So you've decided that it's time to turn off Netflix, get off the couch, and start jogging.
That is great!
Making the commitment to be more active is a decision you will never regret. This post will give you some tips on how to get into jogging and stay true to your pledge to improve your physical fitness.
In all honesty, it can be hard to get up and get active. Probably because the world has spent the better part of the last century perfecting a device known as the television. If you have never done much exercise, jogging is a great place to start. So how do you get into jogging?
Personal trainer and fitness blogger Carly Rowena offers some great tips to help you get started off on the right foot:
Carly makes the statement that "running is easy." Personally, I believe that anybody can run. It's just a matter of making the decision to BE a runner.
Chris Powell from Men's Fitness said, "The first step toward achieving any fitness goal is believing that you can. No matter what the odds, you must remember that people just like you have made incredible transformations, so there's no reason you can't."
The hardest part is taking that first step. Here are 9 tips to help you get into jogging.
1. Wear Comfortable Clothes
Choose an outfit that fits well and will move with you. You don't want to be constantly re-adjusting your apparel during your run.
Wear something that will wick moisture away from your body. Sweaty clothes will induce chaffing which will suck the fun out of you jog.
Personally, I just wear a t-shirt and shorts with a compression layer underneath to wick away sweat. That's what works for me, but your best bet is to wear what you feel comfortable in.
2. Create A Killer Playlist
If you are new to running, having a sick beat to run along with can make the miles fly by. It helps get you pumped up and excited to run.
If music isn't really your thing, audio-books and podcasts can be good alternatives as well.
Researchers are somewhat divided on whether or not listening to music actually increases you output. But if it will help get you out the door and pounding the pavement, I say go for it.
Make sure that you have some comfortable headphones that you aren't going to get tangled up in on your run.
I personally use and recommend the JayBird X2 Sport earbuds. They have great sound quality and are Bluetooth enabled so you don't have to worry about cords hanging all over the place.
3. Set A Time
Pick a time during the day that you can dedicate to running. In our hustle and bustle lifestyles, it can be difficult to find the time to exercise.
Commit yourself to your new running lifestyle by scheduling a time that you run. Don't let anything interfere with it. If you actually make your run part of your daily schedule, it will be easier to get into the habit of running.
Are you a morning person or a night owl? Do you like crisp morning air or hot afternoons? It doesn't much matter so long as you make time to get your run in.
5. Plot Your Course
Before you head out the door, take some time to chart out a map of where you will be going. This will give your run more purpose and prevent you from getting lost.
Plot A Route has a neat route planning tool that lets you create a map of your run by simply clicking on a map. It can show you how many miles the route is, the elevation profile, it can even estimate how long it will take to run the route.
It also gives you some security in the event that you had an accident and were unable to get home. At least people will have an idea where to look for you.
6. Create A Support Group
Just like with any goal, surrounding yourself with people who will push you forward will help you stay committed. It's easy to talk yourself out of exercising - trust me, I do it all the time.
Talk to a friend that also wants to get in shape or a co-worker that you know runs and see if you can schedule a time to run together. You will be a lot less likely to cop out on your commitment if someone else is expecting you.
If you don't have a friend that wants to run with you, see if you can join a running club in your area.
7. Pack Light
Do your best to minimize the amount of stuff you carry with you. Carrying things in your hands while you run can cause strain on your body.
If you are for short stints (less than an hour), resist the temptation to bring a water bottle Hydration is important, but unless you are doing some intense marathon training, you probably won't need it.
If you need to carry some things with you like a phone or keys, try to put them in a pocket so your hands are free.
If you don't have any pockets, a product I really like is the FlipBelt. It is basically a big pocket that goes around your waist where you can stash a phone, key, gels, or whatever else you need.
8. Play Through The Pain
Anytime you start a new workout regiment, you will likely feel sore. This is a good thing! It means your body is changing and getting stronger.
While you don't want to over do it, there is a certain amount of moxie that will be required. There will be days when you will feel too tired to run. I am here to tell you that you should do it anyway.
Carly mentions that you may sometimes feel a stitch (cramp) while running. She encourages you to do your best to grind through that pain as best you can until it goes away.
That obviously doesn't mean you should try to run through significant pain. Pain is how your body tells you that something is wrong.
Listen to your body. You will be able to tell the difference between a real injury risk and something that is just uncomfortable. Don't be afraid to take a break if you need to.
9. Take It Easy
Unless you are a running prodigy, you probably won't be running marathons on your first jog.
Start out slow.
Depending on your fitness level (and possibly with the aid of a healthcare professional), decide how intense you want your runs to be.
If you need some direction, the C25K program is a great way to get started. It is a running program designed to take you from your couch to running a 5k in 9 weeks. There is even an app you can download to help you stay on track.
Don't feel like you need to be running 4 minute miles on your first day. If you are new to exercise, a good work out may be a brisk walk around the block a few times.
As you improve, you will be able to do more. Instead of just walking, start jogging for a couple minutes then walk for a minute. After a while, you may be able to increase your running time to 4 or 5 minutes.
Professional tennis player Arthur Ashe said, "Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can."
If you keep at it, pretty soon you will be running a mile without stopping. Then you will run 3 miles. Then 5. Then 7. After that, it's really up to you!