Dr. Aaron Monseau

Running is great for your health, but it can be hard on your body. WVU Medicine sports medicine physician A.J. Monseau, MD, offers these tips to help you get started. Dr. Monseau is the medical director of the Morgantown Marathon, which is being presented by WVU Medicine. He’s also the team physician for USA Wrestling at the 2016 Olympic Games.

Find the right shoes. Get a fitting from an experienced associate at a sports gear or running store. Be prepared to invest in a quality pair of running shoes. Don’t get too many miles or months on them.

Make a plan. Connect with a local running club or coach, or locate a beginner’s running program online to find a plan that suits you. One effective way to begin is to run for one minute, then walk for five minutes. Repeat five times for an effective 30-minute workout.

Stretch. While there is no evidence that stretching reduces injuries, warming up your leg muscles can help with flexibility.

Recruit a buddy. We all have times when we don’t feel like exercising, but if you have buddies who are counting on you, it can help keep you motivated.

Build up to it. Aim for distance rather than speed. Strive to increase your distance by 10 percent every other week. Be patient. You’ll get there.

Mix it up. Supplement your running with strength and cross training. This will build muscle strength and keep you injury-free.

Drink when you’re thirsty. People sometimes drink too much water during long-distance runs, which can be harmful. Only drink when you are thirsty.

Take a walking break. Slowing down can actually build strength and endurance to benefit your running.

Don’t ignore injuries. Rest is an important part of training, too. If you’re starting to feel twinges of pain, taking a few days off is the best thing to do.

Chart your progress. Keep a running log or use an app to record your development over time.

Visit morgantownmarathon.com to learn about the Morgantown Marathon races, which are set for September 17-18. The event will feature a full and half marathon, as well as an 8K. A family fun run is scheduled for September 15.

Make an appointment: 855-WVU-CARE