How Beginners Can Make Running a Healthy Habit

Third, set several goals. The long-term goal may be to run a 5K or a marathon, but you are not going to run it tomorrow. Progressing too fast, too soon leads to dejection, burnout or injury. Instead, establish modest goals for the next week, 30 days, 60 days, 90 days and six months. These intermittent goals are times to measure progress and reset goals as necessary. Keep these goals flexible, knowing that if you progress really well, your goals may be increased. Reflect on these goals according to your timeline, adjust as necessary, and don't give up if you are slightly off track.

Fourth, select a training schedule that will be challenging enough to motivate, but not so daunting as to cause injury or burnout in short order. For many of you, a run/walk training program or a walking program is the bedrock of training.

More: Download the Couch to 5K Training App

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Write a motivational statement on a sticky note. Remind yourself each morning that, "Today is a great day to run!" and use this as positive reinforcement. Post the note prominently on your bathroom mirror or somewhere you are sure to see it daily.

Seek support from friends and family. Tell everyone what you are doing, why you are doing it, and how you are sticking to your plan. Encouragement goes a long way to help you stay on track.

Keep a training log. A log helps to measure progress and serves as a reminder of how far you have come in the journey. Journal the weather; distance run; pace; how you felt before, during and after the run; and especially note any sore spots or aches.

More: Why Beginners Should Use Training Logs

Shop for Proper Gear

Running is a relatively inexpensive sport, compared to other sports. There are no special pads, balls, sticks or helmets to purchase. All you need are a good pair of running shoes, a pair of shorts, a shirt and, for women, a comfortable running bra.

These basics are minimal, but don't scrimp on these necessary pieces of equipment. When starting to run, don't reach into your closet for those Converse Chuck Taylors you wore in high school, or the comfortable shoes you wear all the time. The shoes you run in should not have celebrated a birthday with you. 

A leading cause of running injuries are caused by old, worn or improperly fit running shoes. Invest in a good pair of new running shoes; they protect your body and will save you money in the long run.

Visit your local running specialty store for a proper shoe fit. Try on several different brands and models to find the best shoe for you. There is no such thing as the universal "perfect running shoe." Don't select a shoe merely by the name, model or color of the shoe.

More: How Runners Can Benefit From a Shoe Fit

And don't think that the most expensive shoes are the best. For most beginning runners, mid-priced shoes will serve you better than the top-of-the-line model.

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