7 Tips to Start Running
Here are some great tips on how to start running and maintain your goal of becoming a runner.
Updated: Friday 04 February 2022
Exercise is a key aspect to keeping healthy. It can be any sort on the exercise scale; from walking to high intensity interval training (HIIT). Even small amounts of movement can benefit your health. As you might have seen in the news recently, studies suggest that the previously golden rule of 10,000 steps per day should be scrapped. Alternatives include walking at a brisk pace for 10 minutes three times a day for light cardio. Running can shorten that time if your schedule is rather full and it’s an excellent way to get fit.
If running is more your speed, here are some tips on how to start running and maintain your goal of becoming a runner.
Get the right gear
When it comes to running, shoes are the most important piece of equipment you will need. Buying the first cheap pair of shoes you see can be kind on your bank account but your feet will suffer the consequences. While it is not necessary to get the most expensive gear on the market, the wrong trainers can cause blisters and unseen tears in your quadriceps and hamstrings. Aeration is another factor to keep in mind so that your feet can breathe.
We recommend visiting a specialist shop to ask shoe advice for your foot type and shape to give you the stability and cushioning you need while you run.
Pick a route
Find a route that you are comfortable with. If you are running outdoors, you can start with a flat surface or road and as you progress and your strength increases, adding gradients and additional features to your routine will keep your muscles guessing and actively engaged.
Warm up and cool down
An important part of running that many forget about is to warm up before you run. This prepares the muscles for the exercise to maximise their use and also prevent injuries while you run. Start by stretching the muscles in your legs, arms and sides before launching into a five-minute warm-up. You can walk briskly, do star jumps for a few minutes, add some lunges and knee lifts or jog on the spot.
Motivation is key
Keeping yourself motivated can be difficult to begin with but with a few tricks, you can make the experience an enjoyable one. Listen to motivational music (AC/DC’s Back in Black, anyone?) to spur you on towards the end of your workout. Many fitness apps that reward your efforts to keep you moving and feeling great.
Another way to keep motivated is to vary the route and scenery where you run. You can also change the direction, the length of your run, the music and the time of day you run to keep things interesting.
If you feel you need some encouragement, why not run with a friend? You will improve together and keep eachother going. Alternatively, look into joining a running club in your area.
Go easy and start small
If running a not your regular activity, set yourself some goals and start slowly to avoid injuries like shin splints, runner’s knee and a sprained ankle. While it may be tempting to run flat-out for 30 minutes, you could injure yourself and the muscle aches in your body the next day could put you off your new resolution.
Instead, you can begin with alternating between walking quickly and running for as long as you feel comfortable. Challenge yourself but know your limits so you’ll be more likely to enjoy the experience.
As you get stronger, you will be able to increase the amount of time you run and walk less of the journey.
While you exercise, your core temperatures increase and you sweat to regulate it. It is important to recharge the fluid levels with water. The more you exercise and sweat, the more water you should drink to make up for the lost liquids. Keeping hydrated also helps distribute energy to your muscles and continue to function correctly as you put it through unfamiliar movements.
As you exercise more, you will need to balance the energy lost with varied foods. Refill your levels with fresh fruit, vegetables, grains, healthy fats such as nuts, seeds and avocados, protein in beans, lentils and fish. These release energy gradually so you feel energised at all times, even after running for 30 minutes.
Consistency is important. Aim to run twice a week for about 30 minutes to begin with and you’ll be running 5Ks in no time!