Running seems to be a pretty easy and simple thing to do to keep yourself in shape, but diving into this world without any experience is not always as easy as it sounds. Especially for inexperienced persons, the beginning may be hard and frustrating. Thatâ€™s why in this article I am going to tell you a few tips and tricks on how to get started.
I am 18 years old and I started running two years ago, so I may not be the best or most experienced runner around. Still, I learned how to overcome some difficulties that may come up when starting. At the time I began I was not really attracted to this sport for it seemed extremely boring, soÂ I preferred playing Basketball or Soccer instead. The problem was that I was undergoing a really stressful high school program which had me stressed out and at the same time I was trying to learn a new instrument and master a new language. I didnâ€™t really have enough time to play basketball regularly, but I also didnâ€™t want to give up on my hobby of doing sports. So I started running.
Why running?For playing Basketball I had to find people who would play with me, it was time expensive, the basketball court far away. All of these problems wonâ€™t exist when you run. Furthermore, there are a lot of additional benefits.
Benefits of running
- You can do it anywhere and anytime at your own pace.
- You donâ€™t depend on others to be able to practice running.
- Studies have shown that running can cure effectively depression.
- Health benefits include a healthy heart, boost of the immune system, lowering of high cholesterol levels,Â prevention of bone/muscle loss, prevention of diabetes, stroke or hypertension, and much more.
- Running boosts your mental health and helps you stay concentrated throughout the day.
- Anybody can do it. You don't have to be young and fit.
How to get started
The right equipmentA cool thing about running is that you donâ€™t need much equipment. Nevertheless, you should make sure that you wear comfortable clothing, and most importantly, the right shoes. There is no perfect running shoe. Everybody has to look for whatever works best for himself. I recommend you to visit your local shoe or sports store and get some proper consulting. Try out a few different shoes to see which one is best for you.
Proper running techniqueUsing a proper running form helps you prevent injury and maximize your performance. So here are some tips on your posture. Keep your head up. Try not to watch your feet or the ground all the time but look straight forward. Your back should be straight and your shoulders rolled back. This will facilitate your breathing. Keep your arms in a right angle swinging aside your body. Make sure not to hold your arms too high for that would make you lose energy. Also, try to land midfoot and roll to the tip of your foot, this prevents you from landing on your heels which can cause high stress on your knees and waist and therefore cause injury. Now breath. Breathing is one of the most important things to keep in mind while running. A wrong breathing technique can decrease your performance or even give you stitches.Â Try to maintain a steady breathing pattern throughout your whole run. For myself, I found out that inhaling for 3 steps and exhaling for 3 steps works best. Some may inhale 2 steps and exhale 4 steps. Or inhale and exhale 2 steps. I recommend to try out different techniques and find your favorite.
Start small and work yourself to greatnessSome of you may just go outside and start running, but be careful. Donâ€™t exaggerate! I recommend you to think about the course you are going to run. If you overdo it you may become frustrated real quick and quit running before you even started. First of all, see how well you perform on a short track and design your courses respectively. This way you can test your limits without exaggerating and get the most out of your running session.
How to overcome a lack of motivationI remember that sometimes it was hard to motivate myself to run. Especially when I was really stressed out or lazy. The thing is, if you skip your running routine once, maybe you would like to skip it again and again and consequently donâ€™t run at all. But I found out, the only hard thing is to start, once you started there is no turning back, at least thatâ€™s my perception on it. Running is 50% physical and 50% mental so it is important to keep yourself motivated. Here are some tips.
- Make a schedule: Once you got into a routine it will be much easier for you to get your dose of cardio on a regular basis. Personally, I used to wake up earlier on weekdays and run before school. This would also have a positive influence on my concentration during classes. I still do it now even though I already graduated.
- Track your progress: There are a lot of methods of tracking your progress. If you have a smartwatch or fitness watch, perfect. Alternatively, you can find plenty of tracking apps for your smartphone. Keeping track of your progress shows you your achievements and motivates you to improve.
- Set your goals: By telling yourself â€śI want to run 3 km in under 12 minutesâ€ť or â€ť I will run a half-marathon by the end of the yearâ€ť you are giving yourself an impulse and keeping yourself motivated. When you reach your goal set a new one. This method is really simple and extremely effective. But be careful not to set your goals too high. Itâ€™s better to go slowly step by step than trying to achieve the impossible.