ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Running for Exercise: Tips to Get Started

Updated on October 3, 2012
Me Back in the day - Old Kent River Bank Run 25K
Me Back in the day - Old Kent River Bank Run 25K
Me More Recent (2010) - Crim 10 Mile Road Race
Me More Recent (2010) - Crim 10 Mile Road Race

Some people hate running. Getting started can be a painful experience if you try to do too much too soon. I’ve been running off and on for about 35 years and going from my off periods to my on periods takes some effort and determination. I’m not a racer, but I have run in a few races and I’m not particularly fast, that takes some natural talent, physique and determination. The health benefits don’t necessarily come from training to be a fast runner. They come from training to be a long distance slow runner. This is the kind of training or exercise that will build your cardio-vascular system and burn the calories to shed poundage. So how do you get started?

Goals

Set a goal, ask yourself why do I want to do this. Do you want to just be in better health? Do you want the natural boost in energy that regular exercise can provide? Do you want to lose weight? Do you want to prepare for a race? Do you want an activity that will get you outside? Do you want to run to improve your fitness for some other activity?

I’ve had each of these goals at one time or another. Sometimes I would sign up for a race that looks attractive at the end of the summer and start training in the spring. No I am committed to follow through, especially if I sign up with friends. One time I got tired of the belly I was carrying around with me. I dropped from 205 lbs. in February to 167 lbs. in August. I like to canoe and camp in wilderness areas during my vacation time. Being fit enough to carry the canoe and packs easily make that time much more enjoyable.

Figure out a way to measure your progress towards that goal. Body weight is probably the easiest measurement. Try to notice subtle changes in your energy level or even your attitude. Running can release bio-chemical substances called Endorphins which can bring on feelings of euphoria. The improved cardio-vascular system will improve the blood circulation to all parts of your body which should increase your energy level. Chart your progress, whether it’s in pounds or miles or minutes, looking at improvements and accomplishments can be motivating in itself.

Shoes

A good pair of shoes is essential. If you go to a reputable sporting goods store or better yet, a running store, you should get some good advice on shoe selection. They should fit well, be comfortable and provide adequate cushion for your intended use. Be prepared to answer questions about approximate weight, how often and how far you will run and how much you want to spend. You should be able to find a good pair of shoes in the $60 to $100 range.

Walking

If you have never run before, then start by walking. Walking can be better exercise for some anyway, the only problem is that it takes so much more time to equal the same amount of energy (calories burned) that you would running. Start with a distance you are comfortable with then increase it until you can walk for over an hour. This not only strengthens your legs and improves your cardio, it also conditions your feet to avoid soreness and blisters. Once you can walk for this long you can mix in short runs. For example, walk the distance between 4 or more telephone poles then run the distance between two. You get the idea.

Route selection

Run outside. Treadmills are boring and don’t require the effort that running outside requires. Sure you can “simulate” a hill with an incline, but terrain, road surface, wind and overall alertness expend more energy. In addition, running 15 minutes outside would feel like 30 minutes on a treadmill. Select a route that is interesting, a park trail, a country road, a quiet subdivision, along a lake. Try to avoid vehicle traffic as much as you can, it will be more enjoyable and safe. If running alone on an isolated trial concerns you, then bring a friend or your dog, or have a family member ride a bike along with you.

Music

Listening to music while you run makes the time go faster and seems to boost your energy. If you intend to run for a certain length of time, you can “push it” by saying to yourself, “one more song”. I found that press in ear buds don’t stay in, so I use the ones the one that have clips that hang on your ears. I tuck the wires under my shirt and pull the buds through the neck opening. The MP3 player can go in a pocket or be safety pinned to your pants. You should take care to be visually alert for approaching traffic and other potential hazards while you are running if music can distract you.

Relaxation

When you start, start slow. It may feel like you could walk just as fast as you are running. That is OK, you are trying to find your pace. Eventually you will speed up. Try not to push off too vigorously on each step and try not to pound your heels into the ground as your foot moves forward. It should be more like lifting your foot behind and placing it flat on the ground in front, almost like shuffling. Let yourself relax as you move, dangle your arms, rotate your head a bit to get that relaxed feeling. Focus on your breathing. If you find yourself starting to gasp for breath you are running too fast. It’s your body trying to get more oxygen into your blood to remove the lactic acid build up caused by burning fuel during muscle exertion. It will take while to find your pace, don’t be discouraged if you end up with burning muscles and a sore lungs from breathing too rapidly, the first few times.

