Ahhh, the runner’s high. That can’t-beat, euphoric feeling at the end of a great run. Or, to be more specific, a release of feel-good endorphins. If you’re looking to start running, you’ll also feel good about the slew of benefits—like a runner’s high—that come with it.
As with any high-intensity activity, starting slow, knowing your limits, and giving your body time to rest and recover is essential for staying motivated and injury-free. Here we list eight tips for starting and improving your running routine. As with any new exercise, check with your doctor before beginning.
- Start with the right gear
The beauty of running is you don’t need a lot of expensive gear to get started. While it’s certainly out there if you wish to invest in it, all you really need is a comfortable pair of running shoes and, for women, a good sports bra.
- Walk first
Do you know the old saying, you have to learn to walk before you can run? Well, it also rings true for aspiring runners. Not only will walking help you build confidence in your journey, but it will also help you stay motivated and help to prevent injuries. Your goal is to be able to walk briskly- think power walking- for 30 minutes.
Once you are able to walk at a brisk pace for 30-minutes, you can slowly add in running. To do this, you will want to start with a short walk to get your body warmed up and your blood flowing. After about 10 minutes or so, add in one minute of comfortable running followed by two minutes of walking. Continue doing this for 15-20 minutes. Your goal is to not overdo it and finish with a 5 to 10-minute cool down.
- Increase Your Intervals
Once you have the 2-minute walk and 1-minute run down, you can continue to increase your run time while decreasing your walk time. This can be as simple as switching to a 1-minute run, 1-minute walk cadence, or a 2-minute run, 2-minute walk. The great thing about the run/walk method is you can continue challenging yourself as you go along.
- Celebrate your achievements.
Staying motivated in running is also about taking the time to celebrate your achievements. Runners aren’t born overnight, and since you started your journey, reflect on how you’ve increased your endurance. In addition, running provides substantial health benefits like lowered stress, better sleep, increased metabolism, stronger bones, strengthened muscles, improved cardiovascular health, and more.
- Take rest days.
By giving your body time to recover you’ll prevent injuries and stay motivated to continue running. The last thing you want is stress fractures, muscle tears, or the dreaded shin splints. Taking a day or two off each week to let your body recover, will do you good.
- Go for more than just running.
Looking to improve your pace? By adding strength training to your running routine, you’ll improve your endurance and your pace while preventing injuries that can be caused by running.
- Keep it fun.
Consistency is key when it comes to running. So finding ways to mix up your routine will help you from getting burned out. For fun ways to mix it up, join a local runner’s group, sign up for a 5K (and work your way up from there), or create your ultimate running playlist.
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