Running is an excellent way to improve your coordination, endurance and cardiovascular health. It's also the perfect exercise for beginners, as it requires little equipment to get started. However, many people are discouraged when they first begin running. If you go too hard at the start, you may burn out before you actually get into the swing of things. Here are a few ways you can empower yourself to stick with running - you might just find your bliss:
Start by stretching
Running engages muscles all over your body, and if you're not flexible enough, you could easily pull a muscle simply going for a light jog. Though many new runners underestimate how important flexibility is going to be, you'll want to begin stretching as soon as possible - even if you're not planning to start running for a while. Building the habit around stretching will give you a huge advantage over runners that neglect flexibility. Not only will you already have a routine down, you'll also be less likely to experience shin splints and other running-related soreness.
"Running shoes need to do more than simply fit."
If you've never been fitted for running shoes, or you've had your current pair for years, head to an athletics store for a fitting. When it comes to running shoes, there's more to consider than whether or not your foot fits. You also have to think about your stride, arch depth and running style, among many other factors. Dedicated running stores train their employees to guide new athletes toward the right shoe. Wearing the wrong pair can lead to injury, so it's worth investing in some quality footgear.
Similarly, make sure you get good workout clothes. You'll want something that wicks moisture so your sweat doesn't linger on your skin, making you cold and uncomfortable. Depending on your goals, you may even want to look into tracking gear, such as step counters and heart rate monitors.
Craft a game plan
Anytime you're trying to build a new habit, it's good to have a plan for how you'll do it. When it comes to running, try to think about what kind of goal you want to achieve. Are you training to run a marathon? Do you want to finish a 5K in under 20 minutes? Are you focusing on endurance? Speed? Looking cool on a treadmill? Take your end goal and break it into steps. For example, if you're training for a 10K, you might want to work up to running a mile first, then a 5K, then an 8K before reaching your final goal. If you have a specific race or event in mind, build your timeline around that. If not, schedule one - a race on the horizon has a way of motivating would-be runners.
"Don't push yourself too hard."
Depending on your fitness level, your first attempt at a run might be great. It could also be terrible. Don't be discouraged if you can't run a mile - or even a block - right out of the gate. In fact, you might not even want to start running right away. Looking to gradually build up your running chops? Figure out a one-mile route through your neighborhood and walk it. Don't worry about how long it takes you - just get used to the distance. Do this a few times, just walking until you have the route memorized. Then, head out and try to walk-jog the mile. Jog or run for as long as you're comfortable, and walk the rest. Eventually, you'll be able to jog the whole thing, then run the whole thing.
Whatever you decide to do, don't push too hard - it's easy to accidentally injure yourself and have to start all over again once you've healed.