Quick guide to running for beginners

SEOUL - When major sports brands opened registration for their marathon events earlier this month, some saw their websites crash as thousands of people tried to register online at once.

New Balance increased the number of participants for its 2012 New Race, scheduled for June 10, from 5,000 last year to 15,000 this year in response to the growing popularity of marathons in the country.

When this week's nike Women's 7K Race opened registration last month, its 7,000 places were quickly filled, closing registration in just seven minutes.

What has attracted people to running?

"For me, running is to maintain a slim body. The latest fitness trend is getting slim and I think running is the easiest way to achieve that," said David Kim, a fitness trainer who frequently runs.

Kim Song-hee, a senior at Chung Ang University, said what she keeps her running is the energy and vigor she feels during the run as well as in everyday life.

"I started running just a year ago. It was my first run since high school gym class. I began to lose weight and felt lighter as I ran. And it was really fun to achieve a certain goal in running. I also staved off my stress," said Kim.

"Running gives me more energy and vitality in my daily life and makes me think positive."

Whether it is to lose weight, get rid of stress or achieve personal goals, running is good for a healthy attitude and lifestyle.

It does not require special skills or much gear. All you need is a pair of running shoes and a little bit of determination.

For those who are still hesitant to get started, here are some tips for new runners from Seo Jong-un, a professional marathoner of South Gyeongsang Provincial Government's marathon team and running coach.

Start with walking

Start with walking

Before you run, you need to know what your body is capable of. If you are a regular gym-goer, you can start with jogging as you have already built up some muscle. But if you haven't done any exercise for a while, you need to get your body ready for the workout.

Try walking for 10 minutes and running for five minutes, and slowly increase the running time. If you can run for 20 to 30 minutes, then try speeding up and increasing the distance.

This basic training will prepare you to run a 5K or 10K race in the future.

Efficient running posture

Poor running posture consumes more energy than needed, which will make you feel exhausted quicker. The right running posture means greater energy efficiency.

Keep your chin forward and look straight ahead and keep your back and shoulders straight (you can lower your back a little if it is uncomfortable).

Try not to tense up in your shoulders or move up and down while running.

Hold your arms bent at the midsection at about 90 to 100 degrees.

Start on your heels and finish simultaneously on the middle part of your foot and your toes.

If you are a woman and do not want to develop big muscles in your calves, avoid running on the tips of your toes.

It is important to develop your own running style based on the basic running posture because the most textbook-perfect styles may not produce the performance you expect.

If there's a mirror in front of the treadmills at your gym, you can correct yourself while running.

Breathing

Breathing

One of the most difficult things for new runners to master may be breathing.

You may reach a point where your lungs run out of air. Breathing through your nose and mouth simultaneously will help you pull in more air.

It will enable you to take in more oxygen and breathe out more carbon dioxide.

However, if you try to control your breathing during running too strictly, you will soon lose control and end up losing control over the whole race. It is important to breathe comfortably.

Where to train: tracks or trails

Most races are often held on asphalt roads. But experts don't recommend training on the hard asphalt or concrete roads as it can put a lot of stress on your joints, especially if you are overweight.

Professional marathoners train on race tracks and unpaved trails, running on asphalt and concrete roads only during a race.

Train on trails or soft tracks along the Han River or local streams. Cross country running at this time of the year can be a pleasant experience with the mild weather and pleasant surroundings.

Running on sand will help you develop muscle strength as your body tries to maintain posture on the unstable terrain.

Running partner: friend, music or running gadgets

Running alone can quickly bore new runners. It can soon take away the pleasure of running.

Runners often choose music over running partners. But experts say music may make you lose your pace because of the different beat of each song.

At the beginner level, it is better to have running partners than going solo.

Once you get acquainted with the fun part of running, you will not lose that sense of fun even when you run alone.

You can also measure the distance you run with gadgets like the nike Plus sensor or Adidas miCoach.

You can also follow a coaching program the gadget offers to help runners achieve goals for 5K, 10K, half or full marathons.

Upcoming Singapore running events

Feel inspired?

Then why not join a race event or two to get the momentum running. Here is a list of upcoming running events you can start training for:

Upcoming race events

Singtel Race Against Cancer Run

Race Details

Date: July 22, 2012
Venue: Angsana Green, East Coast Park
Distance: 5km to 15km
Race Start Time: 7am
Cost: S$20 to S$52

Register at: http://raceagainstcancer.org.sg

Mizuno PAssion Wave Run 2012

Race Details

Date: September 30, 2012
Venue: Open space between Bukit Merah View Blk 121 & 123
Distance: 16km
Race Start Time: 7.30am
Cost: S$55

Register at: http://www.mizuno.com.sg

adidas King of the Road

Race Details

Date: Oct 28, 2012
Venue: To be announced at a later date
Distance: 16.8km
Race Start Time: To be announced at a later date 
Cost: S$45 to $50

Register at: http://www.marathonsingapore.com

Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore 2012

Race Details

Date: Dec 2, 2012 
Venue: Orchard Road / Sentosa / Esplanade Drive 
Distance: 10km to 42.195km 
Race Start Time: To be announced at a later date 
Cost: S$40 to $80

Register at: http://www.marathonsingapore.com

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