It’s important to keep exercising while staying safe. One of the easiest – and safest - ways to stay fit is running.
More and more of us are finding fun and more creative ways to stay fit. From home workouts, using full water bottles as weights to online yoga classes and more, we can now choose the exercises we want to do from the safety of our homes.
Running is a great – and increasingly popular - way for people to stay fit. You can do it anywhere, be at any fitness level and don’t need a lot of equipment to get started.
Whether you’re a seasoned runner, a first-time runner or not run for a while, here are some tips to help you get started and achieve your fitness goals.Running equipment
The great news is that you don’t need to purchase a lot of equipment to run, although there are a few essential items that will make your journey more enjoyable.
- A pair of running shoes that fit well
- Distance running socks
- Comfortable clothing
Listen to your body
If you don’t feel ready to run, simply walk instead. Once walking for a set time becomes easy, try to alternate between jogging and walking. Your aim should be to find a comfortable, sustainable pace that feels good. Remember to stop if you experience pain. Always perform a warm-up and cool-down to ensure your body is prepared for exercise.
Train to time not distance
During the first few weeks of running, focus on the amount of time you are running (walking or jogging), instead of thinking about distance. Set a goal of 20-30 minutes and, once you can successfully run for the entire duration, increase your time. Looking at miles in the first few weeks can be mentally discouraging. Once you can successfully complete 45 minutes at your desired pace, map out the miles and steadily increase the distance you cover.
Understand your phases
Don’t just hit the pavement and start racking up miles. Instead, know that you need to form an aerobic base level by training at about a level five or six intensity out of the maximum intensity of level 10. This is because ‘steady state training’ effectively teaches your body to burn fat as fuel. This will be important as you start to increase your distance. You can work on your speed later in your training.
In order to become an efficient runner, you must run. However, adding cross training such as biking, swimming or weight training to your weekly routine will help you to get fit and avoid getting bored.
Take technique one day at a time
Pick one technique to work on each time you go out for a run. There are several things you can work on, such as:
- Foot placement – ensuring you are striking the ground between the mid and forefoot
- Arm movement – ensuring you are staying relaxed as you pump your arms back and forth
- Posture – ensuring you keep a strong core
If you break down your technique one day at a time, you will not be overwhelmed. And after a few weeks, you’ll have improved your running style.
Mix in some hills
Add some hill running or varied terrain into your program. Your posterior chain muscles, including the hamstrings, glutes and calves, have to work harder when you are running up hill.
You must schedule rest days into your program to allow your muscles to adapt to the increased workload and efficiently repair themselves. One to two rest days per week are essential for great performance.