by Davy Kestens in Start Running

How to start running?

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You might have hated the physical education classes in school, you might have been the fastest out there but you’ve probably gotten out of shape due to numerous reasons… However, a past is a past. If you are reading this article, you’re most probably considering starting running again.

Sounds like you? Then read on as we have some basic tips to help you get started and stay motivated.

Consult your physician first

You’re probably tired of hearing this but while running is really beneficial to most people, it can prove to be dangerous to others as it puts pressure to your joints and stresses your heart. So if you are aware that you have some medical condition that could worsen because of running, pay a visit to the doctor and have a word with him. It might be better to stick to long brisk walks at first, instead of take up running immediately. The same goes if you have a lot of extra weight – take it easy and start slowly. Your body would certainly appreciate it.

Besides that, there are certain tests that should be run every now and then (once or twice a year) and that are part of the advisory check up that should be regularly performed anyway – so that’s a great way to kill two birds with one stone.

Pick up the right running shoes

We just can’t emphasize enough on the importance of that one. If you don’t run with comfortable shoes, there’s a good chance your posture would change which could lead to cramps, injuries and pain. Not to mention the irritating blisters that are quite painful and can ruin it for you.

The best way to choose the right running shoes is to go to a store that specializes in selling running gear. Staff there is usually well trained and prepared to answer all your questions and help you with making your choice. Some of these stores even have treadmills so you’re encouraged to try how particular pairs of shoes feel when you’re running in them.

Don’t go for certain brands and models just because they are popular or look nice. Don’t get fooled by appearances and advertisements and if possible, avoid ordering online unless you’ve already had this very model of running shoes and want to just replace them with new ones.

Running barefoot is another option you might want to consider – or, in case you are not sure that the surface is safe, you may try running in a pair of Vibram FiveFingers. That’s yet another great thing about taking up something new – you can (and should) experiment until you get to know what feels best for you, your feet and your running style.

Choose a route for your runs and make time for them

Squeezing your trainings into your daily routine might be tough at first but it’s worth it. Decide on how often you plan to run. People say it takes 20 to 30 days to form a habit. However, don’t aim for that number – your muscles need rest, especially if you’re a real rookie at running. If you feel fatigue and possibly even mild depression then you’re probably trying too hard too soon and your body tries to signal you about that. Step back and get some nice rest – do some things you enjoy, take long walks for a couple of days and pamper yourself a bit. Then put your running shoes back on and take it easier this time.

If you ask people who’ve already been there and done that, they’d probably tell you that the best thing (and we just can’t emphasize on that enough) is to listen to your body. Aim at going for a run every other day (3 or 4 times a week). Even if you feel fine, don’t overdo it. One general rule is to make sure you have at least 2 days of rest but try not to make them consecutive ones as this is said to minimize the effects of the last training session. On the other hand, you can always experiment with the length of the runs so you don’t get bored.

Bear in mind, however, that frequency is more important at first – it’s better to run a mile 4 times a week, rather than go for 8 miles, once a week.

If you’re trying to lose some weight, mornings are said to be the best time for a run. However, any part of the day is just fine for exercises as long as you are committed to it.

The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago.
The second best time is now.

It’s best to run on softer surfaces like grass, earth or special tracks covered with synthetic materials. They tend to be gentler to your joints and sinews and are a way better choice than asphalt or concrete. And, seriously – if you are a newbie, try to avoid running on snow. There’s a good chance you can catch a cold that can keep you out of the track for quite some time, not to mention that running on snow is really tough and it’s definitely not a good idea for a newbie. Besides that, there might also be some ice or objects underneath the snow itself. In winter treadmills are the safest bet but during the warmer months it’s best to run outside: it’s way more fun! (They don’t call it the dreadmill for no reason)

Start slowly

We need you to read that one carefully and to remember it for good. Frequently, most people who quit or get injured in the first weeks are the ones who ran too fast, too far, too soon. You’ve read it, right? Now read it again.

No matter how enthusiastic you may be, don’t overdo it. Start with light jogging for 2 minutes, followed by 1 minute of walking and gradually increase the number of minutes you jog until you reach 30. This may take some time but don’t push yourself – it’s crucial that you feel comfortable.

Once you’ve reached 30 minutes of non-stop jogging and you get used to it, you can try to increase the speed so that you actually start running long distances. Gradually you’ll find the right pace for your runs and you’ll be able to thoroughly enjoy them and the beneficial effects they are associated with.

I hope you will soon enjoy running just as much as we do!

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