There are few cardio exercises as effective and simple as running. It requires very little equipment (no treadmill necessary) you can do it anywhere, and there are lots of styles to choose from. Still, for all its simplicity, running is actually a bit bit more complicated activity to get started on than you might initially think. There are questions on what shoes to buy, how fast and far to run, what to eat and how to avoid injury. Read on for tips for running beginners (and maybe some vets) on how to safely get started running.
Make A Schedule
You don’t have to set aside hours for running as if you’re training for a marathon (unless you are starting with a marathon, in which case, good luck). But you should set aside thirty minutes three days a week to train.
When you do decide on a workout schedule, write it down! Put it in your calendar, planner or phone. Put your running schedule on the fridge or bathroom mirror. Make that time nonnegotiable. You’re way more likely to stick with it if you have a real plan than a vague notion to run a few times a week.
Get Good Shoes
If you want to invest in GPS watches, fitness trackers, or clothes with high-tech fabrics, that’s fine but not necessary. For the average jogger, any old t-shirts and athletic shorts will work. The only real piece of equipment you need is a good pair of running shoes. The right pair of shoes with the right fit will help prevent injury and make running more comfortable. There’s a lot to consider when choosing sneakers, like your height, weight, experience level, miles per week, arch height and pronation. If you’re not sure what to buy, head to a specialty running store to get outfitted for the right shoes.
If you’ve never run before, you’re not going to start with a three-mile jog. You could try, but you’d most likely become burnt out, exhausted or hurt and wind up quitting. When you first start out, know that you’re going to walk a lot, and that it’s okay. Even elite runners started somewhere.
Most coaches tell anyone who is just starting out, or coming back after a long time off, to ease into running by alternating periods of walking and running. When you know you can walk at a brisk pace for 30 minutes, start incorporating running into your walk. For example, running two minutes then walking four minutes. Repeat five times. As time goes on, you can increase your time running and decreasing your time walking until you can run for thirty straight minutes.
You also don’t need to start off sprinting or running at a competitive pace. When just starting out, you shouldn’t run so hard that you’re completely out of breath. You should be able to hold a conversation with only a little difficulty.
Building the strength and endurance to run can be discouraging, especially since it’s sometimes a long, slow or difficult process. Find ways to stay motivated to keep with it. If having runs in your calendar isn’t enough, try finding a running partner who will be left alone if you don’t show up. You can also train for a local 5K race. At 3.1 miles, it’s a great race distance for beginners, and most local races have lots of casual joggers and walkers participating. You can also use a preplanned beginners training schedule or app, which makes a plan for you and takes the guesswork out of it. Whatever you decide, stick with it and you’ll be running with ease before you know it.