Running for exercise is simple, but it’s not easy when you’re just beginning. According to Runner’s World, it’s important “to start where you are and not where you think you should be.”
If you push yourself too hard on a five-mile run, you’ll probably get hurt and discouraged.
The good news is you can start running, make steady progress on your own or with running coaching, and keep with it for life if you follow the simple tips below.
Why Should You Run?
Fitness experts say that running is one of the most efficient ways to increase cardiovascular endurance and burn calories. In addition, running boosts mental endurance and toughness. If you exercise outside, you also benefit from the beauty of nature and fresh air, which are vital to managing stress and reducing anxiety.
Additionally, running is affordable. You don’t need to buy hundreds of dollars of equipment to begin, and you can do it just about anywhere. And running can be done at almost all ages – from childhood to adults in their 70s and even 80s. So if you don’t start running until your 50s, it’s OK!
Other fantastic benefits of running:
- Great for losing weight and keeping it off
- Running relieves stress and enhances one’s sense of well-being
- Don’t need to run for long times and distances to achieve impressive results
- Running can be a solitary or group activity, depending on your mood
- It gives you many health benefits, including greater lung capacity, faster metabolism, lower cholesterol and triglycerides, and more energy
- Running can provide a boost to your immune system and prevent you from getting sick
Get Clearance From Your Doctor
If you haven’t been working out lately, don’t worry: You can start running and enjoy great results. But you should check with your doctor before starting a running program if you haven’t exercised for a year or more.
Also, if you have an injury or serious medical condition, talk to your doctor if you should follow specific guidelines when you run. For example, if you have type 2 diabetes, you may need to carry snacks with you if your blood sugar drops.
Buy Good Shoes
We noted above that you don’t need to spend a lot on fancy gear to start running. But you DO need a good pair of running shoes. And the $30 sneakers at Wal-mart won’t do the job. If you wear cheap shoes, you will almost certainly get injured, and that can prevent you from running for weeks or even months.
So, take a trip to a running gear store and ask to be fitted for a good pair of running shoes. People who work at running shoe stores usually know plenty about running shoes and which types are best for different kinds of runners.
Once you have good shoes, you may want to invest in a good pair of lightweight running shorts and a shirt.
Start With Running And Walking
Begin your running program by running for a minute or two and then walking for the same amount of time. Interval running is the easiest way to increase your endurance and avoid injury when you first begin.
As the weeks pass, try to decrease walking and increase running intervals. Then, as your endurance and strength increase, switch to running for the entire workout.
Take It Easy
Running can be challenging at first when you are increasing your strength and stamina. So it’s essential to start your running program easy. After all, it won’t do you any good if you run too hard, get hurt, and never do it again!
During your early workouts, run and walk reasonably; if you can’t talk in complete sentences when running, you should slow down.
When you run, breathe in through your nose and mouth so you can draw as much oxygen as possible.
After your workout, do a cool down with five minutes of light jogging or walking. Some simple stretches after you’re done will prevent you from tightening up.
Remember that the most important thing when you begin running is to be consistent. Don’t worry about how far or how fast you run. Instead, getting into the weekly habit of running is what matters most.
Watch How Your Foot Hits The Ground
The way the foot strikes the ground is called the footstrike. There are many ways your foot can hit the road. For example, some runners hit the heel, middle of the foot, or the toes.
On your first few runs, you may notice your heel or toes hit the ground first. If you’re a toe runner, your calves might get tight, so stretching afterward can help.
If you are a heel-striker, your stride may be too long, which can tire you faster and even lead to injury. Some running experts say you should attempt to run on the middle of the foot, then roll to the toes.
But if you are comfortable running one way, you shouldn’t necessarily alter your stride. Instead, talk to a running coach if you want to change your stride as you become more advanced in your new exercise regimen.
Most of us are excited when we first start running. But like with anything new, you can lose motivation after a few weeks or months.
The best way to make running a daily part of your life is to make it part of your daily schedule. Put it on your calendar on your cell phone and stick with it.
To stay motivated, follow these tips:
- Put on your running clothes: Experienced runners will tell you: The most challenging part of running is thinking about it. It’s the mental aspect that prevents many people from getting exercise. So, take action and get your running gear on, which will motivate you to get it done.
- Set a goal: You will be more motivated to run if you have a plan in mind. Do you want to lower your blood pressure and lose weight? Or are you training for a 10k? Remind yourself that your daily run will get you one step closer to your goal.
- Run with others: This is a fantastic motivation strategy: It’s tough to bail out on a run when a friend is waiting for you.
- Join a club: Most cities have several running clubs. Running with a group on some days can keep you coming back for more.
- Note your progress: There are helpful running apps you can put on your phone, so you can keep track of your fitness progress. Or, just jot down your mileage and times in a notebook.
Now you know how to get started with running. However, if you need help with a running goal or just getting in better shape, you can rely on Demetz Online Personal Training. So, please contact us to get started.
Nathan DeMetz holds degrees in Exercise Science, Business Administration, and Information Technology as well as certifications in strength and conditioning, sports nutrition, run coaching, and other areas. His credentials come from organizations such as Indiana Wesleyan University, Ivy Tech College, Utah State University, and the ISSA College of Exercise Science.
Nathan has 20 years of personal and professional experience in the health and fitness world. He works with people from across the globe, including locations such as Kuwait, Australia, and the USA.
To work with Nathan directly on your personal training goals, contact him today!