How to Start Running (and Not Hate It!)

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For those training for a half or full marathon, the blog has been packed full of awesome tips for fuelling your performance or crushing your next time goal this month... but what about those who want to start running for the first time? It can be an overwhelming and frustrating experience, so we spoke to our friends at Pacer to get their expert tips on getting started, and sticking with it!

Start Running with MyPacer | Neat Nutrition. Active Nutrition, Reimagined For You.

Start Slow

It’s tempting to jump right in and go for a few miles right away, but starting slow and building up your endurance is key to sticking with running long-term. Even if you’re used to walking (or light jogging), running at faster speeds is higher impact and more tiring. You’re also more likely to actually enjoy running when you’re not pushing your limits 100% of the time you’re doing it.

You may not become a marathon runner overnight, but you’re much more likely to get to where you want to be injury free.  


Gear Up

You don’t need a lot of gear to start running, but a comfortable pair of running shoes really make a difference. It’s a small investment compared to what gyms or fitness classes cost, and they can last you a long time. Running shoes cushion your feet, support your arches, and are designed for a runner’s stride.

To get the right shoe for you, look for a running or sports store that has a treadmill or short track where you can take a quick jog with the shoes on. Some stores have staff that can watch you walk (or jog) and suggest shoes that match your particular gait. Even if you can’t get professionally fitted, a pair of decent running shoes are going to be much more comfortable and will lower your risk of injury.


Stay Hydrated

You’ll sweat more running than walking, so you’ll need to replace that lost water to perform at your best. Look for a reusable water bottle to save plastic bottles. You can find some inexpensive, innovative running bottles that are easy to carry even on your longest runs.


Find a Path

You can walk almost anywhere, but running does present some unique problems. Pick the wrong route and you’ll be running around (or into) pedestrians or stuck waiting at intersection after intersection. Many parks have designated running paths that are relatively pedestrian free, which allows you to jog at a steady pace.

It’s common to feel great at the beginning of a run, only to suddenly feel your energy run out midway through. When starting out, it can be helpful to find a track or a short loop that allows you to run laps. You don’t want to start on a 5-mile run and realize halfway that you’re too tired to run home!


Get Loose

Unless you’re training to be an Olympic sprinter, don’t try to go from standing to a full sprint! Warm up your body by starting out at a walk or a very light jog. A 5 to 15-minute warmup can help prevent injuries, especially when it’s cold outside. Gradually increase the pace until you’re up to your preferred running speed. Give yourself some cool-down time at the end of your workout as well.


Try Intervals

Finding a good rhythm and maintaining a running pace isn’t easy. Use intervals - alternating periods of running and walking or light jogging - to build up your endurance. Try doing a few sets of 1-minute running and then 4 minutes of walking to rest. If you feel great, increase the running time and decrease the running time. Eventually, you’ll be able to drop the walking component entirely.


Know the finish line

You can run farther, longer and faster if you know where and when your run is going to end. Being able to view progress is a great motivator to continue going. Track your progress with a running app (like Pacer), or note a few landmarks so you know where you’re at on your run.


Or Find a Treadmill

Running outdoors feels great and gives some amazing health benefits, but a treadmill allows you to run at a constant speed in a controlled environment. This can be very helpful if you’re having trouble pacing yourself when running outside.


Get Your Rest

The days you don’t run are just as important as the days you do run! Your body needs time to rest and rebuild after exercise. Overtraining is real, leads to increased risk of injury and just makes you feel tired and terrible. Set scheduled rest days, and make sure you stick to them even if you want to run.


What is Pacer? Pacer is a fitness app that helps regular people of all activity levels get more active and be healthier through accurate, powerful activity tracking and more. It's also a community of people just like you who enjoy getting active and staying healthy...My Pacer | Neat Nutrition US. Active Nutrition, Reimagined For You.

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