Lifestyle Design

Tips for Starting a Running Fitness Program

If you’re looking to get in shape, there’s little that beats running for fitness.  Running offers a number of health benefits, weight loss benefits and it offers fast results.  If you’re looking to start running for fitness, here are a few tips to keep in mind.

Before you begin any fitness program running or otherwise, check with your doctor.  Running is an aerobic activity and for most people it is great for their heart however it can be hard on joints and is best approached once you’ve gotten the thumbs up from your physician.

Before you start running, invest in a good pair of running shoes.  Many people avoid running because they hear how hard it is on their joints.  The truth is that with the right gear and the right approach running can be virtually injury free.  The right gear begins with a good pair of running shoes.  They’ll place your foot in optimal position and provide the cushioning your joints need.

Set goals. Running without a goal can easily become a chore. However if you have a goal then it becomes something you’re motivated to do.  Choose your goal wisely.  Focus on speed or distance.  For example, “I want to be able to run a marathon in 12 months” or “I want to run a 5K in 20 minutes.”  Then you’re better able to create a running program.

Take baby steps. If your goal is to run a marathon you’re not going to go out and run it today.  Instead you’re going to want to gradually build up your endurance.  Begin with a maximum of three miles.  If you’re walking and running this distance it will take you between 30 and 45 minutes to complete which fits quite well into the 30 minutes of exercise a day physician recommendation.

Note that you’re starting your running for fitness program with a combination of running and walking.  This is important if you’re new to running.  Gradually, you can run more and walk less until you’re running the full three miles.  From there you can add on distance.

Track your progress.  One key to fitness success is to track your progress.  It’ll help you see your strengths and also where you may want to focus your training efforts.  It will also help you stay motivated and it will help you maximize your workouts.

Learn when you run best and structure your workouts to fit your needs.  Some people are morning people, others aren’t.  While studies say that people who run in the morning tend to stick with it longer, if you despise getting up early you’re just not going to perform as well as you would later on.  Run when you’re at your best.

Find what motivates you. Do you enjoy running to music?  What about running with friends?  Are you competitive?  Running for fitness is much easier if you’re enjoying it.  If you’re social, then run with others.  If you’re competitive then sign up for a race and train for it.  If you love nature then run on trails.

Starting a running for fitness program can feel overwhelming.  The simple truth is that if you have the basic equipment and are honest with your goals and your fitness personality, you’ll be shedding the pounds and getting in tip top shape in no time.  Best of all, you’ll have fun doing it.

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