Becoming a runner is one of the simplest ways to kick start your active lifestyle. It's cheap, you don't need a bunch of fancy equipment, and you can do it just about anywhere.
Most of us know that we need to be more active, the hard part is getting the gumption to get off the couch.
British TV host and fitness blogger AJ Odudu shares a plan for beginning runners along with 4 pro tips to help you get going.
If this is the first time you have ever ran, your body won’t be used to the new form of exercise, so take it slow!
AJ outlines an easy 2 week starter program to get you headed in the right direction.
WEEK 1: 10 Minutes 2-3 times per week
- Walk briskly for 1 minute
- Jog for 1 minute
- Repeat 5 times to get to 10 minutes
WEEK 2: 10 Minutes 2-3 times per week
- Jog slowly for 1 minute
- Jog quickly for 1 minute
- Repeat 5 times to get to 10 minutes
During your run. Pay attention to your breathing. An increased breathing rate is OK, but if you are really sucking wind, back off a little bit and catch you breath.
This plan can be adapted to your fitness level. Don’t be afraid to walk a little longer or even stop if you need to.
As you continue to run, you will get stronger and faster. You will be able to run longer and farther without taking breaks. Before your know it you'll be running miles rather than minutes.
Pro Tip #1 - Dress Well
Wear something the you feel comfortable in and doesn’t restrict your movement. For some people, that may be sweat pants and a hoodie. Others may just wear form fitting spandex.
For me, I usually wear a compression fit base layer to wick away sweat with basketball shorts and a t-shirt to go over it.
Whatever you wear, make sure it is comfortable, breathable, and has a few pockets to store your key, phone, wallet, etc. If your clothes don’t have any pockets, consider buying a Flipbelt to store your stuff while you run.
Pro Tip #2 - Music
Great music produces great results. Put together a high tempo playlist that will get your blood pumping and ready to run.
I typically avoid streaming players like Pandora. I don’t want to have to be messing around with switching songs while I’m running. I usually put together a playlist of songs I know I will like and go with it.
Also, look into getting head phones that won’t fall out while you run. I am a fan of Bluetooth headphones simply because I don’t like messing with the cords and cables.
I use the Jaybird X2 Sport earbuds. They are extremely comfortable, have great sound quality, and are easy to pack around.
Pro Tip #3 - Plan Your Route
Plan your course ahead of time so you know where your going. You don’t want to be fiddling with your phone to check Google maps during your whole run.
There are some great programs out there to plot and/or track your course. I have used Plot A Route to plan my runs. It lets you map your your course, see the mileage, and even gives you an elevation profile. Best of all, it's FREE.
You don't have to go far away to do it. Pick a place that is close by and easy to get to. Heck, my mom used to make us run laps around the house. No matter where you run, make sure your route is both safe and accessible.
Pro #4 - Fuel Your Body
Just like your car, your body needs fuel to run right. What you eat and when you eat will have a huge effect on your performance.
An effective training schedule isn't made up of runs alone; to improve both your fitness and your race times, it’s essential to put thought into what you’re putting into your stomach.
Avoid eating a large meal right before you run. It will weigh you down and make you feel sluggish, not to mention uncomfortable. Instead, eat a small snack. AJ recommends a small apple, a piece of toast with honey, or a banana as good sources of pre-run energy.
Also make sure that your body is well hydrated. Dehydration can take a toll on your body and result in a decline in performance.
Karen Asp from Runners World advises drinking 8 to 16 ounces one to two hours before a run. If your running behind schedule, try to drink 4 to 8 ounces a half hour before you go out.
Water is always the best choice, but sports drinks, tea, and coffee are reasonable alternatives.