For many, the thought of beginning a running journey or training for a first-time race can seem intimidating or overwhelming. With access to so much advice and exposure to numerous success stories, it’s easy to get buried in information or quickly become discouraged on your path to success.
It’s important to remember that running is a hobby that can be taken up at little to no cost and is also flexible to your schedule. Running can also include several benefits such as a healthier lifestyle, more energy, and even improved mental well-being. Below are some tips to help you get started on your journey.
- Determine your baseline. Evaluate your current fitness level. How long does it take you to complete one mile? How hard was it to finish? Keep these factors in mind as you create a plan and set your goals.
- Create a plan for your running program. Everyone’s plan is different depending on specific needs. It’s important to create a plan that works for your current fitness level and personal fitness goals. If you prefer some assistance in creating a plan that’s right for you, look to programs like Couch to 5K, Nike Run Club and other similar tools that offer pre-made plans to get started. Don’t be afraid to test a few before making your decision.
- Identify your goals. Consider your baseline and be realistic. Are you training for a 5K? Are you running to lose weight? Whatever your goal may be, view the tips to setting SMART goals below to help you develop your goals for running.
- Specific – Is your goal descriptive enough to reach the results you’re looking for?
- Measurable – Are you able to measure your progress? Pounds lost, mile time, distance covered, etc.
- Attainable – Is your goal achievable given your resources, time, money, etc.? Make sure your goal is realistic and fits into your lifestyle to avoid setting yourself up for failure. It’s okay to start small and work toward larger goals later.
- Relevant – Is this something you are looking forward to achieving?
- Timely – Set a deadline to reach your goal. Deadlines can help hold you accountable and serve as motivation.
- Determine where running fits into your daily routine. Are you a morning or evening person? When is the best time for you to perform physical activity? When are you the most motivated? Create a plan that is flexible and easy to maintain.
- Gear up. Wearing the right type of shoes and clothing can help you stay comfortable and avoid injury. It’s important to find the shoe that accommodates your specific needs. After all, your feet are what keep you going.
- Create a running log or use an app to track progress. Log miles from your run, how long it took, or where you ran. A pen and paper are all you need for the basics, but many apps that already offer running plans will keep a log as well. Devices like the Fitbit and Apple Watch can also log your activity.
- Stretch before and after your run. Stretching before and after running can help loosen muscles and prevent injury.
- Document your success. How long does it take you to run a mile after training? Can you now run that 5K you signed up for? Compare your beginning results to where you are now. Re-evaluate your goals, and don’t forget to celebrate the hard work your body is capable of achieving!
This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. For further information, please consult a medical professional.
For more information, contact Liz Greer at firstname.lastname@example.org