Want to Get Into Running? Here’s How You Can Start
Running is as easy as fitness workouts get - or at least as inexpensive as they get. You don’t need a fancy gym membership and you need minimal equipment. A good pair of running shoes is recommended.
Yet, “easy” isn’t what many people would refer to running as. In fact, I’ve had many friends say they want to get into running - but they don’t know how or where to start. I’ve also had other friends say that there’s absolutely no way I will ever see them sprinting past me on the trials - which is fair. Each to their own.
But if you’re one of the few that have been wanting to get into running, you’ve come to the right place. Maybe you’re tired of your other fitness workouts. Or maybe you want to save a little money. Or perhaps you’ve seen runners jogging by on the regular and you’ve been curious.
Here’s how you can get started:
1. Buy a Good Pair of Running Shoes
If you’re serious about this, invest in a solid pair of runners. Pick something with cushion - not Nike Frees, not Keds, not Converse. Talk to the experts at your nearest athletic equipment store. They will help you find a good pair. This is the only expense you’ll have to pay (unless you sign up for races) and it’s entirely worth it. A good pair of running shoes lowers your chances of getting injured. In turn, you won’t become discouraged or give up on running altogether.
2. Try the Walk-Run Method
If you’re just starting out, you’ll want to work on your endurance. The walk-run method is a great starting point for beginners. It gives you a little break and you slowly build. Here’s how you do it:
Walk for the first 5 minutes. It’ll get you warmed up!
Pick a ratio that is comfortable for you. For example, starting with running for 30 seconds and walking for 1 minute is suitable for those just getting started. Other popular options include 1:1 - run 1 minute, walk 1 minute - and 1:1:30 - run 1 minute, walk 1 minute and 30 seconds.
Pick a duration you want to run for. Start with 20-30 minutes. Gradually building this will reduce your risk of injuries.
Eventually, the idea is that you want to reduce your walking time and build your running time - but in a slow and gradual climb. Too much, too soon may result in serious discouragement and - you guessed it - injuries.
If you’re worried about setting these ratios or training plans by yourself, consider finding a plan online or purchasing a book that outlines the method off of Amazon. These can offer excellent tips for the beginner runner. And if you’re scared of going it alone, get a running buddy or consider joining a running group. Running groups offer supportive and encouraging communities that you’ll definitely want to be part of.
3. Stretch it Out Before & After Your Workout
Don’t underestimate a good stretch. Do dynamic stretching before you head out. For example, you could perform leg swings, arm swings, lunges, and air squats. When you get in from your run, do stretches for your hamstrings, quadriceps, IT band, and hip flexors. Although, you can do these stretches before and after your workout as well.
Here’s how to do ‘em:
The Hamstring Stretch
- Stand tall and step your right heel forward.
- Bend your left knee. At the same time, bend at the waist and lean forward into your right leg (while keeping it straight!).
- Hold this position for 20-30 seconds.
- Then, switch sides. You can do this stretch 2-3 times per side.
The Quadriceps Stretch
- Stand tall with a chair or wall close by for support (if needed).
- Bend your right knee and grab your right ankle with your right hand.
- Make sure to not jut the hip forward. Keep your thighs and knees parallel to each other.
- Hold this position for 20-30 seconds.
- Then, switch sides. Again, you can do this stretch 2-3 times per side.
The IT Band Stretch
- Stand facing a table or bed.
- Cross your right leg behind your left leg.
- Bend your left knee and lean your body toward your left side.
- Hold for 20-30 seconds, and again you can do this one 2-3 times per side.
The Hip Flexor Stretch
- Position yourself in a low lunge on the ground. If you have bad knees, place a pillow under your back leg. Your back knee should be under your hips and your front knee should be over top of your front ankle.
- Lean slightly forward and really try to elongate through your back leg’s hip.
- Hold the position for 20-30 seconds.
- Similar to other stretches, you can repeat this 2-3 times per side.
If you’re sore the next 24-48 hours after your run, these are excellent stretches to perform the days following your run. You can also foam roll these same muscles if they feel particularly tight.
4. Try Cross-Training
…if you want. Cross-training will help you amp up your endurance while giving your joints and muscles a much-needed break. It may, however, cost extra money. Yet, if you have a bike - cycling is a great cross-training method.
5. Hit Up New Trails or Parks
Explore your town. Find new trails and new parks. I frequently use running as an excuse when travelling to get out and explore the area by myself. You’ll be amazed at what little nooks and secret spaces you can find.
6. Track it!
Keep a running journal. Track not only your distance, duration, and walk-run ratio - but also keep track of how you feel before and after your run. This can provide future motivation. On those days where you just don’t feel like it, look back on how you felt after a previous run. If you felt great, you’ll be motivated to get out there and hit the pavement so to say.
Just Get Out There!
Give running a try. See if it’s the right fitness workout for you. It’s an excellent form of cardio exercise - meaning your heart and respiratory system will reap the benefits. All you have to do is start.
Related Article: How Exercise Improves Your Mental Resilience