Everyone can do it!
Just like the title says, "Everyone can do it"! If you've always thought "I want to get in a little better shape" but have never known how to get started, please keep reading. I've run since I was a little kid and when I was in the 4th grade, I ran a timed mile in my elementary school gym class in 7:51 (seven minutes, fifty-one seconds). From that point on I was hooked on running - and have run for over 30 years now - it keeps me in shape both mentally and physically and it can do the same for you too.
This article will outline the following:
A) Equipment needed
B) Determining where to run
C) Set a goal
D) Make & Follow your plan
A) Equipment Needed:
This is the great thing about running, there are only a few things necessary to get started running. 1) RUNNING SHOES: You need some new running shoes and they do not have to be expensive. You can typically find a good pair of running shoes between $59-$79 at your local sports outlet (or you can shop online at your favorite sports outlet if you already know the kind of shoe you want). There are actually different kinds of running shoes depending on how much you "Pronate or Supenate" but I will outline those details in another article as it is not necessary for beginners. 2) RUNNING SOCKS: go with some light cotton socks that breathe easily. Nothing special needed, but I do prefer 1/4 (quarter height) socks when running so my calves don't feel too restricted or hot. 3) RUNNING SHORTS: The most comfortable running shorts typically have an elastic waist band and are nylon in material, there are lots of choices out there advertising "wicking" and "cooling" affects, but your local Walmart or Target will have great options in the $10-$15 range. 4) RUNNING TOP: For the guys, any t-shirt will do and for the girls you need a good supportive sports top to keep everything in place. Again, don't waste your time with the name brand marketing mumbo-jumbo, until you are a die hard runner.
B) Where to Run:
This is the best part about running, you can run just about anywhere! In the amount of time that it takes most people to drive to a GYM to do their workout, you can get out the door to run for 20-30 minutes and be back at your house cooling down. Less time, less money, great workout, what's not to love? I say start with running in your neighborhood, then you can start looking for parks, tracks, lakes and beaches to do your running.
C) Set a Goal:
For those who are just starting out, setting a goal is key. If you set a goal that is unrealistic and unattainable, then it will just never happen. I like the stair step or ladder approach where you might try the following.
Day 1 - run 1 mile, doing it 1/4 mile (a quarter-mile) at a time.
Day 2 - rest
Day 3 - run 1 mile, doing it 1/4 mile (a quarter-mile) at a time.
Day 4 - rest
Day 5 - run 1 mile, doing it 1/2 mile (a half mile) at a time.
Day 6 - stretch out for 20 minutes or walk 1 mile
Day 7 - rest
If the above workout is too easy, please extend the running increments by 1/4 mile at a time until you work up to running 1-2 miles at a time. The secret to having a good run is to be able to carry on a conversation while you are jogging. Most beginners sprint out of the blocks and wonder why they are in pain about 3 minutes into the run. Just take it easy at a slow cadence and your entire body will warm up into the comfortable pace.
D) Make and follow your plan:
Do you know what the most popular day of the year is to start working out? It's "Tomorrow". Most people burn themselves out by trying to do too much too soon. For beginners, working out or running 3x times per week is plenty but if you go overboard, then you will get de-motivated. So, when you make your plan, make it realistic - otherwise you won't keep it up. Another tip is to print out your workout schedule and put it where you will see it. I typically have my running schedule on my cubicle wall at work and on the back of my door that leads to the garage so I know what I should be doing that day. Good luck to all you new runners out there and keep running!