Running is free, requires very little equipment and can be done almost anywhere.
The benefits of running are plentiful; not only does it keep you from a sedentary lifestyle, but it also opens the door to a healthier and happier you.
From improved heart health to increased mental clarity, in this beginner’s guide on how to start running, we'll explore the many benefits of running regularly and provide you with practical tips and tricks to get started.
Benefits of running backed by science
People have been running since about 7 million years ago. This innate reflex has helped them hunt and evade danger, however, modern science has shown that running is more than just a quick getaway. Let’s take a look.
Improve your health
Running, much like any physical activity, can promote your health and overall well-being. Some of its health benefits include:
- Better heart health. As a form of aerobic exercise, running can improve circulation by increasing your heart rate and blood flow, which can help lower your blood pressure and temporarily lower blood sugar levels.
- Increased bone and joint strength. Running is a weight-bearing exercise and, as such, strengthens the bones of your lower body. It may also strengthen your joints and, contrary to popular belief, does not increase the risk of arthritis.
- Improved mental health. Running triggers the release of endorphins, your feel-good hormones, which can reduce anxiety and stress levels, and increase your self-confidence.
What’s more, a regular running habit can improve your sleep quality. This can be especially beneficial for those who struggle with falling or staying asleep.
Begin your journey with Joggo – a mobile app designed for beginners and pros alike, setting you up to become a successful runner with a personalized running program, meal plan and progress tracker.
Running, like any exercise that gets your heart pumping, also boosts your energy levels. When you exercise, your body produces more mitochondria, which has been shown to increase energy levels.
Additionally, the hormones that your body produces when running also contribute to higher energy levels.
Manage your weight
For those looking to shed a few pounds, running is an effective form of vigorous exercise that will help you burn fat.
It’s important to remember that exercise alone, no matter how vigorous, isn’t enough to lose weight. Inducing a calorie deficit is key to losing weight, meaning that you have to burn more calories than you eat.
Joggo is a running app that offers personalized meal and running plans that will help you maximize your weight loss results.
So how do you reap the benefits of running? Let’s take a deeper look at how to start.
How to Start Running in 6 Steps
Here are a few things to keep in mind for both beginner runners and experienced runners alike.
1. Set realistic goals
Many runners bite off more than they can chew when they start a new running program, such as trying to do a marathon within the first month of training.
A more realistic goal for a beginner runner is to train for the 10k race. The latter is challenging enough to keep you pushing boundaries and is a great stepping stone for longer distances, such as a 20k race or a half marathon.
By setting a realistic and attainable goal, you will be able to more easily maintain your motivation, avoid burnout and become a more efficient runner.
2. Invest in proper running gear
Comfortable clothing and well-fitted running shoes can make or break your run. Consider your running surface, as trail running and jogging in the city can be very different experiences, and your shoes should reflect that.
3. Warm up and cool down
Prioritize dynamic stretches before your run and static stretches afterwards. They will help warm up your muscles and get them ready for exercise, all while reducing the risk of injury and soreness after running.
4. Start nice and easy
When starting out, most runners begin their journey by alternating between walking for longer and running for shorter periods of time.
Depending on your activity levels, however, starting off by running may be too difficult; consider brisk walking and doing some strength training before going off on your first run.
Remember, running too fast is a common mistake among beginners. Make sure to keep a conversational pace and take walk breaks.
5. Find your best running routine
Establishing a weekly running schedule can make it easier to develop a running habit and help you stick to it long-term. Three runs a week are an excellent starting point. Make sure to plan out which days of the week are for running and which ones are for recovery and try to run and rest on those same days every week.
On rest days, incorporate cross-training such as cycling, swimming, or hiking, which will help you build more strength, mobility, and flexibility. Consider training your upper body as well, as it can help improve posture and proper running form.
Most importantly, leave at least one day a week when you don’t do any training at all.
6. Stay consistent
It may surprise you, but having a strong support system in place can help you push your boundaries and stay motivated through difficult times when you want to quit training.
Consider participating in a running event, such as fun runs, where you can find seasoned runners, make connections and share experiences. Running with others can help you stay consistent and keep yourself accountable.
Another great way to stay consistent is to keep track of your progress. Log your runs on the Joggo running app and watch as you progress from beginner to a pro.
Running is one of the best things you can do for your body – it improves circulation, reduces the risk of heart disease, increases energy levels and helps you lose unwanted pounds.
Start with a pair of comfortable shoes, a sports drink, a 10-minute warmup, and an easy pace. Make sure to set realistic goals that you can work towards, follow a consistent schedule, and establish a support system you can fall back on.
Ready to start running? Meet Joggo, your personal running coach, here to help you get started with a personalized running program, meal plan and insights on your progress to help you stay motivated and keep pushing forward.