How do habitual runners make even the longest, most difficult runs look so easy? There’s only one answer: they practice. When it comes to running — perhaps even more than other exercises — habit is the only thing that really helps make it more enjoyable.
If you want to start running but just don’t quite know where to begin, we’re here to help. Here are seven simple tips and tricks to help you find your groove with creating a running routine, even if you’ve never run before.
Start slow — really slow.
Jumping headfirst into a rigorous running schedule is a good way to get burned out before you even find any enjoyment in running. You want to start things slowly in order to set yourself up for success: a 10-minute run around the block is a great starting point, and giving yourself a day off in between runs is okay. As long as you maintain consistency, you’re on the right track.
Create a schedule.
The people who enjoy running the most are the ones who can’t imagine a day without it. You want to create the same type of habit with your running routine, which means creating a schedule where you don’t skip a day simply because you don’t feel like it. Write your schedule for the week on Sunday evenings so you can plan your runs around your weekly responsibilities (and the weather for outdoor runs).
Get the right gear.
While you don’t need any gear to start to run, there are certainly things that make it more enjoyable. The proper running shoes will keep your feet and knees feeling their best, and an Armpocket armband makes it easy to listen to your favorite music hands-free on your phone and offers other high-quality features.
Find a running buddy.
If you want to really hold yourself accountable, enlist a friend to go on runs with you. This not only makes your run a bit of a social activity, it also makes it much more difficult to bail on your running plan.
Set manageable goals.
Set some goals for yourself so that you can monitor your progress. For example, you might start by challenging yourself to run for 20 minutes without stopping or run your first mile. Later, as you become more adept at running, you can set longer distance goals or even challenge yourself to beat your own fastest time.
Track your runs with an app.
If you’re particularly tech-savvy, you might download a running app to track the distance and speed of your runs, remember the routes you like, and listen to running playlists. Many apps even have a social function that allows you to trade running tips with other runners.
Give yourself days off.
Just like all other types of exercise, running requires days off. This allows your body time to rest, and it allows you to incorporate other workouts, such as strength training, into your routine. Aim for at least one day of rest per week. For new runners, running every other day is a good way to start.