Running – a total body workout that’s good for your heart and great for losing weight. With all of its benefits, why isn’t it a more vital part of your workout? Let’s be honest, running can be hard.
But it doesn’t have to be. With these 5 tips from Kierstin Mitchell, group exercise coordinator at Virtua’s Center for HealthFitness, running can actually be fun.
Progress at Your Own Pace
Remember, you don’t need to start out by running a marathon. Set incremental goals and work your way up.
“Progress slowly to avoid injury. Start by running for one minute and then walking for one minute. As you build stamina, lengthen the run time, and eventually you’ll be able to complete a 30-minute workout without slowing down,” explains Mitchell.
If you are new to running, consult your doctor before incorporating running into your workout.
Run with Friends
Friends keep you motivated and focused on your workout goals. They can also help distract you when the going gets tough.
“When you’re talking to your girlfriend, you’re not thinking about how much work you’re doing or when the run will end,” says Mitchell. “Friends and good conversation can make running more fun.”
And if you have trouble finding a running buddy, Mitchell recommends joining a local running club.
Use Proper Technique & Tools
One great thing about running is that it’s transportable. You can run indoors, outdoors, in the morning or at night – and all the equipment you need is a good pair of running shoes. “I recommend buying a pair of sneakers from a running store. The staff can perform a gait analysis and recommend shoes that fit your running style,” says Mitchell. “Good footwear can also help prevent injury.”
Proper technique and tools can make a big difference in your run:
- For a fast-paced run, pump your arms. For a long-distance run, let your arms hang a little. Never hold your hands higher than your heart.
- Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.
- Wear a hydration belt so you don’t have to carry a water bottle.
Change Up Your Routine
Keep it fresh to keep it fun.
Take your treadmill training outdoors when the weather permits. If you already run outside, try a new running path. Mitchell also recommends: “Incorporate obstacles or weights or add bike riding or incline work so that there is a change of pace and agility.”
Run in a Race
Signing up for a race can be a great motivator. Mitchell recommends gathering a few friends and signing up for a Color Run.
“This is the perfect race for people of all levels of running,” explains Mitchell. “It is un-timed and noncompetitive. Plus, you get sprayed with paint for each kilometer you reach.”
There are all kinds of themed races from the Tough Mudder to the 5K Foam Festival that are popular for all ages and skill-levels. They make running more of a party rather than a race and help motivate you to continue training.
“I know some people have a hard time getting started, but running does become addicting,” says Mitchell. “One day you’ll be running one-minute intervals and before you know it, you’ll be running a 5K.”