There is no faster path to fitness and fat loss than running, which burns around three times more kilojoules than walking.
There is also a unique feeling you experience during running that sets it apart from most other activities. Knowing when you should start running
will depend on your fitness and mindset.
5 tips to start running
1. Make sure your body is ready
How you feel during a walk can be a good guide to your readiness to run. If you find walking for 10 – 20 minutes challenging, stick with that for a few weeks and build a solid foundation of fitness first.
However, if you can walk briskly for 20 – 40 minutes without puffing, a transition to running would be a natural fit. Start out slow by gradually incorporating running into your walks, and monitor how your body responds.
If you have any health problems or you have been inactive for some time, see your doctor beforehand.
2. Get your mind ready as well
The right mindset
is critical if you are going to get the most out of running. Having realistic expectations is also vital if you are going to stick with it.
Let’s be honest, running can be a little uncomfortable when you start out. You may also feel a little sore after the first few workouts.
Make sure to stretch afterwards and don’t run on consecutive days. As your fitness improves and your body adjusts, it will get easier.
A helpful mental fitness tool is to come up with a positive goal that inspires you. That might be finishing the local fun run, or being able to run a certain distance which you can build up to.
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3. Get the gear
All you really need to get started is a good pair of shoes specifically designed for running
A great deal of force is absorbed by your feet during every foot strike, so protect and cushion your body with suitable shoes.
Then you can accessorise with a plethora of items such as clothing specifically designing for running, compression tights, heart rate monitors, GPS tracking devices and running apps.
The choice is endless, and it’s really a matter of experimenting and finding what works best for you.
4. Have a motivation plan
To help maintain interest in running, it’s important to continually challenge your mind and body with different surfaces, gradients, time challenges and intervals. You’ll be less likely to suffer an injury, and more likely to stay motivated.
Mix it up with other activities that are different to running (such as swimming, paddling and weight training
) to help ease the load on your body and keep the mind fresh.
Some other motivational tips are to listen to music while you run
, train for a running event or festival, or plot out a series of time trails (or personal best runs) to measure your improvement.
5. Learn from the past, and others
Running can be an activity you enjoy on your own, or with others (or you may enjoy a combination of both). It depends on your personality, goals and experience.
Think about past attempts at exercise and what has worked best for you. Were you more likely to stick with it by sharing the journey with a training partner, or do you prefer to exercises solo?
Training partners and running groups are a great way to add enjoyment and accountability to your running. You get a great sense of commitment, plus you can motivate each other push a little harder than you may push yourself.
The benefits of running
- Time effective, burning more kilojoules in less time
- Boosts weight loss by elevating your metabolism
- Strengthens your heart, lungs and bones
- Reduces your risk of illness
- Triggers an endorphin rush (the runners high)
- It improves sleep and relaxation