Running is a great way to stay fit and improve mental health, but for people new to running, it can be hard to know where to begin. Here are some tips if you’re just starting out:
Tip 1: Know where you’re starting from
Before getting out on the trail/road/treadmill, it's important to consider your current fitness and experience level. If you're completely new to running and cardio, it's a good idea to start with a walking regimen for a few weeks before breaking through to running.
Tip 2: Pick a goal distance / race
A great source of motivation can be having a race to work toward. A date and distance as an end goal can make planning workouts a breeze - just work backwards from the race and get moving!
When you’re just starting out, your first race will probably be a 5k (3.1 miles). Once you’ve caught the running bug, you may decide to work up from there to a 10k, half-marathon, or even a full marathon (26.2 miles) one day.
Tip 3: Make a realistic routine and stick to it
If you're an avid walker already you can likely hop right in to running/walking intervals and build from there. Wherever you're starting it's best to plan for 20 to 30 minutes, 2 or 3 times a week. Once your body is used to that, you can start building up time, speed, and/or frequency, depending on your goal! The good news is that studies show even 30 minutes of movement can lead to fat burn, endorphin release, and better sleep.
When first getting into a routine it’s good to focus on going for a certain amount of time, out for 15 minutes and back for 15 minutes (or whatever your goal is for the day). Try not to focus on speed, instead focus on building endurance as you build up from a 20 minute workout.
As you begin interval training, equal length intervals are a good place to start. If you’re trying to get into running this would often look something like walking for 1 minute then jogging for 1 minute and repeating that 10 times – for a total of a 20 minute workout.
After your body feels comfortable with that you can start setting up distance workouts instead. Plan a 2 mile route and continue with your intervals/running/walking as before. It’s important to remember that your muscles will build up faster than your joints, so don’t be afraid to go slow!
As you progress, you'll get a sense of an achievable pace and what goal you might strive for. To boost speed and make progress toward your goal, here's an interval workout for you: train at your goal pace for 2.5 to 3 minutes then walk for 30 seconds. Repeat this 10-12 times for a full workout (don’t forget a warm up and a cool down though!).
Tip 4: Find a community and be accountable socially
For many people running in groups and with buddies is a huge part of their experience. Having a good group can help with motivation and can be a great way to meet or stay close with friends. People cheering you on and celebrating every personal record can turn running from a slog to something fun and exciting to look forward to! Let's get out and move together