Running is a good exercise, a great way to reduce stress and a sport that is practiced anywhere, anytime. In addition, you will never run late for a course or have trouble finding parking at the fitness center. All you have to do is put on your sneakers and get out.
So how do you get started – and more importantly, how do you stick with it for the long term? We’ve collected a few tips from Manulife runners who’ve taken part in everything from 5kms to more seasoned athletes who have run marathons.
1. Start small. Ease into your routine with 20-30 minutes of walking and running, starting by running for two minutes, walking for one, running for another two, etc. When you’re comfortable with that, move to three minutes, then four.
2. Invest in a good pair of shoes. Running in an old pair of sneakers or shoes that are meant for a different sport can lead to injury. Try to shop at a store where the salespeople are knowledgeable about running and can assess your gait.
3. Focus on form. When you’re running, look ahead, not at your feet. Don’t hunch; keep your shoulders relaxed and level. Running tall keeps your torso straight, which maximizes your lung capacity and your stride.
4. Get outside. Running outdoors allows you to get some fresh air and explore interesting neighbourhoods.
5. Be accountable. Pair up with a friend or join a running group; an online search will net you several possibilities, from store-sponsored workshops to community groups.
6. Don’t run every day. Three to four times a week is a good start. Give your body a break to recover between workouts.
7. Schedule it in. Commit to running on specific days, at specific times.
8. Set a goal. Working towards something is very motivating. So sign up for a race and get training for the big day. The first time you cross that finish line, the feeling of accomplishment is extremely rewarding.
9. Crank the tunes. Great music can really help you get moving, and it makes any run more fun.
10. Just do it. Don’t feel like running? Tell yourself you’ll just run for five minutes. If you’re still struggling after that first five, go home. But chances are, once you’re out, you’ll be motivated to keep going!