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Do you want to start running to lose weight, or do you just want to stay active? Either way, you will probably be thinking, “How… what… when..?” Well, you came to the right place. This article is all about how to start running for beginners, what you should do, how to do it and what you need.
Why is running important?
Few will start by discussing the benefits of running. Why did you decide to start running? Whether you have taken it for relieving stress, losing weight, or just to stay fit, you will find that it has many benefits. Studies have shown that the health benefits of running are limitless.
- Physical benefits:
Running, like any other exercise, is a great way to reduce stress and mild depression. It also minimises the likelihood of everything from the common cold to cancer. You will find yourself feeling happy, light, active, and creative. Studies say that people who exercise regularly are happier than those who don’t.
- Metaphysical benefits:
And it doesn’t stop there; running has many metaphysical benefits as well. And you know what? – Most people start running because of these metaphysical benefits. Running is an opportunity to spend time with ourselves, to get to know ourselves better.
Suhaib Rumi explained this beautifully,
“We can spend a lifetime getting to know others yet make little to no effort in knowing ourselves. So, we find it difficult being alone as our moments of solitude are in the company of stranger”.
What we get from this is that it is very important to make time for yourself and to get to know yourself, and what better time would that be than going for a run?
How to get started
Now I will be discussing some of the most important steps on how to start running.
- Make a running plan
First, set some time aside for your running plan. 30 minutes a day, three to five times per week is more than enough for beginners. You don’t have to run for hours, but the fact that you stay consistent is what matters so set a time that is most comfortable for you.
- Take it slow
Everyone has their own pace, some run faster while some are slow. Some can run for a long time, while others have stamina issues. It’s okay not to be able to run long or fast. Take it slow, move with your own speed, with your own running form. You can start by jogging for 2 minutes and then walking. Alternate between the two and keep ongoing for as long as you can. Slowly increase your time every day.
- Focus on minutes
When you’re a beginner, it doesn’t matter how many miles you run. What matters is the minutes. Increase your minutes slowly every day and as I mentioned before, don’t rush it.
Gradually, you will notice that you’re covering more ground than before in the same amount of time. This is when you’ll know to increase your running duration.
- Your body needs rest
So, your first run went well, and now you are pumped to do it again the next day. Sounds great, but trust me it isn’t. Your body needs time to recover so you can continue your runs and stay consistent.
Schedule your running in such a way that you run one day and rest the next day. Remember, consistency is important.
Choose the correct path
Running on different paths can have different effects on your body. Let’s discuss these
Fast running is perfect on this type of surface. There is little chance of you twisting your ankle and falling. However, this kind of path is hard on your joints. So, it’s best for light runners with a good form.
A park provides perfect cushioning for your steps and is not that hard on your joints, but then there is a risk of falling because of rocks, bumps, and roots.
- Hilly terrain:
Running up a hill is good for toning your thighs, but it can be very difficult for beginners. So, it’s best to avoid it until you are in good shape and have been running for some time.
The treadmill provides you with perfect cushioning, but you need to change your form for it as the belt is moving beneath your feet.
What gear to use
You don’t need much for running, but concentrate on getting right what you do need;
Having a good and comfortable pair of running shoes is very important. If your shoes are uncomfortable and too hard, then you won’t be able to run for long, and you will experience a bad foot ache or shin-splints. You might even fall and injure yourself so be careful of which pair of shoes you buy. Make sure you feel comfortable in them. My top advice is to go to a professional running store and get properly measured. If they are really good, they should get you to run on a special treadmill that can view your running style.
Socks are very important as they prevent blisters. It’s best if you go for a sock that covers your ankle as sometimes the shoe rubs on it. Get a breathable pair of socks.
Music keeps you motivated, so keep a music player with you. Make a playlist that pumps you up and listen to it while running. You will run longer if you listen to music. There are some great running playlists that help set your pace, using the right BPM.
- Water bottle:
Keeping yourself hydrated is very important. So, keep a water bottle with you and drink water in the small breaks you take. You sweat a lot when you’re running so drinking water is necessary to prevent dehydration.
Having a timing device is also very essential. You can buy a timing device or just use your phone. Many runners use fitness trackers or smart watches.
What not to worry about
Beginners worry about two things when they start running: Leg cramps and side stitches.
- Leg cramps:
These are totally normal. Having leg cramps means you’re doing it right and it will be bad for a day or two, but it will get better, I promise. Don’t worry too much about these at first – just make sure you are wearing good quality, well-fitting running shoes.
- Side stitches:
Side stitches are a real party pooper. Slouching your back can cause these spasms, so when you feel it coming, take a deep breath and hold your tummy in.
Stay Motivated and Love Yourself!
Don’t be discouraged when you see other people running faster or further than you. They would have started where you are now. Have a clear goal in your mind and strive to reach that point. You will get there if you stay consistent.
It doesn’t matter that you are taking a lot of time, what matters is that you are trying to reach that point. So keep working every day, and you’ll notice a huge difference in no time. You can do this, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.