A significant number of people are unsure of how to start running, especially if they’ve never been runners. Perhaps you go for walks quite often, but when you try to run, you can’t do it for longer than one or two minutes. You see endurance runners whizzing by you on your walks, and you wish you were running like they are.
You might be asking yourself, How can I run longer with good endurance? Or How can I run faster with proper form?
Before we get into some tips on how to start running if you’re a beginner, let’s discuss the benefits of becoming a runner.
Health and Fitness Benefits of Running
Running is linked to many health benefits, and it’s also one of the best and most effective exercises for weight loss. Whether you’re doing progression runs, long endurance runs, or high-intensity runs, having the right routine and mindset is crucial to the process.
Doing cardio regularly is important for weight loss and overall health. Going on runs is one of the best types of cardio, especially since you can go for a run outside and enjoy beautiful nature trails and ambience while you run.
Once you become a runner, you’re going to notice many positive changes in your overall wellness, body, and mood. Running regularly has also been known to reduce heart risk disease up to 45%. Besides that, it can help improve your lung capacity, keeping your lungs healthier and functioning optimally. In addition to that, this sport also increases metabolism, decreases the risk of osteoporosis, and lowers cholesterol levels.
Aside from the physical benefits such as weight loss and fitness, running is a great way to reduce stress and improve your mental state. Running increases concentrations of norepinephrine, a chemical that helps moderate the brain’s response to stress.
How to Start Running: Use Fitness Apps to Motivate You
Mobile apps designed for beginner runners can drastically revolutionize the way you train to become a runner, and significantly reduce the time you need to condition your body to run.
Apps like C25K (the Couch to 5K running app) and other fitness apps like that one will create customised running schedules and routines for you that fit your goals. Running apps will guide you through the strategies and habits you have to follow, from strength and sprint interval training to conditioning and building endurance. All the while, the app will monitor your vitals. Running apps are a valuable addition to a beginner runner’s arsenal.
The Couch to 5k run app involves a strategic plan on how to start running. The plan is to get new runners from having no running experience at all, to being able to complete 3.1 miles, or a 5k. This is typically achieved in nine weeks if you follow the app’s plan. Other fitness apps that track your steps, vitals and progress are also very helpful for beginner runners.
Run to the Beat: Music Playlists for Runners
Music is one of the greatest motivators for runners. Many athletes use music as a stimulus during their runs. Creating a playlist can go a long way in regulating your mental and psychological endurance. Music will help you keep your pace and tempo, as you’ll choose songs that you can run to the beat of. (Preferably no slow songs!)
You can get strategic by setting a playlist of the same duration as your run so that when you’re at those final stretches you have the necessary energy and motivation to keep going and achieve your goal.
Some beginner runners find that at first, they can only run for one minute before they need to take a walking break. However, since your favourite song is likely 3 or 4 minutes long, you can induce mental stamina by becoming determined to keep running until that song is over. It’s okay to take walking breaks while you’re learning how to start running for longer. Music will definitely help you time yourself so that your running spurts become longer and longer. You might start with the goal of running for the duration of one song, and increase that duration to two songs before you need a walking break, and so on.
Stick to a Run Schedule
Running at the same time every day, as part of a running schedule, will help you get into the habit of running. Starting your day with a run will give you the endorphins you need to maximize your mood and performance for the rest of the day. Hit the ground running, so to speak.
Triggers or cues are an excellent way to ensure that you stick to your running routine. These are simply reminders that your brain associates with running. For example, if your routine is to always go for a run after breakfast, the act of eating breakfast is your brain’s cue to get ready for a run. Similarly, if you enjoy a sunset run, the time of day associated with the sunset is your brain’s cue to start putting on those running shoes. Going for your run at the same time every day helps you form a habit and stick to it.
Find a Training Buddy or Accountability Partner
Learning how to start running can be a daunting and solitary challenge when you’re first starting. Having someone to run with or having an accountability partner can push you beyond your perceived limitations. Whether it’s by increasing your motivation by having someone supporting and motivating you, or it’s a friendly competition, this could be exactly what you need to push yourself.
Many of us struggle with being self-motivated, especially when it comes to exercise. It really helps to have someone you are accountable to because they’re learning how to start running with you. Their goals are similar to your goals, and you’ll make a pact not to let each other slack off. Since many people have fitness and weight loss goals themselves, it shouldn’t be too hard to find someone to be your running buddy.
There will be days when you simply don’t feel like running. Perhaps you’re tired, sad, or the weather is bad. Whatever your excuses maybe, your running partner will still need you to show up. Being accountable for others and not just yourself can push you out of your comfort zone. This is especially true if the two of you made a pact such as, “No excuses, rain or shine.”
Have a Destination in Mind
Running with a specific destination in mind is great for mental motivation. For example, if you figure out a running route that involves a destination, you’ll be more likely to stick to the duration you’ve set out in your goals. Find a destination such as a beautiful lake, park or landmark that is about an hour away from your starting point. This destination serves as both a motivator and a reward. Speaking of reward-based motivation, it helps to have a reward in mind after your runs, such as a yummy smoothie or a bubble bath.
Buy the Proper Running Gear
One of the most important things for a new runner is buying the right running shoes. Instead of going to the Nike store and arbitrarily choosing a pair of runners, go to a speciality running store for a fitting. Get help from the sales staff to find a running shoe that fits you right.
You’ll also want to get the right socks and workout clothing for endurance runs. Find breathable workout attire that suits the weather conditions where you live.
Once you have the right running attire, a schedule in mind, some helpful apps and a great playlist, you’ll already be feeling more confident to become a runner.
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