Fitness Articles

Don't Be a Runnin' Fool

A Beginner's Guide to Running

Whether your goal is to finish a marathon, or make it to the end of the block without stopping, running can be a great addition to your exercise routine. In fact, running burns more calories per minute than most other forms of cardio exercise. A lot of people have the impression that running is too difficult and they’ll never be “fit enough” to do it. The fact is, very few people can just head out for a five-mile jog without prior conditioning. But, with the proper training and a few important tips, running can become a regular part of your routine!

Before you begin, it’s important to make sure you have a good pair of shoes. Running does not require a large investment when it comes to equipment, but quality running shoes are a must-have. Running shoes are specially designed to reduce the amount of shock that travels up your leg as your foot strikes the ground (which is significant in a high-impact activity like running). To find the right shoes for you, visit a specialty running store. These stores have trained professionals who will find a shoe to fit your needs. They might watch you run on a treadmill or down the sidewalk to get an idea of your form. Although you might pay a little more than you would at a department store, it is worth the investment in the long run.

So how do you start? Do you just lace up your shoes, take off running, and see how long you can last? Not exactly. First realize that it may take a little while to build up your endurance. But the good thing is that if you stick to a regular program, you can see positive results in a short period of time. 

You should be able to walk 20-30 minutes comfortably before you start running. If that seems like a lot, start by building up to this level, then incorporate running into your routine as you become stronger and fitter. Once you can easily walk this distance, begin to incorporate short running sessions into the routine. For example, a good starting point might be to walk four minutes, then run for one minute. Repeat this walk/run cycle for your entire workout.

Your goal is to slowly increase the amount of time you run, while decreasing the amount of time you walk. The running sessions should be challenging, so as one minute of running becomes easier, increase to two minutes, and so on. Before you know it you’ll be running for 30 minutes straight! (Always remember to include a warm up, cool down and stretch in your program.)
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About The Author

Jen Mueller Jen Mueller
Jen received her master's degree in health promotion and education from the University of Cincinnati. A mom and avid marathon runner, she is an ACE-certified personal trainer, health coach, medical exercise specialist and behavior change specialist. See all of Jen's articles.

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