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Seven Things to Know Before You Start Running

With gyms opening and closing sporadically, a lot of us are looking for new ways to work out without needing to rely on expensive exercise equipment. Running is a fantastic, and relatively cheap way to stay fit and build stamina, but there are a few things you need to know before you start to make sure it’s the right choice for you.

Woman running in a park.

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It probably won’t be easy to begin with

The hard truth is that running can be difficult. When you’re first starting out, it’s important that you don’t push yourself too hard. It takes a while to build up the stamina and muscle mass to run for any considerable length of time, so the most important thing is to be patient. It can be easy to feel like you’re not getting anywhere, but your progress is definitely adding up. It might be worth picking up an activity tracker so you can keep an eye on the numbers. Little by little, you’ll see yourself improve, and the feeling of accomplishment that comes with that really can’t be rivaled. 

Your footwear makes all the difference

If you’re serious about running, you’ll probably need to invest in a decent pair of running shoes. Trainers designed for running will have any number of features your typical shoe will not, and these will help you with your comfort and posture. Everyone’s running style is different, so you’ll probably need to try out a couple of different shoe styles until you find what works for you. 

Running shoes will have perks like breathability, shock-absorbent soles, and flexible materials. By getting a solid pair of trainers which compliment your running style, you can avoid injury and keep yourself running for longer with no interruptions.

Watch your diet

If you’re going to be starting any new kind of workout regimen, you should book a consultation with a nutritional specialist (such as to make sure that your body gets all the fuel that it needs to keep on moving.

Carbohydrates are especially important to keep in mind because carbs are one of the most energy-packed food groups out there. Upping your protein intake will also help you build muscle mass in your legs, and keep you full for longer. Starting a cardio-heavy activity like running means your body will be expending more energy than it usually does, so you need to make sure that your body is ready to handle that difference. 

Your times will slowly decrease

Running is an endurance sport, both physically and mentally. When you start off, you’ll have the most success if you take it slow. Listen to your body, and don’t push yourself beyond your limits- you won’t be running at record-breaking speeds, but you’ll be running consistently, which is vital.

With a little perseverance, you’ll find that it gets a little bit easier every time you lace up your running shoes. Slowly, your stamina will increase over time, as will your natural running speed. Before you know it, your mile times will be dropping consistently, and you can start looking towards the bigger picture. Even if you take it one step at a time, eventually those steps will start to add up.

You need to take good care of your body

Resting is one of the most important parts of running. If you push your body past its limits, you’ll end up causing serious injuries which might leave you off of your feet for an extended period of time. By taking days off, you’ll give your body a chance to recover and prepare itself for the days of running ahead. It might be tempting to try and circumvent this, but your body will thank you in the long run.

If you find you’ve got difficulties with any particular part of your body after a period of running (ankles and knees being some notorious culprits), consider investing in a brace or any other additional measures of joint support. Take care of your body, and the results will speak for themselves.

Think about building up some muscle mass

While running is a primarily cardio-based workout, taking the time to do some strength training and build up your muscle mass will undoubtedly have a positive impact on your speeds. By working on some strength training, you’ll find that running starts to feel a little easier as your body is better equipped for prolonged movement such as the kind required by running. 

There are a number of ways you can go about toning your muscles. One such method is to get in contact with a personal trainer, or even a decent Youtube video series. As with all things, persistence is key, so finding sustainable ways to incorporate this kind of training into your daily routine will make a world of difference.

Treadmills and outdoor running are not the same

If you’ve been running on an indoor treadmill for a while, it might be tempting to make the switch to the great outdoors. A nice change of scenery and a splash of fresh air might make the experience easier, right? Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. 

Running on a treadmill is actually physically easier than running outdoors for a number of reasons. Firstly, the conveyor belt system most treadmills employ means it’s actually easier for your legs to move faster for a longer period of time than if you were traversing regular outdoor terrain. In addition to this, treadmills tend to be softer than outdoor ground, meaning your soft tissue may have an easier time on a treadmill than if you were running outdoors. 

Making the jump from treadmill runner to outdoor runner is extremely possible, but it’s important to keep these things in mind to make sure you don’t push yourself too hard.

All of this considered, running is an extremely beneficial, and extremely rewarding endeavor. It’s quick, easy, and cheap to get started, but requires some real dedication to master. If you’re willing to put in the time and effort, you’ll find that running just might transform your life.