Simple tips for beginner runners
Fancy starting to jog or run, but don’t know what to do (without doing yourself more harm than good?!). Here are some helpful tips to get you started.
Running can be a fun and flexible way to exercise – it can help keep you in shape and help you lose weight too. It requires very little equipment, but a good pair of running shoes is essential.
To avoid injury and enjoy the experience, it's essential to ease yourself into running slowly and increase your pace and distance gradually over several outings. If you feel out of shape, or you're recovering from injury or worried about an existing condition, see your doctor before you start running.
Start each run with a gentle warm up of at least 5 minutes. This can include quick walking, marching on the spot, knee lifts, side stepping and climbing stairs.
Walk at first
Start walking for an amount of time that feels comfortable (anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes). Once you can walk for 30 minutes easily, include some running intervals of one to 2 minutes into your walking at a speed that feels comfortable. As time goes on, make the running intervals longer, until you're running for 30 minutes continuously.
Run with style
Run with your arms and shoulders relaxed, and elbows bent. Keep an upright posture and a smooth-running stride, striking the ground from heel to toe.
Give yourself a few minutes to cool down (to bring your heartbeat back to normal) after each run by walking followed by gently stretching your leg muscles.
Running the same route over and over again can become boring and make it easy to talk yourself into giving up!
- Vary your distances and routes.
- Join a club or find a running partner.
- Keep a diary of your runs. That way, whenever your motivation is flagging, you can look back and be encouraged by how much you've improved.
- Get your joggers or workout clothes out the night before so you are ready to go. The less you can think about it when about to start an exercise session – the less likely you will change your mind.
- Set yourself a realistic goal such as taking part in a fun run.
- Run with a friend but make sure you are both at the same running level.
- Keep a diary to document your progress or use one of the many phone apps available.
If you intend to take any action or inaction based on this information, it is recommended that you obtain your own professional advice based on your specific circumstances.