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How To Start Running

Running is often perceived as a daunting task, especially for those who haven’t been physically active throughout their lives. The thought of jogging alongside sweaty strangers, feeling winded after just a few minutes, and the potential for blisters and chafing can be overwhelming. However, once you weigh the benefits against the drawbacks, running doesn’t seem quite so intimidating. As a full-body exercise, it strengthens your legs, core, and cardiovascular system, making it an effective way to improve overall fitness. Moreover, running is accessible to anyone, regardless of their current level of physical activity. You don’t need to commit to logging hundreds of miles per week; even small, regular increments can be beneficial. As long as you understand the demands of running and have the necessary gear, you’ll find yourself developing a consistent routine.

Leave Your Excuses Behind

Starting to run can be daunting, but the key is to simply take that first step – literally! When fear of the unknown creeps in, it’s natural to try to talk yourself out of it. But instead, call yourself out and acknowledge those doubts. Remember, there’s no reason to be intimidated by walking a little faster.The beauty of running is that it doesn’t require hours of your time. In fact, even a short 20-minute walk can be a great workout. As you get more comfortable, you’ll find yourself gradually increasing your distance and speed. Before long, you might be surprised at how far you can go – literally!And the best part? Running outside is free! You don’t need to invest in expensive equipment or join a costly program. The great outdoors are waiting for you, with its varied terrain and scenic views. Consider yourself a local explorer, discovering new routes and trails.Childcare concerns? Don’t let that hold you back either! Bring your kids along for the ride – literally! Let them ride their bikes, rollerblade, or skateboard alongside you. For younger children, a running stroller is a great option. Check out local groups or consignment shops for gently used ones, and save some cash.

Gather What you Need

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Starting to run doesn’t require a significant investment in equipment. In fact, all you need is some basic clothing and a comfortable pair of shoes. Many experienced runners swear by specialized shoes, but for casual running, a good pair of sneakers will suffice. I recommend starting with something that provides decent cushioning and arch support, such as Hoka shoes. As you become more committed to your running routine, you can always upgrade to more advanced footwear. One area where it’s worth investing is in a good sports bra, especially if you have a larger bust. A supportive and comfortable bra can make all the difference in terms of comfort during your runs. Other than that, you’re pretty much set. If you need headphones, you can even use the cheap pair that came with your phone or grab some free ones on an airplane. The simplicity of running is part of its appeal!

Start Running with Proper Prep

When preparing for a run, timing is everything – literally. Aim to eat your last meal about two hours beforehand, and maintain a steady water intake. These habits will become second nature after a few tries. Meanwhile, ignore the old adage ‘you are what you eat’ at your own peril; an unbalanced diet can lead to unwanted complications like cramps, side stitches, or even a sudden need for a pit stop upon finishing your run.

Start Slow

The age-old adage ‘it’s a marathon, not a sprint’ may be true for experienced runners, but it can be a daunting concept for newcomers to the world of running. The first steps into this journey shouldn’t feel like an all-out dash either – unless you’re aiming to abandon your newfound passion before it even gets off the ground.

Beginners shouldn’t try to tackle runs head-on; instead, start with manageable goals. For instance, commit to running for three consecutive blocks or maintaining a steady pace for 45 seconds straight. As you complete each interval, take a brisk walk to give your cardiovascular system and joints a break. This approach will not only ease the physical burden but also make the entire experience less overwhelming. The sense of accomplishment that follows each successful interval is a powerful motivator, and as you progress, you’ll find those small victories snowballing into confidence and momentum.

You Don’t Have to go Alone

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When embarking on a new venture, it’s natural to crave guidance. Fortunately, there are numerous ways to ensure you’re not venturing into the unknown without a roadmap. For those who thrive in the presence of others, joining forces with like-minded individuals can be incredibly motivating. Whether that’s through running clubs, workout buddies, or guided apps, there are endless options to suit your style.

If exercising with a furry friend is more your cup of tea, bring your dog along for some extra exercise and quality time together. Alternatively, invite a friend or family member to join you on your journey. Many neighborhoods have running clubs that provide a sense of community and safety while also helping you meet new people.

Of course, not everyone may feel comfortable exercising with others, which is perfectly fine. In that case, there are plenty of solo-friendly options available. Apps like MapMyRun, Strava, C25K, or Runkeeper can provide a workout tracking feature, training plan, and more. For those who prefer a more low-tech approach, printed guides and calendars can be just as effective in helping you stay on track.

Use a Cheat Code to get Through It

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When facing a challenging task, the temptation to give up can be overwhelming – especially when it’s just you against the struggle. However, introducing distractions into your routine can make a significant difference. For instance, listening to music or podcasts while working out can help create a sense of energy and tempo, making the experience more enjoyable and even boost your mood. I find that running to my favorite songs is not only invigorating but also a fun way to turn my workout into a personal music video – albeit a sweaty one.In addition to technology-based distractions, there are other ways to keep yourself occupied while exercising. You can try counting the things you pass, such as trees, stoplights, or mailboxes, or focus on your breathing pattern. Inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth can be a meditative experience that helps you stay present in the moment.I’ve also found that wearing a fitness tracker like my Fitbit Versa 2 can be a great motivator. Not only does it track my progress, but it also provides gentle reminders when I reach certain milestones – such as every kilometer – and allows me to silence notifications. It’s a worthwhile investment for anyone who starts running regularly.

Cool Down Correctly

If you want to blend in with the amateur crowd, skip stretching before your runs and stick to five-minute walks instead. On the other hand, real runners know that the best time to stretch is after they’ve finished their run. This post-run ritual isn’t just about improving flexibility and maintaining strength – it’s also crucial for preventing injuries. Without proper stretching, you’ll not only lose flexibility but also experience ten times more soreness afterwards. While feeling sore can be a badge of honor, it’s not when it’s so excruciating you can’t even walk.You don’t need to spend hours on your cool-down routine – just dedicate 30 seconds to each stretch and you’re good to go. Use stretches you learned in gym class or look up some tried-and-true runner stretches online. Once you’ve established a consistent stretching habit, you’ll be reaping the benefits in no time. And when we cross paths at the track, I’ll be the one with the smoothest run and the least amount of soreness – all thanks to my post-run stretching routine!