Are you just getting started with running as a form of exercise, or to produce a specific health benefit? If so, good for you. Running is an exercise that just about everyone can perform, and it produces better health in a number of ways. You can run at your own speed, and don’t have to compare yourself to others. Beginning runners can benefit from fewer injuries, better performance and a better overall experience when they remember the following tips.

☐ Remember the runner’s rule, “Cotton Is Rotten.” This means no cotton socks or clothes. Stick with “technical fabrics” instead, including nylon, Lycra and polyester.

☐ Practice the “Cinderella rule” when dressing up for a run. Everything should feel “just right”, not too tight, not too loose.

☐ When running outside, imagine it is 15 to 20 degrees hotter than it actually is. This will keep you from overdressing.

☐ If you are just starting out, don’t “beat yourself up” mentally about your performance. Continue to run regularly, and you will run longer and faster eventually.

☐ Trade in your shoes every 500 miles. Around mile 400 or 450, purchase a new set of shoes and start breaking them in.

☐ Don’t forget the sunscreen. This includes not just lotions to protect against the damage of the sun’s rays, but possibly a hat, sunglasses and long sleeves and pants.

☐ Stay hydrated. If you run in an organized race, hydration will probably be provided. This is not the case when you are training, so get a good water bottle.

☐ Purchase your running shoes in the evening. Your feet swell throughout the day, and are larger in the evening than in the morning. Purchasing running shoes in this way means your shoes will not become too tight when you run, which prevents injuries.

☐ Before a half marathon, marathon or a longer distance run, taper down your distance and frequency. With 21 days to go before race day, gradually run less, for better performance and fewer injuries.

☐ As you run more and more you are going to need more calories and carbohydrates in your diet.

☐ Running a a 5K or 10K race doesn’t necessarily require a lot of hydration, or any eating, during the race.

☐ When running a half marathon or marathon, hydrate first around the 5K mark, and eat something after you have been running for approximately 45 minutes.

☐ Warm up before running by stretching, and cool down after by walking for 10 to 15 minutes.

☐ An ice bath once you return home after a long run is a good way to help your body, and your muscles, cool down and return to normal.

☐ If at all possible, get your race packet before the day of the event.