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Some tips for people just starting their running journey

Here's how to get started on your running journey.

(Photo by sporlab on Unsplash)


As we move into the summer months, that neglected New Year’s resolution might start nagging at us again. Drop a few pounds. Do more exercise. And for plenty of us, a gym is going to be the last place we want to do that. Summer is a time to be outdoors, on the trail, and getting some much-needed vitamin D. The freedom of running is liberating for both body and soul. However, It can be intimidating to get started.

For those carrying a little extra timber, low-impact exercises like swimming or cycling are often recommended as they put less stress on joints and muscles. But if one lives in a rural area with few local amenities, there might not be a swimming pool anywhere nearby. Likewise, in American cities built for cars, cycling safely can be an arduous task, requiring awareness, confidence, and control that a beginner just won’t have. Running is a great way to lose weight, improve fitness and build endurance. Let’s look at some keys to avoiding starting blocks. Starting rocks!

Remember you’re not alone

While embarking on any new challenge can be daunting, many trails have already been blazed for you, both metaphorically and physically.

Kenneth Pinckney only started running at age 31, when he needed to lose weight to pass a Navy physical. Now, his network and social media channels inspire others to do likewise. (Check out this profile of Pinckney.)

Running is one of the most popular activities in America, with around 50 million of us putting rubber to road in 2023. There are many local clubs eager to welcome new members, or for those who’d rather run as a journey of self, apps like Strava, MapMyRun, and AllTrails have huge caches of routes and tracks according to fitness and skill levels.

Speak to your doctor before taking up any new fitness plan — many look at exercise as medicine, an example being that losing 10 pounds should drop blood pressure by four or five points.

Running is one of the most popular activities in America, with around 50 million of us putting rubber to road in 2023.

(Photo by Gabin Vallet on Unsplash)


You can’t outrun a bad diet

While we may marvel at the muscles of sprinters like Usain Bolt and Asafa Powell, it’s true to say for the majority of us, carrying less weight is desirable for running. There should be less strain on the knees and ankles, and increased endurance as cardiovascular fitness ramps up.

Taking up running is a good time to start thinking about what you’re putting into your body. For those who are starting from a high BMI — 30 or above — it may also be worth asking your doctor about prescription weight loss medication.

Known as GLP-1s, medicines such as Wegovy and Zepbound slow the movement of food through the body, keeping the user fuller for longer and dulling food cravings. Finding out how much effort is needed to burn off a chocolate bar is a real eye-opener.

Get kitted out

While nobody wants to be the one with “all the gear and no idea,” it is important to have adequate equipment; it can be the difference between going the extra mile or being so miserable that the run never gets going.

A good pair of shoes is essential, and that “good” looks different for everyone. It’s worth getting a proper shoe fitting and gait analysis as a new runner who may not be conscious of how they’re moving and striking the ground.

Finding the shoe that matches your style should help prevent strains and injuries. Chafing can be a real concern on the bigger body and ill-fitting clothing can be a prime culprit. Change cotton out for fabrics that don’t hold onto sweat and moisture.

It may take a few months of running a few times a week for your body to adapt.

(Photo by Ketut Subiyanto via Pexels)

Go at your own pace

There’s an excellent thought for new runners from Peloton coach Ally Love, who said, “Don’t compare your chapter one with someone else’s chapter six.”

A training plan that’s unattainable is no training plan at all. Start slow. There’s no shame in taking a walking break; you’re still out there. Don’t compare yourself to others; stay out there. It may take a few months of running a few times a week for your body to adapt, so it’s important to build a plan that allows you to do so, as consistency wins out when motivation can be hard to come by.

Everyone has nervousness about starting something new. However, physical activity reduces anxiety almost immediately. Enjoy those endorphins. You might find they start getting addictive.


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