Given all the different advice out there about how to start running and how to most effectively train for fitness, it s hard to know which way is best. However, in an article for The New York Times, Gina Kolata writes that the best advice is probably to just listen to your own body.
Although runners stress about running with correct form, and whether to purchase fancy running shoes, the body tends naturally to run in the way that is most beneficial for a particular person. Trying to change your running form to fit some prescribed method could actually be harmful and make you more prone to injury.
As for strictly following a certain schedule for running, this also depends a great deal on the individual and their specific goals and fitness level. Beyond starting slowly and increasing the level of difficulty gradually, there is no perfect program. In fact, holding unreasonable expectations about sticking to a specific running program could be one of the main reasons that about half of the people who start a running program end up quitting. The best advice for runners, then, may be just to do what feels best.
As a runner myself, I have used the same stretching and warm-up process for three decades. Yet I still reliably come up lame with a muscle pull or tear once every season or, if I m lucky, every two years, admits ACSH s Dr. Gilbert Ross. So I m out of action for a few weeks, then back at it. I m not going to change my routine to suit some runners guide.