Running is one of the best and easiest sports to do to lose weight. On average, an adult would lose around 700 calories if they ran for an hour. Running is also beneficial for your mental health, allowing you to be outside, closer to nature, and enabling you to keep your mind off whatever that’s troubling you for the duration of the run.
However, just like any sport or form of exercise, it can sometimes be difficult to get into running if you are a beginner.
Experts at Runner’s World have shared their tips on how you can more easily get into running and, after the first few runs, start to implement the sport into your weekly routine.
The first step is, of course, to buy some comfortable running clothes and shoes as feeling good in your outfit will make you more likely to want to go outside and start running.
The right shoes will also reduce your risk of injury and help improve your running performance.
Next, it is a good idea to make a plan to motivate yourself to run regularly, turning the exercise into a habit.
According to Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit, every habit is made of a group of cues, a reward, and a routine.
In this instance, the cues could be a time, a place, music, or other people, while the reward could be chocolate, a massage, or your favourite drink, and the routine is the workout.
Charles recommended writing down your cues and rewards and putting your plan up somewhere that you can see.
Running at the same time of day and listening to the same music while running, or before running, will help turn the exercise into a habit.
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After the run, don’t be afraid to treat yourself to something you enjoy, so that your brain associates exercise with an immediate reward.
Additionally, building up a support system will help motivate you to run, especially on the days when the weather is not as good and you can’t be bothered to leave the house.
Running with friends or participating in a group or park run can help with motivation, make your run more interesting, and, more importantly, make you feel good.
Another habit to get into that will make you feel good is to track your miles, using an app like Strava on your phone or a running watch, so that you can see your progress.
If you’re completely new to running, Runner’s World advised walking first for 30 minutes as your first workout session to get your body moving.
For the first two weeks, it is a good idea to do 30 minutes of non-running related exercises every day for five days, before beginning to run on the third week.
As a beginner, don’t push yourself too hard: start off by walking for five minutes, then running for one minute and walking for three minutes for a total of 20 minutes.
Do this about four times a week, gradually increasing the number of minutes from 20 to 25 to 40.
As the weeks progress, start running for two minutes and walking for two minutes, gradually increasing the number of minutes that you are running for and decreasing the minutes you are walking for, until you are not walking at all.
However, when you start being able to run three miles, or five kilometres, it is still a good idea to walk for five minutes before and after the run to warm up and warm down.
But, when increasing mileage, remember that slow and steady should be your motto: experts at Runner’s World advised increasing longer runs by five minutes only per week.
The experts also emphasised the importance of enjoying running, and if you go into it too hard and too soon, it’s going to make you dislike the sport very quickly.
Therefore, implementing some sort of plan and structure early on will both reduce your risk of injury and give you a sense of achievement.