Quit smoking, learning a new language, reading more, saving money, going on a healthier diet, getting in shape, taking up yoga… We are about to reach the end of the year and many people might already be thinking about their new year’s resolutions. New Year’s resolutions are the perfect opportunity to review past choices and failures and plan ahead those lifestyle changes we keep procrastinating. Here ‘s a suggestion, why not taking up running?
Running can bring about a number of benefits to your physical and mental health. First, it tests your mental strength and capacity of sticking to a training plan and overcoming any obstacles to reach your target. Secondly, putting on your trainers and getting out into the street can significantly reduce stress and make you feel happier during the day. As for your physical fitness, running has proven to be your perfect ally when it comes to keeping fit, strengthening your heart as well as your cardiovascular system.
Yet, you might still be wondering: “Ok, that’s all right but, how do I start?” Needless to say, a good pair of trainers is a key staple to feel comfortable and avoid possible injuries. Just head to the closest specialty running store and let the professionals advise you on the kicks that best fit your needs. Next, you should find a motivation or set a goal that keeps you on the track. Signing up for your first 5K race, setting a weight-loss goal, finding a running partner or simply joining a running club can help you stay focused and not give up prematurely. Most importantly, you should keep in mind that starting a running habit doesn’t have to be painful, so allow yourself and your body the necessary time to adapt and find a routine you feel comfortable with.
Another key aspect to success is to set a realistic training plan and schedule. Running faster or longer distances than you’re ready for from the beginning can eventually lead to frustration, or injuries in the worst cases. Start by finding 2 or 3 days in the week when you have time for yourself and keep it regular. A good way for beginners to get started is to combine walking and running for 15 to 20 minutes on the first days or even weeks , depending on your fitness level. You will gradually progress by adding 5 minutes more to each session or completing longer distances within the same time. Believe it or not, in a few months you will be ready for your first midlle-distance or even long-distance race.
Do’s and don’ts on your first race
- DON’T overtrain days before the race if you don’t want to waste all your energy in advance
- DO eat your breakfast at least 2 hours before the start time (a poor digestion can ruin your day!)
- DON’T put on a new outfit you have never worn before (it’s not the day for experiments)
- DO pace up (avoid being carried away by adrenaline as this can lead to uncontrolled speed and early exhaustion)
Your first race must be an exciting memorable experience, so try to keep the above tips in mind and go for it!