Introducing running for beginners

happy running

The pandemic has brought about an increase in exercise levels across the world and many formerly less active people have found the benefit of happy hormones and enhanced immune systems that exercise brings.

If you've ever dreamed of becoming a runner, let’s get you started. The key is to start gradually.

Scheduled Workouts

Just as you have a schedule for work, family life and other responsibilities, you'll need to schedule your workouts. Plan your runs for days when you’re likely to get them done so that you make running an easy habit to cultivate. Be realistic about your schedule and the days that you can make the time without exhausting yourself. If you can commit to six or seven days a week, that's fine but, if you've been living a sedentary lifestyle, don't set yourself up for failure. Start by introducing running three or four days a week to start.

Comfortable Workout Gear

Running can be a high-impact sport. Each time your feet work the ground, you impact many of your joints. This is one of the reasons why it's essential to invest in the proper workout gear. Invest in good footwear that can handle the impact so that your joints are better protected. Consider investing in insoles too. If you are a woman, invest in the right sportsbra. When you're not wearing the proper undergarments, the process can feel painful and unbearable. The right supportive garments make runnng feel far easier - you will feel like you are running on a cloud.

Stretching Routine

Stretching is paramount for any workout you do. Whether you're lifting weights, running or swimming, stretching your muscles, increases your flexibility and maintains a good range of motion in your joints. If you don't know much about how to stretch properly, see the jogScotland stretching guide here. Stretching enhances recovery and increases efficiency so it is essential if you want to build a healthy, strong body. As you learn how to run, you’ll feel powerful at first but without proper care and the use of the optimal stretching guide, you may cause damage to your body. Develop a healthy relationship with exercise by habitually stretching.

Walk/Run Method

There are various methods that you can employ when you're looking to introduce running to your life. You can opt to just start with a cold turkey method by running with no transition. However, running can be brutal on your joints - especially when you're just beginning. It's a great idea to implement a walk/run method. Start by walking for nine minutes, jog for one minute. Alternate between nine-minutes and one minute for the first few runs. Then, change it to walking for eight minutes and running for two minutes. Continue this process until you’re running more than you’re walking. In the process of doing this, you’ll also build your endurance.

Though you might feel like it's an impossible feat after your first workout, stick with the process. As you keep going, you'll improve. Before long, you'll look back and realise that you can run a 5K without stopping once. Remember that it's all about the journey instead of the destination. When you maintain that perspective, it's much easier to progress over time.

Thanks and credit to Dawn Castell for much of the input for this article.