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How to Start a Running Practice in the New Year

24 January 2022

Runners are often stereotyped as being a tough bunch who regularly push themselves to the limits. But in reality, running is one of the simplest and most common physical activities anyone can engage in to keep fit and healthy. And with the start of this new year, there's no better time than now to get started on your running adventures.

Running is a great way to stay in shape and explore the great outdoors. There are many variations on the way to run, and while they all have different benefits, they all have one thing in common: the will to run.

If you want to start a running practice for yourself, here’s what you need to know to get started:

1. Set realistic goals

Before you start, set realistic goals for yourself. If you’re setting out to run a marathon on your first day, it's almost certain you'll find it challenging.

Instead, set reasonable goals you can aim to accomplish over several weeks. You’ll feel more confident and motivated when you're running at a reasonable pace.

2. Invest in comfortable shoes.

Buying quality running shoes is an investment, but investing in the right shoes will make all the difference. You’re likely going to be running a lot more than you might think, so make sure you choose a good pair of trainers with a firm yet cushioned surface underneath them. Specialist running shoes mould to your foot and provide optimal support throughout your run.

Even if it seems like you can’t afford the best pair, start with a cheap but decent pair of trainers and work your way up to upgrading them when possible. Your feet will thank you in the long run!

3. Keep your body in shape

Running will give you a chance to exercise your legs and burn calories, but it's also important to keep an eye on your overall health. For the best results, eat a balanced diet and maintain a healthy weight. Try to stay away from excessive fried foods, soft drinks, and high-fat foods outside of the occasional treat. Instead, opt for lean meats, vegetables, and fruits.

4. Lay out a running route

Before you start, find a route that you enjoy and fits your needs. You can find many maps and routes online, or invest in a GPS device that will connect to your smartphone to record the distance of each run and the route itself. If you’re looking for a specific route, use Google Maps or download a running app on your phone to allow you to predict future runs.

If you are running on an unfamiliar route, check the course out ahead of time to see if it looks safe. When planning your run, also make sure you plan ahead if you want to run by yourself. You should always ensure you're accessible in case you need help or get lost.

5. Join a running club

One of the best things about running is that it can be a social sport. Once you’ve laid out your course and are ready to start running, it's beneficial to join a running club. Running clubs are a great place to meet new people who also enjoy running and a handy place to share new tips and techniques. It's also a good place to get expert advice on training and on what foods you should eat before, during, or after your runs.

6. Find a running buddy

If running clubs aren't your style, why not ask someone if they'd like to join you instead? If you are looking for a partner to run with, you can easily ask among your friends or local community. Since runners are often known for being friendly and approachable, you'll more than likely have few problems finding someone to run with. Besides, it is always nice (and safer) to have company when running on an isolated route.

7. Establish a routine

Once you’re (literally) up and running, it's important to put together a routine so you can keep your body ready for the challenge. Find the time that works best for you. You might find a few minutes for a quick 20-minute break here and there throughout the day or set aside a chunk of time to run in the morning or evening.

In terms of frequency, running two to three days a week is a great way to start seeing progress and building stamina. When you get comfortable, gradually increase the number of days running until you're consistent. If you start feeling too sore after a run, don't forget to stop to let your body rest.

8. Don't overdo it

When you first start running, it's important not to overdo it. When you’re just starting off, it's a good idea to start with walking or jogging. This will not only get your heart rate up, but it will also help your muscles warm up and loosen up. Then, once you're warmed up, start with a controlled jog. When jogging, choose an appropriate speed that is challenging yet doable for you.

In conclusion, running can be very beneficial for many people, especially those who spend most of their time sitting behind a desk (no matter how ergonomic it is!) Running regularly can improve your health, your mood, and your productivity. And you'll look great and feel even better too!

Although we're already a few weeks into the year, it's never too late to start your running practice and get your routine in place for the months ahead.