Running is a great way to get fit. Not only does it enhance your cardio and helps tone your body, but it can also boost your mental health and lessen stress. Unfortunately starting a running program can be challenging, especially for beginners. But if you truly want to make running part of your get-fit routine, here are some tips and tricks to get you on your way:
Don’t go full speed just yet
Esquire’s first tip for new runners is to take it slow, lest you force your body to try and catch up. Chances are it won’t. That means you’ll slow down a lot and be constantly out of breath. The key is to give your body time to adjust. On your first run you want to start with brisk walking, then progress to slow jogging, then speed up 10 minutes later. This way you’ll be able to keep a fast pace for longer.
Get shoes for running
Getting the right running shoes is vital. The Times ultimate running guide suggests that you buy a pair from a specialist running shop. But make sure the shop offers gait analysis, too, so that the staff can recommend to you a pair of running shoes that suit your feet shape. That, surprisingly, will depend on a variety of factors, like where you’ll run, how far you’ll go, and even your weight (heavier runners may need shoes with extra cushioning). This makes it all the more important to visit a shop that specialises in running before you start.
Give the off-road run a try
Running coach Ed Norman emphasises in Men’s Health the need to iron-clad your feet, and you can do that by going off-road and running on trails. That’s because trails often have uneven terrains and running on them, in turn, is good for your feet as they put ‘more tri-planar stress on the foot tissue’. This results in stronger feet that can better handle the physical challenge of running. Fortunately for you, London has some off-road routes that you can try out. Among the best you ought to check out are Parkland Walk, Hampstead Heath, Thames Path and Vanguard Way.
Track your run
According to a Health Fitness Revolution article about fitness trackers, these gadgets can help ensure personal accountability by allowing you to monitor your progress and goals. With that in mind, you can start tracking your own runs (and overall fitness journey) using wearables like the Fitbit or the Apple Watch. You can even upgrade this tech by getting special shoes to measure your running technique, which Nurvv notes can help you benchmark your progress with more specific metrics like cadence (steps per minute), step length, and even your pronation (how your foot rolls when it impacts the ground). This way, you’ll be able to make necessary adjustments to improve the way you run, making you a more efficient runner.
Recruit your friends
Finally, look to get your friends into running, too. Having company not only makes running more enjoyable, but it also helps keep your run safer. An alternative would be to join a running club, like the SweatShop Running Community, which offers free group runs for beginners, or the Nike+ Run Club, who has running groups for every type of runner.
Staying fit doesn’t always mean just running, as there are plenty of ways to stay fit too — even if you’re busy! My article on ‘Keeping Fit at University’ notes that you can also do some yoga, or even do some exercises at your desk (otherwise known as deskercise! Regardless of what you decide to do, staying fit is something you should aim for, as it’ll allow you to live healthier and for longer.