If you had asked me 10 years if I would have ever considered myself a runner, I would have laughed at you. But the beauty of running is once you get started, and really see that you CAN do it … it becomes a drug you can’t live without.
Starting a running program can be easy – if you are willing to put the time and effort into it. Running is not a quick fix, but it can be one of the easiest ways to drop a few pounds, improve your endurance, and get healthier … and melt some stress while you’re at it.
To get you started, check out this great slideshow, filled with tips from trainers, runners, and regular people, straight from the desks of Women’s Health: 101 Greatest Running Tips | Women’s Health Magazine.
As far as tips that have worked for me, I certainly have a few. Some of the best ones:
- Focus on that first mile. Once you make it past mile one, your body is warm, your breathing has settled into a rhythm, and you’re focused more on your thoughts than what you’re doing. With the first mile under your belt, so much of your run becomes a mental game.
- Vary your speed to pick up speed. I tend to use this tip on the treadmill, but you can do it anywhere – the more you change up your speed, the faster your body will become. Before long, you will find that you’ll cover more distance in less time.
- Incorporate intervals. This ties into the last point – intervals can be based on speed, time, distance, whatever you find works for you. And interval work will help confuse your heart rate – which means you’ll be burning more calories long after you finish your run. (As a side note … I’ve also found that one days that distance is just not working for me, 8-12 intervals can cover the same distance and burn the same calories – sometimes even more calories – without the steady, consistent effort. That fast minute or two may be tough, but that minute of easy recovery makes a big difference.)
- Make music part of your run. I wonder sometimes how I ever used to run without an mp3 player. Music helps your set and maintain a speed, create an environment that encourages you to keep going, and perhaps most importantly, keep yourself distracted from the sound of your heavy breathing or feet hitting the ground. Research shows music has an impact on how long and hard you can work out!
So, that said … yes, you can be a runner! Lace up your shoes, find a path, trail, road or treadmill to keep you going towards better health and greater fitness.