Have you ever set out for a run, took a couple steps, and gave up? You are not alone. Starting running takes planning, the right shoes, and scheduling your runs. By following these steps, you will develop a healthy running routine and stick to your goals.
Think About Your Goals
The first thing to ask yourself is “why am I running?” Is it for fitness, weight loss, stress reduction, or for overall health? Depending on how you answer will depend on how high you will set your expectations and your goals.
If your goal is to run a 5K, there are training plans available, even if you have never run a day in your life. Plan your goals out in advance so you have proper time to meet them. In addition, set small steps to meet your goals so you don’t get discouraged.
Do not expect to run a 5k with little to no training as you will set yourself up for failure. Start out slow and go easy on yourself when you first are starting out. You want to reduce the chance of injuries and stress on your body. Furthermore, by keeping your expectations reasonable, you are more likely to hit your goals and keep running.
Choose the Right Shoes
Running shoes are important. You would not play basketball with track shoes, right? The same goes for running. The shoes are an investment in your new sport/hobby, so make sure to purchase the right kind for your feet and body type. If you are unsure where to start, take this quiz to point you in the right direction.
If you have never picked out running shoes before, it may help to go to a shoe specialist to find your exact size, whether you overpronate or are a neutral running, and if you need extra cushioning.
How much should you spend? A good price for running shoes is about $100. These will get you a solid pair without breaking the bank. The shoes should last a few hundred miles then you can decide if you want to upgrade to a different pair or stick with the same brand.
Warming up with body weight exercises is recommended for runners because this will increase your heart rate and get your body ready for the run. Try some of these for your warm-up:
- Leg swings — 10 on each leg
- 50 jumping jacks
- Side leg swings — 10 to each side
- Push-ups — 10 to 20
- Jump rope
- 20 Squats
Taking Your First Steps
Start out slow when you go for your first run, which means walking part (or most) of the way.
- Three minutes warm-up
- Run two minutes and then walk for two minutes
- Repeat this for 28 minutes — about seven times
- Finish with a cool down
Do the above routine for one week.
The second week, try this:
- Warm up
- Walk for three minutes
- Run for one minute
- Repeat for 28 minutes — about seven times
- Finish with a cool down
For the continuing weeks, add one minute to your runtime. For example, week three would be run for four minutes, week four would be run for five minutes, and so on. Start reducing your walking time by 30 seconds in week four. From there, add three to five minutes of running while reducing the walking time until you hit your goal.
Make a Schedule
Now that you have an idea how to start, and you have the right gear, you are going to need a schedule. Beginner runners should start out running two to three times a week. After about five weeks, or when you feel comfortable, you can up the days of the week you are running. For example, after five weeks you can increase the days you run up to four. If your body responds well, increase running days up to five in the next couple of weeks.
Increase Mileage Gradually
If you write out your schedule, it will help to write the increase in miles as well. This way, you won’t increase your mileage too soon. What happens if you increase your mileage too fast? You are more likely to get injured, your body will get more tired, and it will be harder for you to recover after every run.