I started running (seriously) nine years ago. In every thing I have done and all the lessons I’ve learned, my first suggestion to you is invest in a quality pair of shoes!! The best move you can make is to find a running store to assist you in the purchase of the right shoes for your goals, your feet and your body type. Finish Line, Foot Locker, and the “chain” stores are NOT your best bet. Find a store that is dedicated to running (maybe tri’s) and have them analyze your gait and your feet. Then, hit the road. Soft surface, like a bike path (shale or dirt) or a cross country path will be easier on your joints, but the streets are okay. Please, please, PLEASE do not run on sidewalks. Concrete is NOT your friend and will ultimately cause joint damage. (But please do not put your life in jeopardy…always run safely!) If you’ve never run before, I’d recommend starting with a brisk walk. Gradually build in running. Perhaps 30 seconds to one minute for every 5 minutes of walking. As you improve and feel stronger, begin to switch the time intervals. Soon you’ll run five minutes and walk one minute.
As a runner with a pre-existing knee problem (before I ran) I STRONGLY encourage strength training to keep the muscles of the legs/knees strong. I have developed arthritis in my knee and although running does not cause problems with it, without strength training, it can become aggravated. Squats, lunges, leg extensions and curls, ad/abduction and all kinds of fun leg exercises are GREAT!!
Good luck and enjoy!!
As USA Track and Field Level 3 Endurance Coach(there are less two dozen in the entire country) and a USATF Level 1 School Instructor who has studied distance running for over 28 years I would say the answer is very simple. Running is a neuromuscular skill like swimming, serving a tennis ball, hitting a golf ball, throwing a ball, or high jumping, etc. While I certainly agree you should have good one leg strength and best be able to walk for a fairly long distance. As I have taught every athlete I have trained you must always work on your endurance, speed, strength. coordiation, and flexibility at all times. Starting out as a new runner you must start with drill work to teach your body the correct way to run and to run for very short distances working on correct form and stopping when you start losing your form, recover and run again. Soon you will be able to run well for a fairly long distance. I am sure many are thinking it just running I am pretty good and it came to me by just running. Then think about this after the disaster that was Sydney in 2000 for American distance runners, USATF High Performance which had been video taping athletes in every event area except the distance events since 1983, decide to video tape our best male distance runners at the 2003 USATF National Outdoor Track and Field Championships. They record the finals of all events 800m to 10,000m(10K). 60 athletes in total were rated on their biomechanics as poor, fair, average, good, or excellent. 36 were poor, 21 fair, and 3 were average. After this America’s top coaches as well as USATF High Performance focus on two things, improving running form and developing the ability to sprint. The ability to sprint is the foundation to good running form since the transition from distance running to sprinting should be smooth and effortless.
I am a certified ChiRunning Instructor and highly recommend looking into this. Visit www.ChiRunning.com for more information. It’s changed my life! I love running!
ChiRunning is not based on the biomechanics of distance running. In fact there is no front end mechanics in chi running, which is key to successful competitive running(running agaist theclock). A few years I met Danny at an expo and asked him about why there is no front end mechanics in his book. He responded with their are no front end mechanics in distance running. I then open a Running Times to page where a worldclas field was contesting a 10K race. I pointed to the beautiful front end mechanics of these runner. Danny reply that is not a distance race. I say it is a 10K race. He reply anything shorter than a marathon is not a distance race. I will give Danny credited for getting people off their heels and landing under their center of gravity, but there is so much more to running mechanics. I have been working on this for 28 years and still have so much to learn. As for Danny he spend way too little years studying biomechanics and way too many years selling books, certifications, and promonting himself.
Be sure to listen to your body! Don’t push yourself too hard from the start but build up to it slowly. Start with 1 mile or whatever you feel comfortable with mixing in running and walking and then just build up from there. Be sure to stretch and drink TONS of water! And running on sand or grass is much better on your joints 🙂 Signing up for a 5K or a 10K for a few months down the line is always a good motivator to keep on running as well!
Also, Map My Run is a really fun site if you want to start charting your routes or seeing your mileage!