It’s no secret that running can have a positive effect on your stress levels, immune system, and overall health, but how do you start running? How should you begin?
How to get into running – and fall in love with the sport – doesn’t it have to be hard. After all, running is a simple sport. You don’t need a gym membership, machines, or much equipment. To start running, all you need is a good pair of running shoes, comfortable clothing, and a running watch to help you track your pace, heart rate, and your progress. To make it even simpler, here’s our guide How to Start Running for Beginners – with some simple steps and advice for sticking to your running routine. Read set… run!
A beginner’s guide to running
Get started with running
One of the best things about running is that, unlike in other sports, you don’t need a lot of equipment to get started. But, while it might seem like a pair of running shoes is all that you’ll need, smart choices and a few other items can make your workouts a little more enjoyable and productive.
Here are a few items to consider before you start running:
1. Choose the right running shoes for you
Whether or not you already own an old pair of running shoes or not, if you’re serious about starting a running program, you’ll need to invest in a good pair of running-specific shoes.
Visit a running specialty store where you can run in several different pairs on a treadmill before deciding on a model. Employees may also recommend specific models after watching you run and determining how your foot strikes the ground. The shoe you select should also match your overall fitness level and goals.
2. pick Running-specific Clothing
Sure, you can run in any old pair of shorts and a basic t-shirt.
But the truth is the more you run, the more you’ll appreciate technical, moisture-wicking fabrics made for runners. These clothes are also lightweight, built to keep you cool and dry in warm weather, plus they won’t irritate the skin. You should also consider a hat if you’re running in the sun and a sports bra if you’re a woman.
3. Learn to Listen to YOUR Heart
4. find the perfect playlist
When beginners start running, there will be plenty of mental hurdles you’ll need to get past as you increase your mileage. Listening to music, a podcast, or an audiobook while you run can help you relax and make the difficulty of a new activity a little easier to deal with.
plan your first running workouts
The following basic principles are good rules to abide by as you start to incorporate a running exercise plan into your weekly workouts.
start running easy
Instead, start with a walking routine that includes short amounts of running. Do this even if it feels easy!
Depending on your fitness, your first workouts should look something like this:
Increase Mileage gradually
Slowly, week by week, up the challenge: Shorten the recovery time so that you run half of the time, walk the other half. Then run for one minute, and recover by walking only until you are ready to run again.
When you start running regularly, it’s not really all that important how fast you run or how long you run for. What matters is that you don’t always run at the same pace. This way, you allow your body to adapt to hard efforts by giving it sufficient recovery – and it also keeps training more interesting!
Then, increase your total walking/running mileage by no more than 10 percent each week, while gradually beginning to focus on your running technique, such as cadence.
make a plan – Running program for Beginners
Keep in mind the following basic principles when preparing a running plan:
Pace Yourself: start running at the Right Pace
One of the main reasons beginners feel running is a tough, uncomfortable activity is that they usually don’t run at right pace. Oftentimes, they might start running too fast and feel exhausted too early after just a a couple of kilometers. Or they always run at the same middle-of-the-road intensity and soon feel stagnant in their training – and can ultimately lead to quitting running altogether. Proper pacing in running means running at the right intensity.
An effective running program must include different types of workouts and runs with varying distance and duration, and more importantly, different intensity. Variety is what makes your running plan effective – and keep it fun, too!
Some workouts should be short and intense, some long and light, and some can even be long and tough. Easy runs build your aerobic fitness, and your muscular and skeletal strength, whereas speed workouts help you improve your running economy, form, and leg speed.
For each workout and run, you should make sure you’re performing at your optimal pace. Pacing yourself helps you manage how much energy you throughout the duration of the workout and ensures you invest the needed amount of work to help you progress in your career as a runner.
Pacing yourself sounds easy enough, but it can be hard to if you’re going slow enough on easy days and fast enough on hard days. One smart technique to run at the right pace is to determine your heart rate zones. Your heart rate is one of the best indicators of how hard your body is working during a workout.
Find Out your Heart Rate TRaining Zones
Unlike a purely subjective evaluation of intensity and effort, your heart rate is a number you can measure, just like speed and distance. And because it’s a number, it can easily prevent you from running your long runs too fast, at a high heart rate.
A treadmill stress test in a lab will determine your maximum heart rate, but you can simulate a test on your own with a heart-rate monitor, like Polar watches and heart rate sensors. Polar’s Running Performance Test will guide you to gradually increase your speed until you’re running as fast as you can. Your heart rate at the end should be close to your maximum heart rate and maximum effort.
Once you’ve established your estimated maximum heart rate, you can find your heart rate or training zones.
Cross-training: Get Strong, Avoid Injury
Believe it or not, you don’t always need to go for a run to become a better a runner. Different sports and activities will help you run more and harder. Cycling, swimming, rowing, or simply walking will help you develop different skills and strengths, and give your joints and muscles the rest they need from the stress caused by running.
Choosing your workouts depends on your goals: for example, do you want to develop your cardio, are you looking to become stronger, or do you feel like you need to add mobility to your body? And remember that working out is not just about becoming better, physically, at a sport – you should be having fun, too! Because if you don’t enjoy what you do, then chances are it will become harder and harder with time to make yourself do it, no matter how motivating your goal is. So whatever exercise form you choose, find one you enjoy!
For the runners wanting to develop their cardiovascular fitness and their endurance to run longer distances, there are plenty of great options.
Please note that the information provided in the Polar Blog articles cannot replace individual advice from health professionals. Please consult your physician before starting a new fitness program.