This year is quickly coming to a close. As the new year approaches many of us are beginning to regret the extra holiday pounds that we have added to our waistlines. This may be why “getting in shape” is one of the most common New Year resolutions. If you are one of the millions of Americans looking to be more active in the new year, you may want to consider taking up running or jogging. Running is a very easy form of cardio that has many health benefits. You don’t need fancy equipment or a gym membership. However, if you aren’t a seasoned runner it may be easy to get hurt or injured while running. These tips will teach you how to safely run outdoors this new year.
Plan Your Route
The first tip for new runners is to plan your routes. There are apps or websites, like mapmyrun.com, that make it easy to plan out a route before you start your run. To help you safely run outdoors plan a route that takes you through well lit and populated areas. Planning a route will also help you avoid unnecessary surprises like big hills at the end of your run. Having a plan in place will also help to keep you motivated to finish strong. Consider bringing along a running buddy or even your dog. If you prefer to run alone, let your friends and family know your route. This will help them to know where to look for you if safety problems or injuries should arise.
Bring Necessary Gear
When you start running it may be easy to get caught up in all the fun accessories of running. While it may be fun to bring fancy headphones and music to listen to while you run, those aren’t the accessories that will help you safely run outdoors. It is important to bring water (especially if you are new to running), a form of ID, and your cell phone. For basic self defense you may want to consider bringing along runners mace or pepper spray. There are many different runners belts or fanny packs available to hold these necessary accessories.
Wear Appropriate Clothing
It is very important to wear the right kind of clothing if you want to safely run outdoors. Try and wear brightly colored clothing to make it easier for cyclist and cars to see you coming. It is also helpful to wear reflective clothing. This will help others see you running if it is dark outside. Check the weather forecast before you leave to help you dress appropriately. Don’t let the cold weather scare you away from exercising! If it will be chilly don’t be afraid to add extra layers.You don’t want your muscles to get cold and cramp. Cold muscles could lead to injuries. Likewise, if you are running in the heat of the day you should wear lightweight clothing that can protect you from over exposure to the sun. It is important to pick clothing and shoes that you are comfortable in and that won’t restrict your movements.
Set a Safe Pace
The final tip for new runners is to set a safe pace to run. Although you may be feeling extra motivated to go run fast right out of the gate, that is a sure fire way for you to get hurt. Start with a slow and steady pace. Instead of focusing on running fast, focus on running with proper form. This will help you avoid unnecessary injuries and keep you safely running outdoors all year long. Don’t be afraid to stop and walk or stretch out in the middle of a run. Carefully listen to the cues your body gives you and don’t push yourself too hard in the beginning.
Running can be a fun and rewarding new years resolution. Not only does running help keep your body healthy, but it can do wonders to calm and relax your mind as well. So if you have decided to pick up running in the new year, we hope you implement a few of these tricks to help you safely run outdoors all year long.