10 Running Rules for Newbies
- Start out easy. Running is an extremely challenging activity, so don't make it any harder than necessary when you're starting out. For the first few months, stick to flat paths or run on a treadmill keeping the incline low.
- Warm up and cool down. If you ease your body into each run, you will be better prepared to sustain the effort necessary to keep you going. Start and finish every run with three to five minutes of walking.
- Go shopping. Running requires very little equipment. All you really need is a good pair of running shoes and a supportive sports bra. For footwear, visit a local running specialty store and get properly fitted.
- Walk, run-walk, then run. If you're brand new to regular exercise, start by walking (not running). For the first three weeks, walk 30 minutes several times a week. Gradually mix in a little running (15 to 60 seconds) for every two to four minutes of walking. Little by little, you'll run more and walk less. Before you know it, you'll be running and loving it.
- Follow the three-week rule. The number one reason most people quit a new running regimen is they do too much too soon. Stick with the same routine for at least three weeks before you progress. This will allow your body time to adapt.
- Take the talk test. Remember, you want to start out easy. If you're alone, recite the Pledge of Allegiance a few times. If you're struggling to get the words out, you're running too hard.
- Mix in activities you love. Increase your fitness level while decreasing repetitive muscle fatigue by cross training. Try yoga, Pilates, biking, skating or anything you love that gets you moving.
- Set a personal goal. A dangling carrot keeps the motivation flowing. Register for a local 5k or aim to run a certain number of miles or minutes each month.
- Track your progress. Keeping a log is a great way to see where you've been and remind yourself of where you're going. Whether online or on paper, document each run. Include your time, pace and how you felt to see what's working for you.
- Have fun! Research has shown that exercising with friends helps you stick with a program. Many running stores and gyms offer running groups or beginners' programs. You'll meet new pals and have a super-fun time on the roads.