If you’re interested in running but unsure of how to get started, you’re not alone. Running is an excellent way to stay healthy, reduce stress, and improve your overall well-being, however, starting a running routine can be daunting if you’re unfamiliar with the sport.
Fortunately, this article can help you become an effective and confident runner, with tips specifically tailored for beginners. But before we delve into those tips, it’s important to understand the various benefits of running and whether it’s safe for you to start a running routine, which will ensure that you make the best decision for your health.
The Benefits of Running
Running is an exercise that offers a plethora of benefits to your overall health. Here are some reasons why you should consider taking up running if you haven’t already:
Running can add years to your life and life to your years! A study has shown that running increases lifespan, with runners having a 25 to 30 per cent lower rate of all-cause mortality compared to non-runners. Even running once a week can make a difference.
- Running is good for your mental health. It can improve your mood, reduce stress, and alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Running can improve your knees and back. Despite being an impact sport, sedentary, out-of-shape adults have worse knee and back problems than most runners. Even marathon and ultramarathon runners have lower arthritis rates than the general population, according to research.
- Running helps you lose weight and keep it off. It burns more calories than most other activities and even running slowly can still provide significant calorie burn.
Should You See a Doctor Before You Start Running?
Despite its plethora of benefits, running can be tough on your bones and joints if you’re unfit to get into this physical activity. If you’re thinking about starting a running routine, it’s important to check with your doctor first, especially if you’re over 40, have a chronic medical condition, are expecting a baby, or recuperating from an injury or illness.
Here are some other considerations to keep in mind before running:
- If you have a health condition that makes high-impact exercise risky, it’s best to talk to a health expert first as they can help you decide if running is right for you.
- If you have asthma, you can still run as staying fit is important. But if running triggers your asthma, your doctor can help you adjust your medication before you run.
- Diabetes can increase your risk of foot ulcers, so it’s important to take good care of your feet and wear proper running shoes if you ever decide to start running. A diabetes podiatrist can help you with foot care and shoe selection.
- Hormone treatments for breast, prostate, and bone cancer can increase your risk of fractures. If you’re undergoing cancer treatment, check with your oncologist before starting a running routine.
Pregnant women should aim for 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. But if you’re new to running or have pregnancy-related health issues, it’s best to check with your doctor first.
- People with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are often encouraged to exercise, and running might be a good option. But if you have joint damage in your knees or hips, your doctor may suggest a lower-impact activity. Always ask your doctor or rheumatologist if running is right for you.
- If you’re recovering from an injury or illness, you may need to adjust your running program to suit your body’s needs. Always listen to your body and work with a medical professional to ensure a safe and healthy recovery.
8 Running Tips for Beginners
If you’re new to running, these 8 tips from running experts can help you make the right decisions while you’re still starting your running journey:
Don’t make the mistake of starting out too fast!
Your body needs time to adjust to the new stresses of running. Begin at a moderate pace where you can hold a conversation. Stick to the same pace for the entire distance, and gradually increase your speed over time.
Don’t try to run the entire distance at once; start with short intervals
Break your running distance into intervals and keep them short. Don’t be afraid to walk in between intervals to recover. Experts recommend alternating between 2 minutes of jogging and 2 minutes of walking, gradually increasing your running time until you can run the entire distance without walking.
Let your body recover after each run
Schedule your training so you can run one day and rest the next. This will help avoid overuse injuries and allow your body to adapt to the new demands of running.
Work on your technique rather than focusing on running long distances.
Running is a technically challenging sport, but you can improve your form with practice. Focus on running in short, easy steps to conserve energy and prevent injury.
Consider various running surfaces.
Different surfaces offer different benefits and risks. Mix it up to avoid boredom and overuse injuries. A treadmill provides consistent cushioning but requires you to adapt your form. Asphalt is great for speed, but hard on your joints. Forest or park floors offer to cushion but have more obstacles.
Avoid eating solid food before a run and only drink in small quantities to avoid side stitches.
Side stitches are a common issue for runners. During exercise, many runners experience a sharp, transient pain that is localised and acute which is known as a side stitch. To avoid side stitches, do not eat solid food before running and drink liquids in small quantities. If the stitch strikes regardless, walk and breathe calmly until the pain subsides.
Strength training can help you run more efficiently and prevent injuries.
Running is a full-body workout, so it’s important to keep your core and other muscles in good shape. Regular strength training can improve your running performance and prevent injuries.
Enjoy a variety of exercises by cross-training.
Mixing up your workouts can reduce the strain on your joints and prevent boredom. Plus, it helps keep your love of running alive!
Running is Ideal Even for Beginners
Running is an excellent exercise that offers numerous benefits to your overall health. However, it’s important to take precautions before starting a running routine. Consulting with your doctor can help you determine if running is suitable for you, especially if you have existing medical conditions. Once you’ve decided to start running, make sure to follow these eight tips for beginners to get started on the right foot (pun intended).
If you’re looking for a pair of reliable running shoes to start your running journey, Wide Fit Shoes has high-quality footwear in a range of sizes and widths.