10 Questions About Running


1. Will running ruin my knees?

It's true that running can lead to injuries in the knees and elsewhere. But most running-related injuries have distinct causes, primarily trying to do too much, too soon. As long as you run sensibly, you can expect to run for the rest of your life with your knees and the rest of your body not just intact, but healthy and strong.

2. Is there such a thing as a "runner's high?"

Running, like other forms of exercise, eases stress, and running for about 30 minutes or more triggers the release of endorphins, natural pain-suppressing chemicals that result in a euphoric feeling, which some people call a runner's high.

3. Can I lose my love handles and other weight by running?

In order to lose weight, you have to burn more calories than you consume. Exercising increases your calorie burn and changing your eating habits can reduce the number of calories you take in. Because it works your heart and lungs harder, running burns more calories than other forms of exercise, which means you can burn more calories running in less time. So running should help you increase your weight loss.

4. I've heard conflicting advice about whether you should wear headphones while you run. What's the story?

Wearing headphones makes you less aware of your surroundings and therefore more vulnerable to a car, cyclist or attacker. If you want to wear headphones on the treadmill or in the gym, that's fine, but leave them at home when you run outside.

5. I've just started running, and I want to do marathon. How do I train?

Many new runners take up the sport with the idea of finishing a marathon, but it takes a long time to train for one and complete it without being injured. Most marathon training programs advise that you have been running at least 20 miles a week for a year before starting to train. If weather is bad while you are training, you can always run on a treadmill or try some other forms of cardio exercises. Concentrate on that for now, and in a few months think about entering some 5K and 10K races. The marathon will always be there when you're ready.

6. Will running make my breasts sag?

Four things may cause your breasts to sag: pregnancy, your breast size, your weight and your genes. Running alone won't do it, but having the right sports bra is always a good idea for keeping discomfort during exercise to a minimum.

7. Everyone says running isn't expensive, but those shoes aren't cheap. How much does it really cost to get started running?

A good pair of running shoes should last for a while and cost $75 to $100. Even if you went all out and bought a bunch of beginner running gear like shoes, a fancy watch ($40) and high-tech running outfits for summer (about $50) and winter (maybe $80)-none of which you absolutely need-you still wouldn't be out more than $300. Compare that to the cost of a new bicycle or a health-club membership, and running starts to look like a pretty good deal as far as your wallet is concerned.

8. Will I stop getting my period if I run?

Amenorrhea, or a lack of menstruation, is thought to be the result of changes in diet as well as strenuous exercise. Many women run more than 100 miles a week and still get their periods. As a beginner, you won't be running anywhere near 100 miles a week, but if someday you stop getting your period, see your doctor, as it can lead to weakened bones and infertility.

9. Where can I find other people to run with?

The next time you visit the running store or go to a race, look for information on local running clubs. Or you might try posting an ad on the bulletin board at your gym.

10. How do I get started?

It is easy to start a running program. Just go! Don't even worry about shoes the first couple of times out. If you enjoy the experience and want to do it regularly, go to a running store for shoes and start slow and easy.