Running Tips For Beginning Joggers

Starting a running program can be challenging but if you follow a few tips you can make sure running becomes a fun activity you can enjoy for years to come.

Beginning a running program is a good idea for people looking to get fit. Running is an activity you can enjoy almost anywhere, anytime. Also, it does not take any special equipment - all you need is a pair of shoes and some socks - so you'll be ready to go in no time.

If you've just started jogging, you'll want to make sure that you follow some simple tips.

Do not try to do too much too soon. When you first start jogging, it is easy to get carried away and run a lot in one session. While this may feel like a way to prove you are in shape, it really can cause disappointment and injury. It is better to start slowly at a pace and distance that is comfortable (perhaps 2 minutes of jogging, 1 minute of walking alternating for 20 minutes) and to add no more than an extra minute or so each time. This will allow your body to get used to the new exercise program and keep you from pushing too hard and getting hurt.

Set a goal and reward yourself when you make it. If you never have run before, the goal can be as simple as to be able to jog in a 3k fun run that is a few months away. Setting the goal gives you something to aim for and keeps you motivated. There are a variety of races and fun runs all over the country, so contact your local running club or search the Internet for short distance runs you can participate in your community. If you pick a charity race that you care about, you can feel good knowing that your entry fee goes to a good cause, too. Be sure to reward yourself for meeting your goals. Good rewards could be as simple as an ice cream cone, a new pair of running socks, or even a sports massage.

Stretch. Stretching makes your muscles become more flexible and this reduces the chance of injury. If you are unfamiliar with stretching, a simple Internet search will come up with numerous descriptions of good stretches for runners. Likewise, you can pick up a book on running and most have a section dedicated to how to stretch. The key with stretching is to make sure that you warm up a little before hand and hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds. It is critical to stretch after your workout because your muscles are warm at that time and stretching will keep them from getting extra tight.

Alternate a hard day with an easy day. If you decide to run more or at a faster pace one day, make sure to have an easy day before and after. This will keep you motivated and injury free.

It's ok to walk. If you think that the only way to becoming a great runner is to run and never walk, you are wrong! If you slow to a fast walk during your workouts, you will find that you recover more quickly and can run longer.

Vary your course and/or soundtrack. If you always run the same path or listen to the same music, you may find that your training is remaining the same, too. This is because if you often run the same path and stop at a certain point each time, your brain will see that point and think it is time to stop running even if you intended to go further that day; the same is true for music that can trigger you to think it is time to cool down. Varying your running course and your music can keep you motivated and improving as you increase your time and distance training.

Do not time yourself with the goal of beating your friend's/co-workers/relative's time for running a certain distance. Run for you, not for someone else. The goal in a beginning running program is to get moving and to feel better about yourself. When beginning run a set distance or a set time for each workout, but do not compare yourself to what you think you should be doing or what someone else can do - just get moving and enjoy this time for you!

Keep a training journal. Each day you go out for a jog, write down: when you went out, how long you ran for, how it felt, and other observations. You may find that you are happiest when you run in the morning versus the afternoon; this will help you know when is the best time for you to run in order to stick with the program. Also, over time you can refer to this journal to see how far you have come from the first day of training.

The key to starting and sticking with a new running program is to take it slowly and add distance or time only when your body feels ready for it. If you push yourself too hard, you may find yourself wondering why you are putting yourself through the painful practice of running. If you try to run too fast or too far, you can find yourself disappointed when it is difficult or seemingly impossible. Take it at your own pace, keep a training journal, and celebrate the effort you are making and the progress you are achieving. Good luck and happy trails!

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