Running is one of the best forms of cardio. You can run absolutely anywhere, whenever you want, rain or shine. Besides being an excellent calorie-burner, running increases your lung capacity and helps reduce stress. If you’re interested in adding running to your exercise plan, but have only ever run when being chased, check out these tips to go from zero to runner.
Buy new shoes
One of the best perks about running is that it’s virtually free. But don’t let this fact deter you from investing in it at all. It’s extremely important to purchase a good pair of running shoes. Not cross-trainers or tennis shoes. Shoes specifically made for running. If you visit a specialty running shoe store, someone can help fit you properly for your foot shape and running stride. Why is it important to have a good running shoe? If your shoes aren’t fitted for your running style or foot shape, it could lead to injuries such as shin splints and knee pain. It’s recommended to replace your running shoes about once every 100 miles you run.
Create a running program
The most common runners’ injuries result from going too fast or too far right off the bat. Start off really, really slow. You should include lots of walking the first several weeks. This allows your body to adjust to the physical stress of running on your muscles and mentally adjust to the challenge. Aim to walk/run 1 to 3 times a week for 30 minutes each time.
- Week One: Run 2 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Repeat 10 times.
- Week Two: Run 3 minutes. Walk 2 minutes. Repeat 6 times.
- Week Three: Run 5 minutes. Walk 2 minutes. Repeat 4 times.
- Week Four: Run 7 minutes. Walk 3 minutes. Repeat 3 times.
- Week Five: Run 8 minutes. Walk 2 minutes. Repeat 3 times.
- Week Six: Run 9 minutes. Walk 1 minute. Repeat 3 times.
- Week Seven: Run 30 minutes.
Remember to warm up and cool down before your run. Most beginners skip this step without realizing that it helps set the tone of your workout and helps prevent injury. To warm up, simply walk for a few minutes to get your muscles warm. After you finish your run, you’ll be tempted to kick up your feet on the couch and enjoy a post-workout snack. Before you do that, walk a few minutes to lower your heartrate and stretch. Running often makes your muscles tight which can lead to injury or poor form, so it’s very important to stretch when your muscles are warm. Note: stretching “cold” muscles can cause injury.
Increase your runs
Once you’re able to run for 30 minutes straight, start increasing your mileage. Remember, slow and steady wins the race. To avoid injury, it’s best to increase your mileage by no more than 10% each week. If you’re not looking to run marathons, you could start challenging yourself to pick up the pace. You can also try doing intervals, alternating a slow jog and a sprint for maximum calorie burn.