Companions

Running companions are great. Not only do they provide motivation on those “wah, wah, I don’t feel like it days” but they can make the run seem shorter. You should be able to have a conversation while you run. Doing so will indicate that you are not running too fast and you are controlling your breathing just about right. They can provide an extra sense of security, and extra set of eyes to spot the car that is about to run a stop sign, or a dog lurking in the bushes.

Adding miles or distance or running days

Once you become accustomed to running a certain distance, there becomes sort of a mental barrier making it difficult to exceed that distance. Try to increase your distance slightly each week. I usually have one long run, one short run and one medium distance run per week. I add to my long distance run, then, when it is sufficiently long, I replace my middle distance run with what was my long distance run. I found when I was younger that I could run 6 days a week but I needed one day to recover. Now that I’m older I find that 3 days a week is about right. Some say that you need to run every day, but I have successfully trained for a 10 mile race by running only 3 days a week, granted those 3 days built up to a point where I ran a 5, 8 and 10 mile run during the week. You will probably tend to plateau and run the same distance a few weeks in a row, especially as your weekly mileage increases. That is fine, just keep at it.

Motivation

Run if you feel like it, you want to make it fun, something you want to do, not something you dread. You will find eventually after establishing a routine, that if you don’t run, you will miss it. Don’t feel bad about taking a day or two off, it could be your body subconsciously telling you to ease up. In the beginning if you find yourself making too many excuses not to run, try to dress in running clothes as soon as you get up in the morning or when you come home from work. Once you have your running clothes on, might as well go!

Overtraining or listening to your body

Beware of pushing yourself too hard. Listen to your body. Pain that is muscle pain and eventually goes away is good (and even feels good sometimes). Pain that is sharp and persistent is something to watch out for. It could be joint or bone problems and you probably need to stop for a while or at least ease up. The old adage of playing through the pain can lead to injury and spending lots of time on the couch eating popcorn and watching your favorite TV shows. It’s good to push yourself sometimes, from that can come some good results, but you have to know when you can push and when you should ease up. So if you are just starting give yourself some time to figure this out.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • 4wardthinker profile image

      4wardthinker 

      5 years ago from Sierra Nevada CA

      I enjoyed your article. It's great for the leisure runner. Maybe CyclingFitness should write an article on, "How I Suffer From Arrogance" for his collection.

    • jimmar profile imageAUTHOR

      jimmar 

      6 years ago from Michigan

      you are probably correct - I was writing these hubs for a year or so, before I realized I didn't have any of the monetary stuff enabled - the numbers you mention would be nice - I'm getting only abour 400+ hits a week on my 50 hubs - but I don't spend a lot of time promoting or even reading/writing for that matter. I write about MY interests....probably boring stuff to most here.

    • jimmar profile imageAUTHOR

      jimmar 

      6 years ago from Michigan

      jpcmc - I'm right there with you - an arthritic hip, bad knee, and long commute are the excuses I'm using now

    • CyclingFitness profile image

      Liam Hallam 

      6 years ago from Nottingham UK

      Maybe your focus is different to mine- I have hubs that make double and treble figures yearly so looks like you need more practice thinking about what to write. Good luck CF

    • jimmar profile imageAUTHOR

      jimmar 

      6 years ago from Michigan

      Ahhhh, but I got you to read it....and comment. More than happens with some of my hubs. I was just bored at work one day so started writing this stuff down. Not really in this for all the traffic, in reality, what is this site going to bring me? A few measly bucks? I can make 10x more selling crap on e-bay. It is fun to look an the stats and fun to put the articles together. Maybe it's just practice for when (or if) I want to become a real writer.

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 

      6 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      I used to run a lot during High School and College. There used to be a high level of energy. But today, I just can't find the time - or I have found more excuses.

      CycklingFitness may be right in that there are many hubs and articles about starting to run. But I still appreciate people sharing their own experiences.

    • CyclingFitness profile image

      Liam Hallam 

      6 years ago from Nottingham UK

      Woohoo- yet another how to start running hub to add to the many already on hubpages!! Every fitness website already has articles like this so you're thrusting yourself into an exceptionally saturated marketplace. Good luck for traffic but I fear for you. CF

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)