Your First Steps to a Running or Walking Routine
Starting any new fitness routine can be scary at first. Whether your goal is to start running for pleasure, to enter a race, or even just start walking on a regular basis, it’s easy to be overloaded with questions. How long should I run? How fast? How often? What sneakers should I wear? It can be overwhelming. Hopefully, the following information will help you take those first steps in a well-informed fashion.
Everyone Begins at the Same Place
It’s OK if other people can run faster and longer than you. Getting healthy isn’t a race – it’s a marathon. Never be afraid to embrace your current level of fitness and focus on making incremental progress. Simply moving more than you were before is a huge accomplishment.
Find the Right Sneakers
Make sure that the sneakers you wear when walking or running are a good fit for you. Your footwear is your foundation and can help you avoid injuries and unnecessary aches or pains. If you can get your feet and stride tested at a specialty running shop, go for it! If not, just be prepared for some trial and error until you find the shoe that suits you best. Here’s another article that may help you find the right sneakers for you.
Go Long or Go Fast – Don’t do Both
A common mistake that new runners make is to try running fast and long distances at the same time. This can be a recipe for disaster which many people learn the hard way. Make sure you choose a goal and intention for each run or walk. Plan whether you’ll go farther or faster today. Focus on one metric at a time so that you don’t overdo it.
Walk and Talk
Going for a walk, or even a jog, can be more fun with company. Maybe you want to move more but are still feeling a bit intimidated or you lack motivation – bring a friend! Talking can make the time go by faster, make it more enjoyable, and can be a good time for you to catch up with someone you might not otherwise get to see on a regular basis.
Get a Training Plan
Don’t be afraid to seek out help from experts. Training plans are designed and scheduled in a way to help you safely start where you are, and get you to where you want to be. Whether you want to be able to run 30 minutes without stopping or conquer your first 5K, there are plenty of good tools to help you find your way to success. To view Ivy Rehab clinics that offer our Running Analysis Program, you can click here.
Always Take Days Off
Some days you won’t feel like moving – that’s totally normal. As with anything new, there are going to be some complicated times and days when you have more motivation than others. On days when you’re well and uninjured but just don’t feel like training, lean on your workout buddies, or show up at your local running shoe store for a group run. Your friends will lean on you when their motivation runs low, so they’ll be happy to return the favor when you’re in need. If you’re feeling really run down and exhausted in addition to lacking motivation, take an unplanned rest day. Often, one day off provides the mental break you need to get back into training the next day.
As always, if you’d like to speak with one of our highly-trained physical therapists, you can click here to request an appointment.