Jogging is a popular exercise for a good reason- it’s great for the heart and lungs, for weight loss, and for allover conditioning. Here are a few tips to help you start (and stick to) a jogging routine while getting the most out of your workout.
GOOD JOGGING FORM
While professional joggers have a characteristic grace and smoothness to their stride, there is no one right way to jog. Keeping good form, however, will help you jog efficiently and cut down on foot and hip injuries.
- Keep an upright posture when you jog. Your back should be straight, and your eyes should look forward to the road ahead rather than down to your feet.
- Carry your arms at about waist level. Your elbows should be bent at a 90° angle so that your forearms are parallel to the ground. Swing your arms freely while you jog.
- Your fingers should be curled loosely instead of clenched into a tight fist, which would have the effect of tensing up all your muscles.
- Jogging on soft surfaces will help cut down on injuries. Golf courses or high school tracks are ideal. Whenever you jog off the pavement, make sure the surface is smooth and regular so that you don’t turn an ankle or trip and fall.
- Concentrate on landing on your heel and then rolling forward to push off with the ball of your foot and big toe.
- If you feel pain in your feet when jogging, consider having an experienced jogger evaluate your stride. You may be rolling your foot outward or inward as you jog. Checking how the treads on your shoes wear down can also reveal these problems.
You can use your arms to adjust the stride of your legs. When you pump your arms more, you get extra power for hills or for speed.
FINDING THE RIGHT SHOE
- Jogging shoes are light-weight and are designed with certain features in common. They have durable, deeply patterned outer soles, thick heel wedges to tilt the body forward, and shock -absorbent midsoles. The top of most jogging shoes will be made of a light, breathable material.
- Since jogging-or walking- will cause your feet to expand, jogging shoes should be more flexible than other shoes. Lace them snugly to prevent slippage. Women who have a hard time finding shoes that are wide enough might do better shopping for a man’s jogging shoe.
- When you are ready to buy, wear the socks or foot covering that you normally wear when jogging. Buy your shoes late in the day, when your feet are most swollen.
CARING FOR YOUR SHOES
- After a workout, take off your shoes, loosen the laces, pull back the tongues, and remove the insoles. This will allow more air to circulate and hasten drying.
- Stuff shoes with cedar shoe trees or bags of cedar shavings. A porous wood, cedar not only soaks up moisture but also absorbs the odor, salts, and acids from perspiration. Wads of newspaper will do if cedar is not available.
- Think about replacing your jogging shoes after 6 to 12 months of activewear, even if they don’t seem to be worn out. Loss of cushioning will occur long before the outsides of the shoes show significant wear and tear.
GOING THE DISTANCE
- Are you jogging too hard? A rule of thumb for judging effort is the “talk test.” You should be able to talk to a partner while you jog without gasping for air. If you can’t, slow your pace.
- If jogging three days a week isn’t enough of a workout, add a fourth day. Add the fifth day only if you are sure you aren’t overdoing it. People who jog six or seven days a week are taking a risk; the likelihood of injury outweighs the potential for improvement.
- Never increase the number of times you jog per week and the distance you jog at the same time.
- When you’re ready to jog faster, concentrate on lengthening the back of your stride: push off harder and lift your legs higher behind you.
- On a long jog, go slower than normal. It’s easier on your legs and will help your heart and lungs handle the extra effort.
- Drink water before, during, and after your jog, especially if it’s warm or humid out.
Add an occasional long jog to your schedule. This will force your cardiovascular system to work more efficiently and will give you a well-earned sense of accomplishment.
- Avoid jogging in extreme eat. If the weather is too warm, try cutting down on your mileage or jogging at dawn or dusk. Dress lightly and drink plenty of water.
- Midday is the best time for winter jogging: you can take full advantage of whatever warmth the sun provides.
- Wear a wool hat in cold weather, as you can lose a great amount of body heat through an uncovered head. Also, it’s better to wear three to five layers of lightweight clothing than a layer or two of heavy clothing.
- If possible, move against the wind on your way out and with the wind going home. This will cut down on the wind chill factor when you’re perspiring most.
Dress for the second mile of a jog. If you dress to be comfortable in the first few minutes of a workout, you’ll probably find yourself overheated the rest of the way.
EASY DOES IT: A RUNNING PLAN FOR BEGINNERS
Don’t expect to start off jogging for 30 minutes at full tilt. Begin with an easy rhythm, mixing jogging with walking. If you follow this plan, which takes no more than half an hour a day, two to four days a week, you will work up to a 30-minute jog in 12 weeks.
|Week No.||Run-Walk Schedule|
|1||Walk 20 minutes.|
|2||Walk 30 minutes.|
|3||Jog 2 minutes; walk 4 minutes. Complete the sequence 5 times|
|4||Jog 3 minutes; walk 3 minutes. Complete the sequence 5 times.|
|5||Jog 5 minutes; walk 2 1/2 minutes. Complete the sequence 4 times .|
|6||Jog 7 minutes; walk 3 minutes. Complete the sequence 3 times.|
|7||Jog 8 minutes; walk 2 minutes. Complete the sequence 3 times.|
|8||Jog 9 minutes; walk 2 minutes. Complete the sequence twice, then jog 8 |
|9||Jog 9 minutes; walk 1 minute. Complete the sequence 3 times.|
|10||Jog 13 minutes; walk 2 minutes. Complete the sequence twice.|
|11||Jog 14 minutes; walk 1 minute. Complete the sequence twice.|
|12||Jog 30 minutes.|