Many people see running as an accessible way of building their fitness. Indeed, when done consistently, this sport can significantly turn your life around because it exercises both your body and your mind.
Although running is fairly simple, there are still some tips that you need to consider to make it more enjoyable. Otherwise, it’s easy to lose interest or get frustrated when you aren’t reaching any of your training goals.
To ensure that you can stick with running over the long haul, listed below are 8 tips that can make it something to look forward to:
1. Obtain a Medical Clearance from Your Doctor
You probably weren’t expecting this item to be at the top of this list, but if you plan to enjoy running for a long time, you’re strongly encouraged to see your doctor and seek medical clearance. This is especially necessary if you’ve been living a sedentary lifestyle for a while.
Doctors are usually supportive of patients who are planning to become fit. However, for your safety, your doctor may need to do a complete physical check-up so they can suggest a program that’s appropriate for your needs.
2. Find Your Motivation
This one may seem like common sense. However, you’ll be surprised to find out how many beginner runners start out with enthusiasm, only to fall back to their old habits in just a few weeks. That’s because they haven’t concretely defined their real running motivations.
At first, your motivation can all be extrinsic, like a reward at the end of every workout, or a simple treat for yourself at the end of the week. This can help you turn running into a habit. However, over time, you’ll need to move on to intrinsic motivation — or treating running as the reward itself — to keep it sustainable.
3. Get the Right Gears
While it’s tempting to wear just any sneakers when you’re starting out with running, this might increase your risks for injuries. Thus, it’s recommended to invest in a reliable pair of running shoes plus a few sets of clothes to keep you comfortable during workouts.
4. Start Slowly
One of the most common mistakes that beginner runners make is going out too fast during their first few runs. This is mainly fueled by their excitement and their undeveloped sense of pacing.
Running is a high-impact sport that delivers forces that are more than 5 times your body weight. If your body isn’t used to these kinds of stresses, you make yourself more prone to strains, pains, and injuries.
The general rule is that you should only run at a conversational pace when you’re new to the sport. Once it becomes easy, you can then progress to more challenging workouts that include faster bursts of running.
5. Take Some Walking Breaks
In connection to the 4th point, starting running doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to run for the whole duration of the session. Oftentimes, beginner runners will have to complete their workout in run/walk intervals for it to be tolerable.
This method has helped many new runners carefully transition to running without rests. The key is to set a running interval that’s long enough to challenge you, then following it up with a short break.
A common set is doing 1:00 of running followed by 1:00 of walking, repeated 10 times for a total of 20 minutes. Depending on your current level, this may be too easy or too hard for you, so you just need to adjust it accordingly until you get used to it.
What’s important is that your workouts provide the right stress to your body so that it can build a stronger version of itself. However, it shouldn’t be that difficult that it will make you resent running and avoid it altogether.
6. Incorporate Strength Training
Aside from ill-fitting shoes and inappropriate running paces, another reason why new runners get injured is because of muscle imbalances. To solve this, engaging in strength training exercises once or twice a week can make all the difference.
Strength training doesn’t need to be done at the gym. You can utilize body-weight exercises and portable equipment like resistance bands to strengthen major running muscles like your hips, core, thighs, and glutes.
Example exercises include:
- Glute bridges
- Body-weight squats
- Hip hikes
- Side planks
7. Train with a Coach or a Running Group
Some people are able to progress with their running goals much faster because they have other people to hold them accountable. Such are the perks of having a running coach or a running group.
Although running is primarily a solo activity, sometimes it can be more enjoyable if done in groups. This can be especially helpful if you’re a beginner and you need a bit of push from others when you’re struggling to complete a scheduled workout. Additionally, hard workouts tend to feel more tolerable if others are doing it, too.
8. Don’t Forget About Recovery
Scheduling rest days is just as important as scheduling run days. While staying consistent with your running schedule is important in building your running base, you also have to think about your recovery to ensure that you’re fresh for the next workout.
The key here is to always listen to your body — before, during, and after your workouts. If something feels off, or you feel more tired than usual, this is your body’s way of telling you that you need more time to recover.
Don’t be afraid to take that extra rest day. That will be nothing compared to the injuries you might incur for forgoing your much-needed recovery.
Make Running Enjoyable by Setting the Right Pace
People who find running enjoyable tend to stick with it for life. Some fell in love with it instantly, while others had to learn how they could make running a consistent part of their weekly routine.
Although running is generally enjoyable, it can be much more rewarding if you start it on the right foot. By running the right paces and setting workouts that are appropriate for your current fitness level, you’re bound to love running beyond your initial expectations.