Running isn’t for everyone. But it could be for you, and it can be done just about anywhere, just about any time. Running is beneficial for both your mind and body. It can help to boost your mood, reduce stress, and improve your sleeping habits. Running improves cardiovascular health, aids in weight loss, and strengthens your bones, among numerous other benefits. However, running can be a hard activity to take up. If your new year’s resolution was to become more fit, running is an amazing place to start. It may seem daunting or scary, but here are a few tips to help you become the runner you always dreamed of being.
First, run at your own pace. Many experts will tell you there is a certain intensity that is most effective physiologically, and while this is true, it is not the case for beginners. These targets can be uncomfortable or impossible for beginning runners. This can be extremely discouraging. Instead pick a pace that is challenging, but relatively pleasant. As you get more comfortable, increase your pace.
Next, prepare yourself, a little soreness is normal and expected. It’s not just the exertion experienced during running that discourages many beginners from continuing. It’s also the soreness experienced afterward so-called delayed-onset muscle soreness or DOMS. DOMS is caused by muscle damage associated with unaccustomed levels of exertion. The more you run, the less you will experience DOMS. Unfortunately you have to experience it to become resistant to it.
While DOMS is unavoidable for the beginning runner, you can minimize it. In your first workout you want to apply just enough stress to trigger this effect and no more, because doing any more will only result in more soreness without resulting in any more resistance to future muscle damage.
Make your first run short—only about 10 minutes. And instead of running for 10 minutes continuously, break it up. Start with interval training. Run faster than you normally would for 15 to 30 seconds, and then slow to a walk. When you’re ready, run for another 15 to 30 seconds, then walk again. Continue in this manner until you’ve put in 10 minutes and stop, even if you feel you could do more. You may feel good now, but you will feel sore tomorrow. As you run more often, this will subside.
Lastly, give it some time. It takes about a month to start feeling more comfortable when you run if you run consistently and build slowly. Set your expectations accordingly, but don’t give up. Take a “no excuses” mentality into your first month of running. Don’t miss a planned run, no matter how much you dread the next one. If you do this, you will progress at the maximum rate possible and find yourself enjoying your runs after four weeks and no longer needing to psych yourself into doing the next run.
Good luck, and if you need help setting or reaching your fitness goals, or would like a running plan designed specifically for you, contact RWWC today and schedule an appointment with a fitness specialist.