If you’ve never run before or you’ve had a long break from running, it can feel intimidating to get out there and hit the pavement. But if you get familiar with some basic information about running and follow a beginner’s schedule, you’ll be well on your way to starting a new running habit.
Before you get started
If you haven’t recently had a physical, get medical clearance from your doctor before you start running.
At your visit, share your running plan and goals with your doctor and have him/her assess your plan and any potential health issues. If you have had any previous injuries or issues, make sure your doctor is aware of them, and ask if he or she has any suggestions on how to prevent a recurrence.
Develop a breathing rhythm.
Rhythmic breathing will help send oxygen to your working muscles and make the run more enjoyable and free you from that grinding feeling of wanting to stop. It is recommended trying to find a breath pattern that matches your foot cadence. For example, inhale for three steps and exhale for two steps. However, not everyone’s breathing rhythm is the same. Try and establish your own in accordance with your run flow.
Incorporate belly breathing.
Belly breathing, also known as diaphragmatic breathing, can be incredibly helpful in getting you more mentally in tune with your running experience. This kind of breathing starts a chain reaction of positive physiological effects, stimulating the brain stem, releasing feel-good endorphins, and decreasing stress hormones and allowing you to take in more oxygen while expelling more carbon dioxide. You can practice belly breathing by lying on your back and placing your hands onto your stomach, which should rise and fall with each breath, as opposed to your chest rising and falling. Picture your stomach filling up as a balloon would. Every time you breathe in your stomach fills up and the balloon rises. Every time you breathe out your stomach flattens.
Hold off from cranking the music.
There’s no denying that listening to music enhances your overall exercise experience. However, waiting to crank up the sound until you’re tuned into your run can help incorporate more mindfulness, experts say. It is recommended pressing play about five minutes into your run or finishing the last five minutes of your run without music. Use this time to really zone in on everything around you. Leaves rustling, cars driving past, birds chirping, whatever it is, allow your mind to take it in. Then bring your mind back to your movement. While music is beneficial when working out, social distractions that totally take you out of the exercise at hand are not. When possible, put your phone on airplane mode so that you can maintain proper focus.
Blow off steam and get the absolute most—mentally and physically—out of your runs by employing mindful running. Tune into your body and your form and everything else will tune out.
Follow a beginner running schedule
Following a training schedule will not only safely build up your running distances, but it will also help you stay motivated.
Knowing that you have scheduled runs to complete will keep you on track. The below eight-week beginner running plan is simple and will help you ease into running.
Before you start any running workout, though, you need to make sure you warm up properly. A good warm-up signals to your body that it will have to start working soon. By slowly raising your heart rate, the warm-up also helps minimize stress on your heart when you start your run. Start your runs with a brisk walk, followed by very easy jogging for a few minutes. You can also do some warm-up exercises. Always end your workout with a slow five-minute jog or walk to cool down. The cool-down allows your heart rate and blood pressure to fall gradually.
8-Week beginner running program
WEEK ONE: Walk for six minutes, then jog at an easy pace for one minute. Repeat three times. Aim for three sessions with that same sequence for week one.
WEEK TWO: Walk for five minutes, then jog for two minutes. Repeat three times. Aim to do three sessions in week two.
WEEK FOUR: Walk for two minutes, then jog for five minutes. Repeat four times. Shoot for three of those sessions in week four.
WEEK FIVE: Walk for two minutes, then jog for eight minutes. Repeat three times. Do three of those sessions in week five.
WEEK SIX: Walk for two minutes, then jog for nine minutes. Repeat three times. Try to do three sessions for week six.
WEEK SEVEN: Walk for one minute, then jog for 11 minutes. Repeat three times. Do three sessions this week.
WEEK EIGHT: For your first run this week, try walking for five minutes to begin and end the workout, and running for 20 minutes in between. By the end of the week, try to run for 30 minutes without stopping.