Keeping your body and mind healthy is essential so you can live a long, happy life – which is why many of us take up exercise hobbies like running, swimming, and going to the gym. Running is one of the most popular sports to get involved in, you can do it yourself, with minimal equipment. When you’re just getting started, it can seem impossible – it’s tiring and hard to stay motivated. Here are a few running tips for beginners to help you get the most from the sport.
Benefits of running
Running is one of the best sports you can take part in – it comes with a range of benefits that can improve both your physical and mental health. If you’re thinking about taking up running, but you’re still not sure, here are a few benefits that can help you make your decision.
- Good for your joints: There is an age-old myth that goes with running – that it ruins your knees. This is untrue, in fact, it couldn’t be further from the truth! Running helps to strengthen your bones and increase density, allowing us to remain strong as we age.
- Weight management: Weight loss is one of the reasons why many of us start running and is one of the benefits that come with it. If you’re looking to drop a few pounds by getting active and improving your lifestyle, running can get your heart rate up and help you burn extra calories.
- Helps manage stress: Running is just as good for your mind as it is for your body. You can soothe feelings of stress by heading out for a run and feeling the wave of endorphins that come with it to improve your mood.
- Enjoy nature: Running is one of the best ways to explore nature. You can choose a route that allows you to run through your favourite areas, so you can soak in the natural surroundings.
- Sense of achievement: When you start running, you can set yourself goals to accomplish within a certain time. When you reach these goals, you will be filled with a sense of achievement, boosting your confidence, and resulting in added motivation.
How to get started
If you’re a beginner that’s never run before – it can be daunting. How do you make it over a distance without becoming tired, panting for air, and having to stop completely? Well, there are a few ways that you can get started and reduce the initial struggle. Here are some tips to help.
This is an essential part of any runner’s routine. Warming up gets your blood pumping and prepares your body for the strenuous activity ahead. You can carry out various running drills, stretches and activities to prevent injury and enhance your overall performance. Warming up is particularly important when you are running in cold weather.
Every runner needs fuel in the tank to perform at their best. You wouldn’t drive your car with insufficient petrol, so why would you go for a run with no energy? You’ll need to ensure you have a supply of glycogen stored in your body before you head out for your run – this is the substance that converts to glucose to use as fuel so you can power through your run. If you’re running for an hour or longer, make sure you have eaten enough in the lead-up – think of an extra snack an hour or so before you go to ensure you can keep your endurance and pace up.
Go further not faster
When you’re first starting, it is best to focus on endurance rather than pace. There is no point racing off if you can only keep it up for a minute or so, and it’s less likely to be enjoyable! Try and focus on the distance covered rather than how fast you’re going. Start with an easy run, keep your pace conversational and see how far you can cover. You can either gradually increase your distance to see how far you can go or increase your pace to cover a certain distance – whichever will help you towards your goal!
Running takes time and getting used to your pace and building up both speed and distance happens gradually – not just overnight. It’s essential that you stick to your goals and try not to be put off if you have a bad day. There are so many factors that can impact a run – weather, fatigue, stress – so don’t worry if you have one bad session. Regroup, have a rest and head out next time with the mentality to do better. Don’t forget to reflect on how far you’ve come!