So you want to start running. You’ve got the shoes, and even got the gear – but now what? Here’s how to start running:
Most beginners worry that they’re not improving fast enough. Don’t compare yourself with others. Every runner gets into shape according to their own body’s schedule.
Physiologists have calculated that any and all running paces are fast enough to put you into the moderate-to-vigorous aerobic zone that delivers health benefits. So take your time and focus on going further, not faster.
“We tell people that they didn’t get out of shape in five weeks, and they’re not going to get back in shape in five weeks,” says Bob Glover.
If you feel out of breath or sick, you’re running too fast, a mistake made by most beginners.
“A lot of people think that they have to go at least a kilometre at a time, and at a fast pace,” says Budd Coates. “I always tell my beginners to slow down and take more walk breaks.”
You’ll learn that running should be a relaxed activity, and that you should ‘train, not strain’. And, yes, beginning running includes lots of walking.
For the most part, you don’t have to worry about your technique. That said, experts agree that you should run tall (not slouched) and straight (not leaning far forward or backward).
Don’t over-stride; that could put extra strain on your knees. “Run with your eyes focused about 3 metres ahead,” says Jane Serues. “Let your arms relax and take a natural, comfortable stride.”
Is there a best time and place to run? Sure: whenever and wherever is most convenient.
Finding ways to fit workouts into your schedule is more important than fretting over the when/where questions. The streets around your house, a local track, the park, a treadmill – they’re all good.
Beginners should stick to relatively flat running as hills dramatically increase the muscular and aerobic strain of a run. So get out there and enjoy calling yourself a runner!