You wake up before dawn on a Saturday morning. After dressing in your favorite athletic clothes, you quietly lace up your running shoes, not wanting to wake anyone. You grab your water bottle and head out the door. After a few minutes of brisk walking, you pick up the pace to a jog. You smile as the sun begins to rise. The morning is all yours. After several miles of running, you head back to your house to shower and get ready for the day. You feel like a new person.
Have you ever had a fantasy similar to this one? Many of us have! There is just something about running that is extremely appealing. Perhaps it is the sense of accomplishment that runners often speak of, or maybe it is the famed runner’s high that is said to occur after a nice long run. Motivated by a plethora of benefits, plenty of individuals dream of taking up running. Are you one of those people?
What You Need to Know BEFORE You Start Running
If you want to run, that’s great! However, there are a few things you should know/do before you begin…
- Get medical clearance – We know you know, but we have to say it: ask your doctor if running is a safe exercise for you. Once you have medical clearance to run, you can confidently move toward your goals.
- Patience is necessary – As much as you’d love to hit the ground running (no pun intended), it will take time before you can run long distances with ease. Again, it takes time to reach your goals as a runner. Depending upon your physical fitness level, it may take several months before you are able to run even a couple of miles. If you are not OK with this, you may never become a runner.
- Don’t shun walking – In the first few weeks of your new endeavor, you are probably going to need take walking breaks during your running sessions. Don’t beat yourself up about this! Give your body time to adapt to running, and don’t shy away from walking when you need to.
- Expect to rest – Some rookie runners become so engrossed in their new hobby that they forget to rest. This is a big mistake. You need to plan 24-hour intervals between running sessions to give your body time to heal and recover. The Active Times’ article 14 Things to Know Before You Start Running states, “Also, don’t be afraid to take an extra rest day if you feel like you need it. If something feels off or you’re feeling particularly tired, you’re better off playing it safe. One extra day off to allow your body to heal is definitely better than having to take off weeks or months because of an injury.”
- Physiotherapists are your friends – If you have a lot of questions about running or have pain anywhere in your body, it’s a good idea to talk with a physiotherapist before you begin your new activity. A physiotherapist can help you set appropriate goals and show you how to prevent common running-related injuries.
Leave Your Comfort Zone in the Dust
Neal Donald Walsch says that life begins at the end of your comfort zone. For aspiring runners, this is especially applicable. Now is the best time for you to act upon your desire to begin running.