How to start running and turn it into a habit?

Here are a few tips to help you make running a part of your life, as well as avoid common beginner mistakes.

To help you end procrastination and give you a "magic kick", we've put together tips that will come in handy for those who still can't make running a healthy habit.

And if what is written here is not new for you, send the link to this article to a friend who “wants” to start running for a long time, but will not start in any way (we know - everyone has such a friend).

Start gradually
Before you start running, it's worth to at least have a little preparation. Start, for example, with a brisk walk or indoor cycling for half an hour a day with a regularity of 4-5 times a week.

We also recommend that you start running training with alternating running and walking. Of course, there is always a temptation to rush and run to the point of exhaustion at first, but believe me: running performance will improve significantly, and the risk of injury will be minimal if you change the walk/run ratio in the direction of increasing the duration of the run gradually and smoothly.

If you don't know where to start, try sticking to a one-minute run-four-minute walk ratio, increasing the length of your runs until they are twice as long as walking.

Don’t rush to set a record
The main goal of a novice runner is to improve fitness and avoid injury.

Running too far at too high a pace for which the body is simply not ready is one of the most common causes of injuries such as periosteum inflammation and "runner's knee".

Here it would be appropriate to recall one of the “golden rules” of running: increase your weekly mileage by no more than 10%.

Listen to your body
A mild delayed onset muscle soreness (especially in the quads and calves) is normal with increasing distance or pace, but not all pain should be ignored.

Sharp pain or pain that gets worse when walking, running, or performing habitual movements is a signal that you should take a three-day break and possibly see a doctor. Also an important symptom can be asymmetrical (only in one part of the body) pain.

Choose the right equipment

If you're just getting into running, then you can safely do without expensive gadgets and gadgets for runners, but new running shoes are a must.

Worn shoes often lead to injuries, and the wear of the sole is not always visible. The best option is to go to a specialized store where you can undergo special testing to select running shoes (determine running technique, foot pressure on the surface, type of pronation, etc.).

Shoes need to be selected precisely according to these indicators, and not based on considerations of “cool colors” or “promotional price”, because properly selected sneakers are the key to knee health.

It is believed that the average “mileage” of sneakers, after which they need to be changed, is somewhere around 500-800 km. Another important element of a runner's outfit is water-wicking clothing that will keep the body warm and relatively dry. Therefore, when buying clothes, pay attention to the 'Running' marking on the tags - this is the easiest way to make the right choice.

Take planned breaks

At first it may seem that when alternating running and walking, the latter can sometimes be skipped. However, it is worth moving to a step before you feel the need to do so - this will avoid overtraining.

If the training plan for a particular day provides for regular transitions to a step, you must strictly adhere to the recommendations - this will allow you to perform the tasks with high quality and prevent overload.

Maintain the right balance of calories
You need to monitor nutrition - eat enough to be in a good shape, but avoid overeating and heavy food, as this causes a feeling of lethargy and drowsiness. Half of every meal should consist of complex carbohydrates - fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

A quarter of calories should come from unsaturated fats - avocados, nuts, seeds and olive oil. Well, one more quarter comes with lean protein - fish, lean poultry, eggs and legumes.

Find your perfect route
It is very important for a novice runner to find a safe and comfortable route for running. Of course, you can just leave the house and start circling around the area, but if for some reason this is not very safe (for example, due to gas pollution), it is worth considering other options, even if this requires additional time.

For example, running on a treadmill is a more "hothouse" option compared to the street, but a scheduled workout on it can be done in any weather.

On the one hand, a stadium or an arena is an ideal option for a beginner due to its flat terrain, the absence of pedestrians and vehicles, and precisely measured lap lengths. But, on the other hand, running around the stadium can be monotonous and boring, which in no way will help you fall in love with it.

The ideal option is parks and forests with fresh air and no cars. Running in such a place will allow you to psychologically reboot and recharge your batteries.

Train more than your body
After a few weeks of regular training, it begins to seem that all this talk about "runner's euphoria" has a certain amount of truth. And yet, the most difficult part of the run at first will be the way from the couch to the door.

Don't always rely on willpower. It's a good idea to create a training plan, choose a playlist that suits your mood, plan your day, and remember what motivated you to exercise. The plan is best placed somewhere in a conspicuous place so that it catches the eye.

If you plan to go for a run in the morning, put your sports uniform near your bed the night before. After a well-practiced workout, treat yourself to something nice - a relaxing hot shower or a delicious breakfast - so that the brain begins to associate physical activity with subsequent pleasant compensation.

Be patient

The changes for the better that exercise brings are not always immediately visible in the mirror or on the scale. Excess weight will go away with the right training, but improving the condition of muscle mass, ligaments and tendons takes a little more time.

The body will produce more capillaries (blood vessels that carry oxygen and waste products in and out of cells), mitochondria (energy-producing structures in cells), and enzymes that help the body break down fat for energy.

In addition, running stimulates the growth of bone mass, the bones become stronger and denser. But impatience leads to the risk of overtraining and injury.

Get a training plan

For beginners, it is best to use a ready-made plan, for example, the “First 5 kilometers” plan, based on alternating running and walking with a gradual increase in running segments. This plan is designed for 9 weeks, after which you will be able to comfortably run a distance of 5 km.