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Creating a lighter, healthier you is a multi-step process. One of the most important steps, and the main focus of this section, is exercise. Here we explore everything from the benefits of exercise to how much and how often it is necessary to promote weight loss.

How to Start Running for Beginners

Whether wanting to try a new exercise or looking to get back on track, run towards health with these 10 running tips for beginners!

How to Start Running for Beginners

You may either love it, hate it, fall somewhere in between, or may have never neared the starting line. But despite feelings toward running, it boasts great physical and health benefits to its devotees.

Whether it may trying something new or getting back on track, run towards health with these 10 running tips for beginners!

10 Tips for Beginner Runners

First and foremost, always check with a doctor before starting any sort of regimen. This especially serves true if managing a health condition such as diabetes.

They are likely to encourage and support your decision, but it is important to verify as a safety measure. Following their stamp of approval, learn how to start running with these helpful tips.

1. Wear the Right Attire

Since feet are going through abrupt forces against the pavement, they deserve the right support and comfort. That being said, a good pair of shoes, socks, and running gear are essential for a good running regimen.

Experts at running stores can assist in determining the proper shoe for your foot type. They also take into consideration necessary support, cushion, and durability.

2. Remember, Easy Does It

Now that you look and feel the part, take it easy in the initial stages. While wanting to go for a long run may be ambitious, it may increase the risk injury as well.

Remember there are several processes the body needs to endure and adapt for. These include aerobic capacity, breathing techniques, and muscle stimulation and growth.

Once that footing has been established, begin alternating between bouts of a run and walk. Walking or jogging up hills and steps further strengthen the legs and lungs.

3. Concentrate on Form

The motions and acts of running may seem like a mindless movement. However, the motion is much more than continuously striking your feet on the pavement. Understanding the mechanics and formations can not only prevent injury but make you a more efficient runner.

The body mechanics of running involves the entire body, including special attention to:

• Posture: Run tall with your head up, back straight, and shoulders level. Rather than focusing on your feet or ground, look straight ahead about 10 to 20 feet in front of you.

• Foot-to-Ground Contact: Land on the middle of your feet and roll through to the front of the toes. Keep toes as straight as possible and pointing them to the direction you want to go, too. Ultimately, try avoiding toe running and heel striking.

• Arm Swing: Ideally, arms should be bent at about 90 degrees and the hands lightly clasped. Your hands should naturally swing front to back around the waistband in a relaxed motion. The arms should avoid crossing the body, as doing so likely impacts safe running mechanics.

• Rhythm: Think of running like dancing. Be relaxed, yet postured and allow the natural flow of each stride to naturally guide you.

4. Begin a Running Schedule for Beginners

It does take time and effort to notice changes regarding speed and duration. That being said, staying consistent is fundamental to gain the greatest running success. Having a running schedule offers structure and helps with consistency.

A running schedule for beginners likely includes two to four runs weekly. It may entail walking for two minutes then jogging for another two as well. As strength builds, increase running intervals and shorten walk breaks.

Also start at a slow-to-moderate pace or a pace in which a conversation can be held. Increase speed and duration about every two weeks.

5. Always Warm-Up and Cool-Down

Always warm up muscles and joints you plan to work, as stretching cold muscles is dangerous and counter-productive. Warm-up for about five to 10 minutes, or a period of time to get the blood and oxygen flowing. Common warm-up methods include brisk walking, light jogging, jumping jacks, or pedaling a stationary bike.

Following a warm-up, stretch the loosened muscles to make them more flexible. Do dynamic stretches, or slow and controlled movements, rather than remaining still and holding them. Dynamic stretches may include arm circles, leg raises, hip rotations, and yoga poses.

After a run, a light, 10-minute cool-down allows the heart rate to decline back to normal. It encourages blood flow and removes lactic acid from the body, too. While the muscles are still warm, end with "static" for up to 30 seconds at a time. Other ways to stretch include a gentle walk or foam rolling.

6. Embrace the Buddy System

If you can make yourself get up, tie up running shoes, and get out there consistently, all the power to you! But as in many aspects of life, a buddy system can assist in tying the shoes and crossing the finish line.

A running partner can keep you motivated and accountable to wake up and run or tackle it following a long day. Local running groups and social media apps with users across the world can also fuel motivation while building connections with others.

7. Complement and Fuel with Nutrition

People often seek out running to lose weight, only to notice no physical changes. (And maybe even gain weight rather than weight loss!) This mostly occurs to overcompensating with food, as they tend to justify that piece of cake for a few miles ran. This sort of mentality can create a caloric gain rather than a deficit, ultimately leading to weight gain.

Eating enough is likewise as important. Restricting calories and nutrients will likely plummet energy levels and compromise a good run. A pre-workout snack can help fuel a run, keep blood sugars stable, and prevent against pesky post-exercise cravings.

Consume at least 30 to 60 minutes before exercising to prevent an upset stomach and side stitches. Choose an easy-to-digest carb and protein such as a banana with peanut butter or cottage cheese and berries.

Finding that balance may be challenging, but a dietitian can help determine nutrition needs suitable for personal goals and needs.

8. Do Not Only Run

You may be running towards the recommended 150 minutes of aerobic activity each week, which is a great goal! However, running 30 minutes to an hour most days and calling it "good" is not necessarily ideal.

And though running consistently is imperative to notice progression, other activity should also be incorporated. Cross-train with other activities, including biking and swimming, at least once a week. Doing is valuable to enhance muscles' range of motions and can accelerate your running progress.

Include a strength training plan as well to build and strengthen muscles. Strong muscles can help you run faster and for longer distances, all while supporting a healthy metabolism.

9. Allow Rest

Despite the ambition and motivation to stay consistent, allowing rest days are just as essential. Offering rest to your body gives it the change to essentially heal itself and continuously adapt to the physical movements.

Especially at the beginning stages, run only a couple to a few days each week. Allowing yourself to adjust as tolerated but rest as needed.

10. Have Fun!

And last, but certainly not least… Have fun!

Embrace your new journey and thoroughly enjoy it. Because without enjoyment towards the exercise of choice, crossing the finish line is harder (maybe even doubtful) to occur!

Christy Zagarella's Photo
Written By Christy Zagarella, MS, RDN. Medically reviewed By Jenni Berman, PA-C. Published on August 21, 2017. Updated on August 12, 2019.


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