9 Tips to Start Your Running Journey

By Lavanya

Jun 20, 20247 mins read

9 Tips to Start Your Running Journey

Every year, the world celebrates the sport and spirit of running on the first Wednesday of June. Recently the world marked Global Running Day on June 5. The day is supposed to be a worldwide celebration of running, to inspire people of all ages and abilities from around the world to get involved in running. Seasoned runners, amateur joggers, and everyone in between - whichever end of that spectrum you fall in, this event can serve as an impetus to revel in the joy of running. 


If you are someone who has been wanting to take up running seriously, here is your nudge. And some tips and suggestions to help you along your way.


Before starting any kind of new exercise routine, as always, do pay your friendly neighbourhood healthcare professional a visit to make sure everything is ticking along merrily inside you. First, why run? 


What are the benefits of adopting a running habit? 


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Help you lose weight - This is the most attractive part of taking up running. The fact that running regularly can help you lose the extra fat in your body. Of course, this needs to be handled with a supplementary diet! 


Improve heart health - Running can help keep your heart pumping nice and strong. This improves blood circulation and helps reduce the risk of developing heart disease. 


Make your body stronger - By developing a regular running habit, you can gain muscle strength and improve your bone density. This, in turn, can help lessen the risk of you developing diseases like osteopenia and osteoporosis.


Boost your mental health - Did you know that human beings are naturally capable of differentiating various shades of green? Being out in Nature, looking at the grass, the trees, and the blue skies can have massive mental health benefits. The endorphins released due to the exercise can also help reduce stress and improve mood.


How to get started on your running journey?


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1. Get yourself a good pair of running shoes


A good pair needs to provide adequate cushioning for your feet and support to your ankle, helping keep your feet nice and stable. If possible, visit a store that can conduct a gait analysis so you can buy suitable shoes that support your feet and gait pattern. And if you are getting a new pair, take time to break them in.


2. Define your running goals


Why do you want to start running? Is it to lose weight? Is it so you can run a particular distance - 5k / 10k/ marathon? Once you have a goal and a target, you can define your training to suit your goal. But whatever your goal may be, it is best to start small and slowly build it up. 


3. Follow a training plan 


There are plenty of options out there, from the endearingly popular Couch to 5K walk/run method to running coach Hal Higdon's plan to many more in between. These plans detail a method for you to get started from where you are and gradually build up the intensity. This is doubly important when it comes to tackling the weekly long run. 


4. Join a running club


If you do not know where or how to begin, there are local running groups in every city. In Chennai, there are two main local groups - Chennai Runners and Dream Runners - that have chapters spread across the city. Pick one and you will instantly tap into a massive community of like-minded individuals. Group runs are a great way to get into running and that sense of community. This is where you will find runners of all ages and there can be no better inspiration than that! 


5. Track your progress


Plenty of apps for both iPhone and Android phones are available, for free or for a small fee, that lay out a schedule and help you keep track of your progress. This will help with developing consistency, the number one requirement for any new habit. The apps will also include a good warmup and cool-down routine. These are vital. 


6. Pace yourself 


Both during your runs and with your schedule. Social media is full of runners chasing the runner's high, clocking up impressive miles. But doing too much too soon will land you in a world of trouble. Including injury due to overtraining, so buffer your training with plenty of rest periods. Listen to your body.


7. Hydration, hydration, hydration


In a country like India, with its soaring temperatures, it is important to keep drinking water. Small sips throughout your training, with plenty of water to follow during the remainder of the day is the way to go. Likewise, eat plenty of protein to nourish your muscles and adequate carbs to fuel your runs. 


8. Supplement your training


​Developing a running habit is exciting in the beginning but for it to be sustainable, it is good to mix it up. Add in some strength training, and some weight lifting to improve your overall fitness and also, build up muscle and strength. Or even some yoga or mobility work, to switch things up and reduce the intensity. 


9. Run a race


Some fall into a running routine by signing up for a race and training for it. Some pick it up, develop it, and then decide to run a race. Whichever way you do it, participating in a timed event is a good goal to keep things interesting and help your focus. Chennai Runners run an annual marathon event, including 5k, 10k, and half marathons; Dream Runners organise a half marathon and a 10K race. If there is nothing near you, register for a virtual race and clock the miles.


A healthy lifestyle is a happy lifestyle. The positive impact of an active lifestyle on our mental and physical health cannot be overstated. When you formulate a plan, set realistic goals and consistently follow it, great things will begin to happen. Celebrate your journey, clock those miles, and keep working on that running habit - not just as a celebration of Global Running Day, but as a new, healthy way of life.