New to running?
Don’t worry– everyone has to start somewhere! Even the best of the best started off slowly. Running is one of the simplest and yet most challenging workouts you can do, and is widely renowned for its calorie-torching benefits. One hour of running at a pace of 12 minutes per mile burns 528 calories for someone who weighs 150 pounds, and the more you weigh and the faster you run the higher that total climbs.
Running boosts cardiovascular health, lowers stress, and increases longevity, but it’s still intimidating enough that new runners still sometimes have a hard time getting off the sofa and get moving. As deceptively simple as running seems, there are thousands and thousands of different websites out there telling you how to do it, advertising diet and weight-loss and marathon training plans, selling shoes for over and under and extra pronators (whatever that means)– it’s pretty intimidating for someone who’s just looking to burn off a few extra hamburgers! However, when you get down to it, the foundation for running can be narrowed down to a few simple things:
- Start slowly. It’s tempting to start off sprinting as hard and fast as you can until you collapse, but that only increases your chances of burnout and injury. Don’t be embarrassed if you’re moving slowly and still have to take walk breaks; there are entire plans, like Couch-to-5k, that revolve around taking walk breaks to increase your endurance overall. It’s not just about speed, either; don’t increase your mileage by more than 10% per week to avoid injuring yourself.
- Wear the right shoes. Running shoes that offer adequate support are vital to any new runner’s career. You don’t have to spring for the flashiest, newest model on the market; just find a pair of sneakers designed for running and, if at all possible, work with a sales clerk to find out your unique running style and to determine your heel strike and if you need shoes designed for an over- or under-pronator (whether you turn your feet in or out when you run). And don’t forget the socks! Blisters are not fun to run on.
- Keep hydrated! Especially in the summer, make sure you’re drinking enough water to prevent dizziness and fainting. Running is a high-intensity exercise, and you need to replace all the water your body has lost via sweat.
- Motivate yourself. While running does lead to weight-loss and increased fitness, those results won’t be immediately visible. Set those as your long-term goals, and in the meanwhile use apps like Nike+, Runkeeper, or just plain old pencil and paper to keep a log of your miles in order to see how far you’ve come. During your run, bring an iPhone or mp3 player to listen to music– finding a song with a beat works wonders to keep those feet pounding the pavement. If you know your average pace, you can input it into jog.fm in order to find songs that will match up perfectly with you. Another great way to motivate yourself is to sign up for a race; most beginners set their eyes on a 5k first. Here at Will Run for Bling and Charity, you can even sign up for a virtual race like the No Work on Labor Day Virtual Run instead of a more traditional one and complete it on your own turf and time.
Before you know it, your runs will get longer, your walk breaks will get shorter, and you’ll be reaping the rewards of the amazing exercise running can provide. What are you waiting for?