The average American spends about 6 hours every day watching video on either their TV screen or on their smartphone, tablet, or laptop. They also spend an additional hour looking through social media every day.
If you spend that much time staring at a TV, a smartphone, or another electronic device, it’s time to find a new hobby! You should start a running routine soon and see how beneficial it can be for both your physical and mental health when you exercise.
Starting to run on a regular basis is often easier said than done, though. It can be tough to transform yourself from a total couch potato to a serious runner.
But as long as you take the right steps and pace yourself — figuratively and literally — you should be just fine. Here is how to start a running routine successfully.
Set Realistic Running Goals
There are a lot of people who try to start a running routine by simply lacing up their sneakers one day and hitting the ground running. They think that that’s going to give them the best chance to get more involved in running.
But more often than not, people who do this end up burning themselves out by the end of the first week. They get tired of running before they give themselves a chance to slip into any sort of routine.
Rather than diving headfirst into a running routine, set some realistic running goals for yourself so that you have something to work towards in the first few weeks. The last thing you want to do is try to tackle goals that are too lofty and find yourself struggling to stay motivated when it’s time to run.
Purchase the Right Running Gear
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to invest in $200 running sneakers, a $400 smartwatch, and $150 headphones to be a runner. You can most likely run in some of the gear that you already have laying around inside of your house.
But if you’ve never run regularly before, there are several items that you might want to pick up prior to taking your first run. They’ll help you stay comfortable while you run and reduce the risk of you sustaining any injuries while you work your way back into shape.
A decent pair of running sneakers is a good place to start. Visit your local sporting goods store and ask to see some of their more affordably-priced running sneakers.
Comfy socks are key, too. They’ll prevent you from developing blisters on your feet while you run in your new sneakers and cushion your feet while you’re pounding the pavement.
And you should also pick up a pair of compression sleeves for your calves. They’ll increase the blood circulation throughout your body and help you steer clear of muscle tightness and muscle strains when you start a running routine.
Build Up Your Pace Over Time
Once you’ve set some realistic goals for yourself and picked up the running gear you’ll need to start a running routine, you can slowly work your way into the world of running. Take your time and ease your body into it to get the best results.
When you first start off, it’s not a bad idea to walk or jog slowly rather than trying to run all-out. This will get your body acclimated to running and allow you to use the proper running form.
As you start to feel more and more comfortable, you can do less walking and jogging and more running. But again, don’t try to do too much too fast. Even if you don’t think you’re pushing it too hard, your body might start to break down on you and tell you otherwise before long.
By taking it easy, you’ll give your body time to adjust to your new running routine. You’ll also find that you’re excited to get out there and run on your designated running days. You’ll feel a newfound sense of motivation that you didn’t know existed.
Limit How Much You Run Every Week
It might be tempting to allow the excitement that you feel when you start a running routine to make decisions for you. That excitement might tell you that it would feel amazing to get out and go for a run every day.
Do not do this.
There are some runners that swear by running every day of the week. But those runners are highly experienced and have trained their bodies to run day in and day out.
Those who are just getting started with running should only run two or maybe three times a week, and they shouldn’t ever run on back-to-back days. Running too much can lead to serious injuries if you’re not careful.
Give Your Body Plenty of Rest
On the days when you’re not running, it’s OK to get into the gym and take part in other workouts. You can lift weights or try another type of exercise to get your blood flowing.
But you should also make it a point to provide your body with plenty of rest when you’re first getting into running. When you take days off, your body will have a chance to recover from all the running you’re doing, which will make your muscles stronger and help you build up endurance.
Use Apps to Track Your Progress
Part of the reason why you’re trying to start a running routine in the first place is to avoid using technology as often as you do now. But that doesn’t mean you can’t use it when it makes sense to get more out of your runs.
There are dozens of fitness apps that you can use to track your progress when you’re starting to run. They’ll show you how far you’re running, how many calories you’re burning while you’re doing it, and more.
They’ll serve as even more motivation to take strides towards the goals you set for yourself in the beginning.
Start a Running Routine Today
If picking up the remote control for your TV is the most exercise you’re getting these days, do something to change that now. Start a running routine and feel better about what you see when you look in the mirror.
Getting into running will be one of the most rewarding things you do in 2019. It’ll make you more active, improve your health, and even help you meet new people along the way.
Read our blog to learn how your lifestyle can play a role in your overall fitness.