your ankles, not bend your hips," says Dr. Mayer. You should seem to fall in a controlled manner.

RELATED: Running can be good for your knees and hips, and marathons aren't necessary

Feet. "Think light, quick steps and keeping your legs under you," says Hamilton. Longer steps require additional vertical movement which wastes energy. Your foot should hit the ground directly under, or slightly in front of, your hips.

Common injuries and how to avoid them
Some aches and pains are normal as your body gets used to the repeated beats of running. Not sure what's going on? Make time to see a specialist. Here is the primer.

Most running injuries start small but will get worse if you push too hard. Dr. Mayer says that in beginners, injuries tend to hit from the hips down, and this is usually due to weakness somewhere higher in the body, which is made worse by the repetitive nature of running.

"The common thread is insufficient flexibility and insufficient strength," says Hamilton. Therefore, prioritizing mobility and resistance training is still important, even if your focus is on running miles.

Otherwise, "wearing the right running shoes, making sure you replace them every 300 to 500 miles, using different running surfaces, stretching, foam rolling, and having enough time to recover can help avoid most of these [problems]." says Dr. Mayer.

Runner's knee. Known as. patellofemoral pain syndrome, or pain around or behind the kneecap.

Tibial splints. Inflammation of the muscles, tendons, and bone tissue around the shin.

Plantar fasciitis. Pain in the heel or along the arch of the foot that may occur during the off-putting part of a step.

IT band team. Pain on the outside of the knee from inflammation and irritation caused by the iliotibial band rubbing back and forth against the bony protrusion at the base of the femur.

Piriformis syndrome. Compression of the sciatic nerve around the piriform muscle (located in the buttock near the top)

joint), which can happen when you contract or become too tight.

Achilles tendinitis. A dull or sharp pain, sometimes with stiffness, along the back of the tendon but usually near the heel.

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