For most, running is not something that’s enjoyable. However, the number of people taking up the sport is quickly growing, and for good reason. There are many benefits to running– it’s one of the most effective methods of weight loss, it’s very inexpensive (compared to a gym membership), and you can do it anywhere. So where do you start? Running can have a huge payoff for your fitness, but if you don’t go about it the right way, you may end up being hurt. Here are a few tips to get you up and running.
Get the Right Gear
One of the best things about running is that you don’t need much. You can run in just about any clothing, as long as you’re comfortable– trial and error are the best way to figure out what works for you. However, the one corner you don’t want to cut is in the shoe department. Having the wrong shoes will almost certainly lead to injury. Everyone has different body structure, so what works for a friend might be the worst option for you. The best way to find shoes that work with your body are to go to a specialty running store. Have an employee watch you run. They’ll watch how your foot lands and give you some choices of shoes based on your gait.
The reason most people don’t last long in the running world is because they get burned out. It’s easy to get discouraged when you’re not getting any faster and the runs don’t feel any easier. Keep this in mind; it takes 12-15 days for your body to rebuild muscle tissue. So you won’t feel the benefits of running for at least two weeks. With that in mind, be patient. Run for 10 minutes a day, 3-4 days a week. Then run 5 days a week. Then run 15 minutes a day. The key is just to build up slowly and realize that progress will come if you keep at it, which brings us to the next point…
Consistency is paramount when starting out. It doesn’t matter if you run for 5 minutes a day, or if you only run 3 days a week; just make sure you keep a schedule. It’s a lot harder to start running than it is to keep running, so if you stay consistent, it will get easier and easier. Try running at the same time every day, and the same days each week. That way, you can pick a time that works– before work, or in the evenings– so you don’t have the excuse “I just don’t have time to tun.” Make running a priority, and this will be easier than you might think.
Take Someone With You
The easiest way to stay consistent? Have someone to hold accountable. It’s easier to get out the door when you know someone is relying on you to get through their run. Even taking the dog for a run helps. It’s just nice to have someone there, and it makes the run feel easier. Plus, your dog won’t complain when he gets hot or tired. Dogs are also great listeners, so feel free to let him know how your day went.
The hardest part of running is getting started. Whether your goal is weight loss, general fitness, or another hobby, running’s benefits are undeniable.
Image: Flickr.com/Ed Yourdon