The holidays are winding down, which means everyone will soon start making resolutions for the New Year. And, if you’re like many Americans, getting in shape will be at the top of your to-do list. In fact, health and wellness are top priorities for U.S. consumers, as data from a recent Nielsen survey highlights how “staying fit and healthy” is the most popular resolution (37%), followed closely by “lose weight” (32%), creating a need for our running for beginners must do tip list.
Arguably, one of the best ways to get in shape for the New Year is by running. Not only is running good for your physique, it also benefits your overall mental health, strengthens your immune system, relieves stress, and increases your bone density. Perhaps best of all, running (combined with a healthy diet) puts you on the fast track to dropping those pesky pounds that have been holding onto your midsection since Thanksgiving.
If this is the first time in a long time you’ll be lacing up your sneakers and joining the 65+ million Americans who run for the health and fun of it, here are five running for beginners tips that will help you get started.
Running for Beginners: 5 Must-Do Tips
Get fitted for a pair of running shoes
The week after Christmas is a great time to visit your local running store and score a deal on a pair of well-fitting running shoes. Their sales staff is trained to analyze your gait and foot strike pattern so they can help you select the best shoe for your foot type. Also, enhance your leg strength and muscle recovery with running compression socks.
Find a running buddy
Your friends and family will never be more motivated to exercise than they are on January 1st. Use this opportunity to enlist a running buddy who will help to keep you motivated. If you have someone counting on you, you’ll be less likely to skip a workout. Plus, running with a friend is way more fun than going solo.
Set a goal
It’s terrific you’ve decided to start running, but try to be a bit more specific with your goals. Are you determined to run your first 5K this spring and a half-marathon by Halloween? Go for it! Break down your aspirations into daily, weekly, and monthly goals that are realistic yet challenging.
Allow your body to adjust
Believe it or not, beginning a new exercise routine can actually cause your fitness level to get worse before it gets better. This is when many new runners give up so quickly. Before you take up running, understand that it takes your body about four to six weeks to acclimate to the new demands. Hang in there!
Not drinking enough water is one of the biggest self-sabotaging mistakes many beginning runners make. Experts recommend drinking about 20 oz. of water about two hours prior to running. You should also drink water during your run. However, if you’re running more than 45 to 60 minutes, be sure to switch to coconut water or a sugar-free sports drink to help replenish electrolytes.