Getting started with a running routine can be tough. Running drums up feelings of pain, exhaustion, and boredom for many people, yet the trails in our Blue Ridge Mountains are full of seemingly happy people running along. How can this be? For many people, starting is the worst part. Here’s how to get started.
Invest in the right pair of running shoes. If your feet hurt every time you stand up, you will never try running. Go to a local running shoe store and have them assess you and fit you with the right shoe. Happy feet=happy runners.
Join a running group. Running alone is not for everyone. If you are like me, 5 minutes of running by myself is about as boring as it gets. Find a group (there are many in town). This is a great way to be held accountable to your running routine and to meet great new people.
Credit: Fleet Feet Asheville
Build mileage gradually. Do NOT go out and try to run a 10K if you have never run before. You will be sore and miserable for a couple days after it. This is where many people just quit running all together. Go for a 30 minute walk/jog. Walk for 3 minutes/jog for 1 minute. Work up slowly.
Set small goals. Running looks easy when you watch other people doing it. You think, “That looks easy. I can do that.” Trust me, if you have never run before, running a 4-minute mile within the first month is not reasonable. Set small goals. “I will jog 1 minute and walk 3 minutes for 20 minutes total this week.” It feels good to meet goals and it is an easy way to show yourself how you are improving. And you will improve.
Run first thing in the morning. This sounds like an awful idea to a lot of people, but it is the best time to do it. When you are just getting started with running, it is very easy to convince yourself to run “later that day” or “tomorrow for sure.” Get up and do it. You will be amazed at how good you feel the rest of the day. A morning jog will get the blood pumping increasing oxygen to the brain, releasing feel-good chemicals to the body, make you more alert (your brain functions better for 3-4 hours after exercise), and you feel like you have accomplished something before starting your day.
Running truly is an amazing activity once you get over the initial hurdle. It is amazing for your joints, your brain, and your body in general. The physical, emotional, and psychological benefits are far too numerous to list here. Trust me. Get out there and figure out why all those people love running and enjoy the scenery while you are out there!