5 tips to get you up and running (even if you're a couch potato)

December 14, 2014

If you've never tried running before or you're just trying to get back into it, there's no better time than now to get you motivated, moving and on your feet. Here are some easy steps to help you go from couch potato to runner in no time at all.

5 tips to get you up and running (even if you're a couch potato)

1. Alternate running and walking

The first time you go running, you shouldn't try to run the whole time. In fact, the most effective way to build up endurance is to do a combination of running and walking.

  • Try alternating one minute of running with two minutes of walking until that feels easy to do. Then slowly start decreasing the amount of time walking and increasing the amount of time running. This allows you to elevate your heart rate and keep it elevated without feeling the discomfort of running non-stop.

2. Start slow

When you start running, make sure you run at a slow pace that's more like a jog than a run. Running slowly ensures that your joints and muscles don't experience too much strain, which allows you to avoid injury and feel fresh so you can run more frequently.

  • Your first few times out running, focus on how you feel physically vs. how  fast you can move.

3. Try running a few days per week

Don't set goals that are too lofty when you're learning to run. Try to get out of the house three days a week, rather than committing to running every day.

  • Easing into an exercise routine makes it more likely that you'll stick to it, compared to starting something overwhelming and quitting soon after.

4. Don't forget to rest

To fully recuperate from every run, make sure you get ample rest afterward.

  • When you first start running, it's best not to run on consecutive days so your body has adequate time to repair muscles.
  • At the beginning, the temptation to push yourself might seem like a good idea, but as a newbie to the sport you may be aggravating an injury you may not know you have.

5. Find a way to make it fun

Do things to make sure that you enjoy your run such as listening to an audiobook or exciting music, or going on a run with a friend. Looking forward to your runs means they'll more likely become a valued part of your routine.

  • See if there's a local running club in your area. The camaraderie you'll enjoy and advice you'll receive from more experienced runners will make the effort worthwhile.

Even if you've never pictured yourself as a runner, it's possible to get into a rewarding and enjoyable routine by starting slow and having the right attitude.  Whatever the reasons you decide to start, once you get into a groove the only thing you'll wonder is why you didn't start running sooner!

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