Running for Beginners

running, jogging, exerciseRegular exercise will help get you in better shape physically and mentally. Running is one of the simplest exercises to do and it doesn’t cost much. All you need are shoes and a body. That’s what makes running a favorite among those looking to tone their bodies. However, if you’re thinking about running, then you should know some things first.

Start Slow

First, start slow–both literally and figuratively. Don’t push yourself too hard at the start. Many people have a mental picture of running as sprinting, but it isn’t. Long-distance running is impossible to do at an all-out sprint. Instead, it’s a careful balance between your pace and the length of time you plan to run. Start with a slow jog and see how that goes before you try any kind of fast running.

If you find yourself unable to perform a slow jog two or more days after your first run, then you might want to start with a quick walk. Don’t worry that you aren’t running as fast as other people. You have to start when you are. If you want to become a serious runner, as the saying goes, “You can’t get there from here.” Remember that a fast walk puts less stress on the knees while still being a great exercise. If you injure your knees, it will be even longer before you can reach your running goals.

Short Distances

Once you can perform a slow jog several times in a row without pain, you can step up to the next level, which is a slow jog. Keep your running distances to an easy level. This might mean you start running a mile or two. If you run too far, you might overexert yourself and your body will take longer to heal. The run might be so intense that you build up internal resistance to running again. This hurts the health of your budding habits. Only after mastering short runs should you begin to extend your running distances. Try adding a mile and testing it out over three runs before going on to add another mile. Eventually, you’ll want to move into challenging distances and challenging intensities–but right at the beginning, the most important thing to do is get your habit set in stone.

Building Habits

It takes about three weeks to get a habit. There is a bit of a science to it. Try to run or at least exercise at the same time, every single day, for three weeks. Create positive associations with daily exercise. Simple things like telling yourself “good job” can go a long way.

I really encourage you to pay attention to how your body feels after you’re done working out. I find that during several hours after running, my mind, mood, emotions, and thought processes are consistently serene. This is because running improves metabolism, health, and releases many mood boosting and painkilling endorphins. Bask in the afterglow of running. In this way, you can get yourself “addicted” to running once you realize how wonderful you feel afterwards.

The Importance of Running

Finally, remember that running is a pleasurable activity in and of itself. Many people when they start out treat it like a chore. Remember: You’re exerting your body, challenging your mind, and expanding your willpower. There are hundreds of benefits, both direct and indirect, which come from regular running.

Like many beginners, my first few stabs at it were disasters. I was trying to mimic runners around me, not realizing they had been doing it for years! What helpful tips canyon offer new runners?