Maybe you’ve always wanted to start running but have been intimidated by doing so. Perhaps you’ve been looking for a simple way to lose weight that doesn’t involve purchasing expensive equipment. Or you may have already begun your running journey but have struggled to find the motivation to keep going.
If so, keep reading this blog is for you. Here, you’ll find some essential tips that will keep you going at the right pace and encourage you to achieve your dreams of becoming a runner.
1) Be realistic about your goals.
Let’s face it: if you’re usually a couch potato whose idea of exercise is reaching for the remote control, you’re not going to become an Olympic athlete the moment you lace up your sneakers and start moving your legs. And that’s OK. Like any other sport or hobby, running requires practice.
It may be more comfortable for you to start off walking and get used to that feeling of moving physically every day. If you lead a relatively sedentary lifestyle (such as working behind a desk all day), begin walking for at least 20-30 minutes a day. This will help build up your level of fitness. Once this becomes too easy for you, stretch your walk to 45 minutes and then an hour. You’ll soon find yourself wanting to increase your pace, and this is where the running will come in.
2) Interval training.
High-intensity interval training (otherwise known as HIIT) is considered to be one of the most efficient workouts you can do, both in terms of the amount of time that it takes and the results that it produces. Fortunately for you, running is an activity that can be very easily adapted to HIIT.
Whether you choose to work outside or you prefer the treadmill at your local gym, you can begin interval training by dividing your time between walking and running. For example, for every minute that you can walk, try to run for 30 seconds. Or for every two minutes, you can walk, try to run for one. The purpose of interval training is to get your heart rate up quickly without having to engage in super strenuous activity. This will also get you accustomed to running at a pace that you can handle.
3) Keep your energy levels up.
Exercise, by nature of the endorphins it provides, is a natural high. After you finish running, you’re more likely to feel invigorated, even if you’re tired. However, if you’re new to running and usually low on energy, you may be looking for ways to increase your endurance and stamina.
Firstly, sleep is essential. If you don’t get sufficient sleep, you’ll find yourself dragging your feet when you hit the pavement the next morning. Try setting a bedtime alarm – you can find this function on your phone or download one of the many available sleep aid apps. Not everyone gets the ideal eight hours of sleep, but if you can get at least 6-7 hours, you’ll have a head start when it comes to exercising.
Vitamins can help. If you’re struggling to keep your energy levels up, you may want to try our supplement Vitabol. Created especially for men and women, these multivitamins are a quick and easy way to not only give yourself a natural boost but increase your mental vitality and strengthen your immune system as well.
And of course, you should consider your diet. Are you eating plenty of protein and vegetables? Are you drinking enough water to keep yourself hydrated? Or are you continually eating takeout pizza and swilling down soft drinks and wondering why your energy levels fluctuate so much? The fuel you’re putting in your body determines how your body will run.
Personal trainers are expensive for a reason – they help keep you accountable when you’re feeling lazy or finding it difficult to get out of bed on a cold winter morning. But there’s still good news for those of us who can’t afford personal trainers – accountability is available in the form of friends, family or even your local community.
Do you have friends or family who would like to get fit and have similar goals? Make them your ‘accountability partners’, so that you can encourage one another on the days when you need it and cheer each other on when you meet your milestones. If you’re feeling lazy, your accountability partner should be making sure that you still get your morning exercise done. And if it’s your partner that’s slacking off, make sure that you turn up at their house in your running gear, ready to go for your usual laps. We’re far more likely to achieve our goals when we realise that our commitment affects other people.
If you don’t have a friend or family member who wants to be your accountability partner, it may be worthwhile searching online. Local communities often have walking or running groups that meet together regularly, and it’s entirely possible that there will be one operating near you.
5) What’s your dream?
It’s easier to keep your eyes on the goal when you have a specific goal to focus on. Is it losing a particular number of kilos? Is it training for an upcoming marathon? Is it being able to run five kilometres without stopping? Make sure you set your big goal – and even smaller sub-goals that lead up towards this goal. That way, you’ll be able to keep track of the progress that you’re making and this will encourage you on the most challenging days.
We hope these tips have been useful for you. If you have other advice that may be useful for those beginning their running journeys, feel free to leave it in the comment section of this blog post. Happy running!