Do you want to start running but you’re just not sure how to get started? It can be a little bit daunting if it’s not a form of exercise you’ve really participated in before.
And the thing is, when it comes to running, you can’t just throw yourself into it expecting to be a world-class running champion from day one. Running for extended periods of time requires you to slowly build up your stamina; trying to run flat out straight away may result in an injury.
But how do you get started? Let’s find out.
Why start running?
Regular exercise in general is hugely beneficial to your overall health. It improves your cardiovascular health, effectively lowering your risk of numerous health conditions. But running also comes with its own collection of health benefits.
It increases bone density
Running is a weight-bearing exercise and a high-impact one at that. When that additional stress is put on your bones, it stimulates them to strengthen. Running also encourages the body to produce more bone-building hormones.
The stronger your bones, the less likely you are to break or fracture them.
It increases muscle strength
Running is a full-body workout, meaning you’re targeting your legs, core, and upper body - all at once! You’re sure to feel stronger in no time at all.
It’s great for your mental health
Ask any runner why they run, and you’re sure to find that it’s not just for physical fitness. You’ll probably find them saying it makes them feel better - happier, less stressed, and have fewer low-energy days. Runner’s high is totally a thing!
Getting out in the fresh air is a fantastic way to reduce stress, and can even help with mental health disorders like depression and anxiety. It can also do wonders for boosting confidence - especially when you start hitting those running goals you set for yourself.
Note: If you are experiencing depression or anxiety, do not rely on running as your only treatment. Speak to your doctor.
It improves your overall health
Regular running can:
- Lower your blood pressure
- Regulate your glucose
- Reduce the risk of cancer
- Improve cognitive function
- Help you lose weight and keep it off
How do you want to run?
This is the big decision - treadmill or outdoor running? Treadmill running means you have more control over your run - there’s no wind (apart from those gym fans), no uneven pavement to contend with, and you can control your speed and incline.
Outdoor running tends to build strength quicker, as the outdoor elements add an additional challenge to your body - plus it can be hugely beneficial to get out in nature.
Once you choose where to run, you can get to how to run.
Keep in mind that if you have pre-existing issues with your joints, you may find it more beneficial to participate in a different form of exercise, or keep the pace at a walk.
If you find yourself dealing with an injury, make sure you get in contact with a Perth physiotherapy clinic to help manage your pain and rebuild your strength.
How to get started with running
Get the right shoes
You’ve got to start with the right equipment - and that means getting the right running shoes. Go in-store and chat with the experts to find the right shoes for you and your gait.
Make sure you warm up
This is really important, especially if you’ve never run before. Warming up is the best way to prevent injury. Whichever stage you’re up to, make sure you do a gentle walk and some stretches before setting out. If you’re a total beginner, start with walking
You may need to build up your stamina, and that is totally fine. Try walking for the first week, and increase your speed and distance each day. Aim for three days a week to start with and work your way up to going more frequently.
Once you’re feeling a little fitter, you can start with some intermittent jogging.
Let’s start running
Time to get to it - but we’re not running non-stop straight away. The best way to build up your stamina is to alternate running and walking.
If you’re a total beginner, start by running for 10-30 seconds, and then walking for 1-2 minutes. Repeat this for the entire duration of your run. Duration is totally up to you, but it’s important to not push yourself too hard. Be mindful of your limits and stop before you’ve run yourself into the ground (pun intended). It’s recommended to do 20 to 30 minutes 3-5 days per week.
As you start feeling a bit more comfortable with running, you can increase the duration of running. Run for 1-5 minutes and then walk for 1-2 minutes. Once you’re comfortable with that, run for 6-8 minutes and then walk for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Ensure you’re using the right form
In the beginning, sometimes just managing to run at all is enough. But as you get a little more comfortable with running, start paying attention to your posture and form. Ensuring you’re using the right form will also help with injury prevention.
Here’s what to remember:
- Keep your posture upright. We don’t want any hunching here! Head up, shoulders level and relaxed, back upright. It’s easy when you’re tired to start leaning forwards or backwards, but try to prevent that by straightening your spine or switching to walking for a bit.
- Check out your footstrike. Are you landing more on your heel? Or on your toes? If it’s on your heels, you’re taking longer steps than you need to. If you’re on your toes, it may mean the opposite, and you might find yourself with sore calves. Try and hit somewhere in the middle.
The best thing to do is just start
It’s time to get out there! The best thing to do is to just start. Make sure you’re hydrating and effectively fuelling your body, and enjoy the runner’s high!