Recreational running to boost one’s fitness and health while remaining injury-free is both a sport and a discipline. You don’t just grab a pair of sneakers and speed down the road like you’re doing a 100 meter dash. There’s more to running than an eagerness to sweat.

That’s why running is a discipline, which is defined as a system of rules governing conduct or activity. There’s a recommended way to run, a recommended way to breathe and recommended gear. Put all these together and running becomes a healthful discipline you’ll look forward to doing.

Running improperly, especially for long distances, can do some serious damage to your body. That means you won’t get the benefits you’d expect from expending all that time and effort.

First off, you have to decide that you really want to run. Running can be painful and injuries are fairly common. Whatever reason you have for running, you have to commit yourself to this discipline. It would be great if you ran for the love of running.

This means the motivation to don your running shoes and slip into your dri-fit shirt and running shorts will almost always be there. But if want to shed pounds, running is a tough and painful way to get this job done.

It’s wise to remember your diet will be responsible for 80 to 90 percent of your weight loss. If you can find a way to start eating healthy and reduce your calorie intake, then go for it. You can dispense with running. Just focus on a healthy diet and do those sports you enjoy. As always, it’s diet and exercise.

If you’re seriously overweight or obese, it might be best to get a medical opinion before you start running. Those extra pounds you’re lugging aound will be murder on your thighs, calves and ankles.

It’s also wise to remember how much pain you’ll be in for. You’ll need about 6,200 steps to cover 5 kilometers, 12,200 steps to run 10 kilometers and more than 50,000 steps to run the 42 kilometers in a marathon.

But if you really believe running is your game despite all this daunting data, here’s some advice from the pros to keep you fit and injury-free while maintaining good running technique.

Keep your head straight. Look straight ahead and avoid looking down at your feet. Looking down generates tension in your neck and shoulders. Keep your jaw and neck relaxed.

Keep your hands relaxed. Don’t flop your hands. Tight hands can cause tension all the way up to the back and shoulders.

Don't hunch your shoulders. Hunching restricts breathing. Your shoulders should be back and down. Keep them relaxed and avoid tensing them.

Keep your arms at 90 degrees. Your arms should be bent at a 90 degree angle. Swing them forward and back but not across your body. Your swinging arms help propel you forward.

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Lean forward while running. Don't bend forward or backward from the waist because this places pressure on your hips. Leaning forward a bit while running can reduce heel strike and help you land on the middle of your foot.

Don't lift your knees too high. Land with a slight bend in the knee to soften the impact. Don't lift your knees too high and avoid bouncing up and down. Your knees should be lifting forward rather than upward.