How to Start Running

Confirm that you’re ready Starting a running routine can be beneficial for your health, but it’s important to approach it with caution if you haven’t been active in a while. Even if you feel great, diving headfirst into an intense workout can increase your risk of injury. This is particularly true if you’re over 50 or have a pre-existing health condition such as diabetes or heart disease. Prior to beginning a running program, it’s essential to speak with your physician to ensure that it’s safe for you to do so. 

Always test your fitness level

While you might have a general sense of your fitness level, it’s always helpful to have concrete measurements to track your progress. One way to do this is by monitoring your heart rate before and after walking a mile, as well as completing a 1.5-mile run and timing yourself. If you feel comfortable doing so, repeat these measurements after about six weeks of following your running routine. By comparing these numbers over time, you can get a better understanding of how much progress you’ve made and adjust your regimen as necessary. Remember that small improvements can add up to significant gains in the long run.

Plan a goal

Having a clear destination in mind is crucial to reaching your goals, especially when it comes to your health and fitness. Whether you’re aiming to complete a 5K race, shed some pounds, or simply improve your overall well-being, it’s essential to identify your objectives so that you can devise an effective plan of action.

Make a strategy 

Starting a new exercise routine can be challenging, especially if you’re not accustomed to high levels of physical activity. To avoid injury, it’s important to begin gradually, perhaps by walking at first and gradually increasing the intensity as you become more comfortable. 

Start slow

A proper warm-up is crucial before engaging in any physical activity, especially running. Taking the time to prepare your body can help prevent injury and reduce muscle soreness. One way to ease into your run is by starting with a slow walk for 5 to 10 minutes if you’re planning to go for a brisk walk. If you’re going for a run, you may want to start with a brisk walk or a gentle jog to gradually increase your heart rate and prepare your muscles for more intense activity. 

Do a warm-up

To prepare for a run or fast-paced walk, it’s important to gradually ease your muscles into activity to reduce the risk of injury and prevent soreness. A recommended method is, to begin with, a slow walk for 5 to 10 minutes before picking up the pace. If you plan to run, you may opt for a brisk walk or slow jog to gradually increase your heart rate and warm up your muscles. This gradual approach allows your body to adjust to the activity and reduces the likelihood of experiencing strain or discomfort during or after your workout.

Listen to Your Body

It’s crucial to listen to your body when starting a new exercise routine. If you experience dizziness, nausea, or difficulty breathing, it’s a sign that you may be pushing yourself too hard. In this case, it’s important to stop and take a break. It’s better to be flexible with your schedule and allow yourself time to recover than to risk injury or health complications. If you need to take a couple of days off to regain your strength, don’t hesitate to do so. Remember, your body needs time to adapt to the new demands you’re placing on it, so it’s best to start slowly and gradually increase the intensity over time.

Cool Down

It’s important to allow your body time to recover and return to its normal state after a run. To achieve this, you can perform a cooldown exercise that involves gradually reducing your pace over the course of 5 to 10 minutes. This will help lower your heart rate and blood pressure, allowing your body to transition smoothly from an active state to a resting state. Just as you warmed up before your run, you should also cool down to avoid any sudden strain on your muscles or cardiovascular system. Incorporating a proper cool-down routine into your exercise regimen can help reduce the risk of injury and promote overall fitness.

Take proper rest

When starting a new hobby such as running, it’s common to feel excited and motivated. However, it’s important to avoid overexertion and give your body time to rest and recover. In addition to starting slowly, incorporating rest days into your routine is essential to prevent injury and burnout. Rest days are just as important as active days and can even contribute to improved performance and increased stamina. By taking a break and allowing your body to heal and recharge, you’ll be better equipped to push yourself further in the long run. Remember, balance and moderation are key to achieving your fitness goals safely and effectively.

Make It a Habit

Developing good habits can be a challenge, especially when they are automatic or unconscious behaviors. For instance, reaching for a doughnut with your morning coffee may seem like an innocuous action, but it can quickly become a habit that is hard to break. However, you can also create new habits by consciously establishing routines. To start, identify a cue that will trigger the habit, such as setting an alarm on your phone to remind you to go for a run. Then, immediately following the cue, provide yourself with a reward, such as a cup of coffee or watching your favorite TV show. After repeating this routine for several weeks, your brain will start to associate the cue with the reward, and the habit will become easier to maintain.

Make It Social

Making plans to meet a workout buddy or a group can significantly increase your chances of following through with your exercise routine. Not only does it make the experience more enjoyable, but it also provides an opportunity for friendly competition and support from individuals with similar fitness goals. As you become accustomed to the pace, socializing during the workout becomes easier, and the overall experience becomes more engaging. By incorporating social accountability into your fitness routine, you can create a positive and consistent habit that improves your physical and mental wellbeing.