Running is a great way to get the amount of cardiovascular activity you need to maintain and improve heart health. However, getting started running can be tough. Between shin splints and lack of motivation, it can be hard to learn how to love running. The good news is that if you’ve made the mental decision to start running, you’ve taken an essential first step in your running journey. Whether you decided for yourself, are doing it with a friend or family member or signed up for a race and you can’t back out now, there are so many good motivators to getting dedicated to a running plan. Sometimes though, you need some help. That’s where this article comes in. Read on to learn more about how to get started with running and how to overcome common hurdles beginners face.
Always Warm Up
One of the biggest mistakes you can make as a beginning runner is not warming up before they start running. Warming up is essential to prepare your body for the run you’re about to go on, and doing so will help prevent injury from occurring. In addition to getting your blood flowing, warming up your muscles prior to going on a run can help boost your aerobic system and wake up your muscles, leading to a more effective run. To warm up, you can spend five-10 minutes walking at a moderate pace to waken your muscles. You can also engage in active stretching, where you do some callisthenic movements to awaken your body and muscles. Whatever you choose to do, make sure you don’t forget this essential step.
Too many people start running with grand expectations of how far and how fast they’ll be able to go. Start with small expectations, and celebrate the victories as they come to you. Don’t expect to be able to run a 5k in under 25 minutes without stopping once if you’re brand-new to running—even if you consider yourself to be in fairly good shape. The bottom line is that, if your body isn’t used to the exercise, you’re likely going to have a tough time your first few runs. That’s okay. Shoot for small distances, and go at a comfortable pace.
Don’t be Afraid to Walk
Similar to starting slow, it’s also important to let yourself walk. Developing a healthy relationship with running is essential to your running program’s success. If you’re pushing yourself way beyond your limits, and you’re hating every step you take, you’re likely to not stick to your workout program. Instead, when it starts getting tough, walk for a minute. When you catch your breath again, pick the pace back up. Run-walking is a great way to remain motivated and develop a healthy, positive relationship with running. And, don’t despair, you’ll still get a great workout in. Some people may even argue that run-walking is somewhat like HIIT workouts, which are very popular and effective!
Don’t Increase Your Distance Too Fast
Similar to starting slow, it’s important not to go too far, too fast. Doing so could leave you susceptible to developing an injury. As a beginner, you need to forget the “Increase your mileage by 10 percent” rule. Your primary goal should be to get to a place where you’re running consistently, and your body is getting used to running. As a general rule of thumb, you should shoot for running 2-3 days a week, and not going above four miles until you’re able to do that comfortably. You should not be upping your mileage every week.
Don’t Forget About Cooling Down
Like warming up, many runners, especially beginners, forget to cool down. Cooling your muscles and body down following a workout is essential, especially when your body isn’t used to the workout you just put it through. Spend about 10 minutes walking and stretching your muscles after your run. This will safely bring your heart rate down and help you keep muscle soreness at bay as much as possible.
Running can be a rewarding exercise experience, but it’s one that takes time to get used to. Follow these beginner’s tips to start cultivating your relationship with running today.