Getting on track is easy but sticking with it, well that’s an entirely different matter

By Lili Narvaez | Photos by Adam Whitlock, Kristian Olsen, and Chanan Greenblatt/Unsplash

There are a lot of reasons why people choose to run. It’s a great way to introduce daily exercise into your routine, a surefire way to lose weight, and an even more effective way to relieve stress. But just like everything else, running is something you need to prepare for. So we’ve put together a guide for all running newbies that will hopefully get them going on their first 5K or even 10K.

What’s Your Game Plan?

Set your goals. Why do you want to run? What do you want to achieve? It’s really helpful to work towards an objective that keeps you committed to your new routine. Are you looking to be more fit or to lose weight? Or, do you dream of being a long-distance runner one day? Maybe you’re running to support a cause? Whatever your goal is, keep it in mind every time you have a scheduled run. This will surely get you out of bed during those lazy mornings and up on the road.

Gear Up

If there is one thing you must absolutely have as a beginner, it would be a good pair of running shoes. Chuck those three-year old trainers as they can be a likely cause of injury. Head over to a store where you can get a proper assessment of how you run then find the right pair. New shoes will help motivate anyone to start running.

In the beginning, you may not find the need for running shirts or shorts made from fancy quick-drying, lightweight material.  But comfort is your number one priority. You’ll realize it when you start thinking of upgrading your wardrobe. For women, frontal support is very important so it’s best to choose a sports bra with a snug fit. But men and women alike should look for apparel that won’t chafe when running.

Your Body = Your Boss

Take baby steps. Running every other day at a pace you can manage is the way to go.  When learning something new, it’s easy to get frustrated and quit, especially when we feel pain or when we don’t meet a goal. As a beginner, you’ll run into these roadblocks but just believe that in time, it will get easier. There’s nothing wrong with walking to catch your breath or having a rest day. Listen to your body–if it doesn’t feel good, then take a break and allow yourself to recover. And always nourish your body with the right food and proper hydration.

Change It Up

You’ve gotten through your first few weeks of running–congratulations! By now, you’ve experienced what’s called a runner’s high. It feels pretty good, doesn’t it? But weeks of just running isn’t always a good idea. At some point, you might feel stuck in a rut. Introduce other workouts into your routine. You can play a sport or take group classes to increase your stamina and endurance.  Strength and interval training will definitely increase your strength and tone you up. The last thing you want is to get bored. Integrate cross-training activities and you’ll eventually see how these can, in fact, improve your running.

Fun Run for a Reason

Becoming a serious runner doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. Get your best friend to be your running buddy or join running groups. Introducing a social dimension to running can be very encouraging. You might even find that you share the same goals with other runners.  They can provide the support you need to make it easier for you to accomplish your own. And running with a friend or a group is also much safer than running alone.