5 Steps To Starting A Running Routine

I’m an avid walker. Most weeks, I walk anywhere from 15-25 miles. I’ve also done some running over the years. Earlier this year I decided to start running again. I’d like to encourage you to start running. Learn how in today’s post.

How To Start Running: photo of two men running

Why You Should Consider Running For Exercise

Walking is great. It’s always been and always will be my favorite form of exercise. It has numerous benefits. You can learn more about walking in the following posts:

Running has some extra benefits. Both exercises can improve your health, prevent disease, and battle depression. Running is better for total cardiovascular health. It will also help you lose weight quicker. Finally, running is a bigger stress reliever than walking. I find hitting the road to be relaxing and meditative.

How To Start Your Routine

If you’re in fair shape, but you’ve never done much running, don’t worry. It’s pretty easy to get started. First, you need a decent pair of running shoes. Ready to start? Here’s a 5-step plan:

  1. Start slowly: Don’t try to run more than a mile on your first time out. In fact, I’d recommend only running a few blocks. If you start too fast you’ll get extremely tired or you’ll experience very sore muscles for several days. I start with a quarter mile and work my way up to a mile over several weeks.
  2. Work it into your walking: If you walk regularly, you can run in intervals. If you walk 24 blocks, try running a couple blocks for every six blocks you walk.
  3. Always stretch: Don’t stretch when your muscles are cold. Wait until you’ve already walked or run a short distance before you stretch. Don’t overdo stretching. A few light basic stretches are all you really need.
  4. Add distance: I usually spend a few weeks working up to my first mile. After that I add a mile or two per month. Once you’ve activated your muscle memory, you’ll find that you can go much further. Just don’t push too hard. I take short strides at a medium pace. This way I feel as though I could just keep going for the length of a marathon.
  5. Track your progress: Tracking your progress motivates you to keep going. I track my distance regularly. I track how many times per week I run and how fast I’m running. I recommend running two or three times a week. When you see improvement in distance and speed, it gives you the confidence to go an extra mile.

Use Variety To Beat Boredom

Sometimes running can get monotonous. Here’s a strategy to beat boredom. Try different surfaces and terrains. 

  • Road: I like road running because I can just step out my door and go.
  • Track: The track is a softer surface and easier on your joints. Chances are that there’s a track within a short distance of your home.
  • Trail: Dirt trails offer a change of scenery and a variety of terrain.  
  • Grass: I love using minimalist shoes in the grass. I feel like I’m connecting with the Earth.
  • Gravel: Running in gravel can help strengthen your muscles.
  • Beach: If you go to the ocean, consider a shoreline run. It’s refreshing. 
  • Hills: If you want to build strength and endurance, choose hills. 

I try to incorporate a variety of all of the above into my routine. Not only does it keep things interesting, it helps build different muscle groups. Give it a try.

I encourage you to start running today. If you have any questions or concerns about your health, make sure to check with your doctor before starting your routine.

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