Running is an excellent way to improve physical and mental health and enjoy the outdoors. It's also a good way of exercising without fancy equipment or being at a specific place, and you just put on your shoes and get out. While people feel daunted to start running, it is not, and all you need is a little planning and a will to start running. Before jumping into how to start, let's cover some basics.
Choosing the right gear.
Shoes: Invest in a pair of decent shoes. Visit a speciality running store where you can try different shoes. The shoes must feel comfortable and provide cushioning for support. Some stores have Gait measuring equipment which helps get the correct shoes depending on your foot type and running style.
Clothing: Choose breathable, moisture-wicking fabrics over cotton fabrics. The weather also plays a significant factor in the clothing you choose, and remember to dress in layers if you are running in cold weather.
Electronics: Invest in a decent running watch, which helps keep track of your runs and provides other metrics. Or use one of many available running apps on your phone to keep track of your activity.
Accessories: A waist pouch to store phone, car keys, wallet, Credit card, cash etc., if you plan to run in a park, on trails or somewhere far from your home. Also, having a handheld water bottle would be nice if you feel dehydrated.
Now that the basics are covered, let's jump into the training.
Start with a run for 20 mins. Run at a comfortable pace. The pace should be at a level where you can fully converse with another runner beside you. If you feel out of breath, you are running faster. Another strategy to start is a run/walk method where you run for a certain amount of time and walk for the same. For example, you can run for 2 mins and walk for 2 minutes. As you feel comfortable, you increase the time you run and decrease the time you walk. Eventually, you are running for the whole time at a relaxed pace. Start with a 20 min run for 3-4 days a week. Add 10 minutes every week or two to the run as you feel comfortable. Be careful not to increase the time too much, as it takes time for your body to adjust to the increased load on your body.
Be consistent with your training. Try to stick to your schedule. Eventually, aiming to run for an hour without trouble would be best. Running based on time helps you control your run. You train your body to run based on effort. Running based on miles will make you feel compelled to complete mileage. That might make you run fast to complete the run, and you will be exhausted. Remember that your body only understands the time, not the miles you run.
Warm-up and cool-down play an essential part in your training. Before running, take a few minutes to warm up your muscles by walking or jumping jacks. After your run, cool down by doing light stretching, and yoga helps too.
Running with a friend or joining a running club will motivate you and will also be an excellent support option. Running will take a toll on your body, and it is essential to listen to your body. If you feel pain or discomfort, slow down or stop the run. If you feel tired or sore, do not hesitate to rest. Do not push yourself hard. It takes some time for your body to adjust to the stress and load of running. Remember, you are running to be healthy, build fitness and be a runner. Not to get injured.
It's a good habit to keep track of your runs. Investing in a good running watch or using running apps will help you monitor the distance, pace time, calories burned and other metrics. In the long run, this will build a good activity record and get feedback on your progress.
Running can be fun and challenging to start but worth the effort. Running will help build strength and is an excellent physical and mental exercise. Running can be a lifelong journey if one wishes to make it.
If you are looking for custom beginner plans feel free to reach out to me at @sureshpenumatsa.com