Most people who love running now say some version of this about their first time out: When I first started jogging I couldn't do it for more than two minutes. I was out of breath. My body hurt, my lungs hurt and I thought: This isn't fun. But I am so happy I stuck with it because now I can run for miles and I can't imagine my life without running. Running isn't usually love at first sight. If you want to become a runner, this is important to keep in mind. Running is more of a slow love that has to grow on you, but once you catch the running bug, it's hard to shake. Here's our Beginner's Guide to Becoming a Runner!
Don't expect it to be easy.
Don't use how hard or how easy it is when you first jog as a gauge on whether or not you should become a runner. Just know right now as you read this, that starting isn't easy. You have to get your body conditioned to running before you get to a place where jogging becomes enjoyable. So you definitely don't want to judge yourself or running first time out. If you can only run for two minutes when you first start jogging, that's totally okay. Run for two, walk for 10 minutes, and repeat. Build on those numbers, running more and walking less. If you commit time to running a few times a week, you will be amazed at how quickly your body adapts and you make progress.
Go for the oh-my-gosh-I-just-ran-for-15-minutes.
While starting out can be kind of uncomfortable, you are going to love it when your body turns a corner and you realize you just jogged for 15 minutes without stopping. AND, get this: It wasn't that bad. You are going to tell everyone you know. Your excitement at doing something you didn't think you could do will start to take hold and you will feel on top of the world. Soon you will set out to run longer than 15 minutes. And this is how your love of running takes hold.
Connect with Couch to 5K.
This popular program has turned many couch potatoes into runners. Get your own day-by-day training schedule you can follow and be ready to rock your first 5k in nine weeks. Download thecouch to 5k app and it can provide you with a schedule to build up your stamina and your miles. Signing up for your first 5k race is exciting. Registering for a race several weeks in the future can motivate you to run today. Your first 5k is a great accountability partner too as you see that date marked on your calendar. Get psyched to meet new people and catch the race day energy and buzz. Good times!
Conditioning your body to run is challenging enough without adding hills right off the bat. Stack the odds in your favor and jog on flat surfaces when you are just starting.
Realize the benefits of running.
If you have always wanted to run, but you lack the oomph to start, here's a motivational list for you on the benefits of running:
- Get a great cardiovascular workout that torches calories and makes you sweat.
- Alleviate stress, boost mental clarity and improve your mood.
- Eventually you can experience runner's high ( endorphins that result from the right amount of challenge to your body)
- Hold on to those youthful looks -- fights the aging process and prevents muscle and bone loss caused by aging
- Helps improve your health by fighting disease and reducing your risk for heart attacks. Also helps with good cholesterol while lowering your blood pressure. Oh, and it boosts your immunity too.
- Gives you a sense of accomplishment and confidence.
Enjoy the simplicity.
Part of why runners love to run or jog is because you don't have to learn how to master equipment, you don't have to get to a group class at a certain time, and you don't need a membership. You don't have to buy hand weights or master choreography. You just lace up those running shoes, put on that sports bra and dash out your front door. (Well, maybe put on some other running attire too, but you get my gist.) It's a relationship for you, your running shoes and your playlist. With a little bravery, you can run in all sorts of weather too. Don't forget to notice how nice it is to be able to get in a heart-pumping workout by just leaving your house.
Buy the shoes.
Even first time runners should get the right shoes to protect your body, optimize your experience and motivate you to lace up. Spare no expense on the right running shoes. They should last you quite a while (around 300-400 miles) and they can help prevent injury. Go to a specialty running store where store personnel will watch you jog on a treadmill and advise you on the right running shoes for the individual way you run (whether your feet pronate or supinate). Plus, won't you be more motivated to jog if you have your favorite florescent pair calling to you?
Put together a great playlist.
Two words: Music motivates. Once you become a seasoned runner, you may want to enjoy the sounds of nature when you're out and about, but begin with music that revs you up. Having upbeat music can fire you up to keep at it. You will jog more and walk less.
If you catch the love of running, make sure you eat healthy, sleep well, stay hydrated, stretch after your jogs and track your progress. Tell us about your experience too. We'd love to hear from you. Run on!