As someone who hates running, you probably don’t understand how there are people who can actually enjoy it. Genuinely, it’s baffling to see so many individuals going out, day in and day out, for a long jog or run around the neighborhood. How do they do it? They make it look so easy, but whenever you try doing the same, you’re faced with burning lungs, aching legs, and leg cramps. If you’re looking for a way to make this change and become one of those people who love running, this article is just for you. Instead of getting disheartened each time you try running, it’s time to come up with a solid plan to get you in the game. After all, running is the most accessible form of exercise and has a wide array of benefits.
Start with Walking
If you’ve never gone running, it’s important to ease into a consistent routine by walking for about 20 minutes three times a week. From there, progress your walks into run-walk interval workouts. Start off with 20 minutes four times a week, then bump it up to 30-35 minutes a session. Doing this will help minimize the risk of injury while also making the entire process more enjoyable and less daunting. Gradually increase the number and duration of running intervals to make progress over time. For instance, if you’re starting out with 20-minute workouts, alternate between running for 30 seconds and walking for 90 seconds. Once you’re more comfortable with that, alternate between 60 seconds of running and walking. Eventually, you’ll work your way up to a non-stop run.
Use Your Breath
You might know how to run, but you need to figure out what kind of pace you can hold – this will change everything. Almost always, new runners tend to run too fast and burn out. You might think of running as a speeding sport, but you need to allow yourself to slow down. To control your pace, take note if you’re gasping for breath. The goal is maintaining a speed at which you can easily speak or even sing. The whole idea is to finish runs still wanting to do more or go a little faster. It will make it easier to go running next time since you feel like you have more to accomplish. All the same, keep in mind that running will still feel a little uncomfortable at first. Just know that it gets better!
Don’t Run Every Day
One mistake new runners tend to make often is going too hard, too fast. While practice and repetition are the keys to fitness success, each run puts stress on your muscles, bones, joints, and ligaments, forcing them to adapt by growing stronger and more efficient. As the saying goes, too much of anything is bad – even if it’s good. Going overboard with running can lead to a higher risk of injury. The trick here is to find the balance where you run enough to spark changes but also give your body time to recover. Start with three runs a week – any less won’t help you progress as much. After six weeks of three weekly runs, then you can add a fourth running day. Doing this will allow you to keep the consistency without overloading your body.
Focus on the Minutes, not the Mileage
It’s up to you how to measure your runs, but thinking in time as opposed to distance will be less daunting. Setting out for a 30-minute run will give you more wiggle room when you want to take things slow rather than saying you’ll run three miles. Unless you’re training for a specific racing goal, focus on the duration of your run. It will help with consistency and keep you from focusing on your pace too much. After all, the goal is to keep going out on runs, not feel discouraged or overworked.