There are several reasons people want to start running for fitness.

Many people have told me that they could only lose weight when they started running. Even though they are active at the gym participating in group classes, spinning, and lifting weights, they still can’t lose weight.

Some people are cyclists who say that they ride their bikes as a recreational activity and to stay fit. Yet when they started running, they began to lose weight and gain muscle.

Running is done with no equipment (except for a good pair of shoes) so it is great for your fitness goals if you can’t get to a gym and don’t have any equipment at home.

Sometimes it is just good to do an exercise outside in the fresh air. It can be done solo or with a group. To start running for fitness, follow these guidelines.

Run/Walk

Start your running session with walking. Walking for ten minutes to warm up the muscles will prevent injury and will get your heart rate up a little before you start the hard workout. After the warm-up, you will begin running. Try running for one minute and walk for two minutes. Or, if you feel comfortable, run until you feel you have to walk. Then walk until you catch your breath again. Keep alternating until you are done with the distance you want to run.

Run easy. Don’t sprint and then stop. Run at a slow pace at first. In a few weeks, you will eventually be able to run longer before you need to walk. Naturally, you will also get faster and your running time will be greater than your walking time.

Run With a Group

Find a running group to join. It is easier to run consistently if you have accountability. Also, when you run with other people they will help you push on to go a little longer during your running and maybe go a little faster. Although don’t go too fast if it is not comfortable for you. Go at your own pace. Running should be fun, not torture.

Some people are better at running by themselves. It gives them time to think and enjoy their surroundings. Running in groups is not for everyone. You could split it up also. Run the long runs with a group and the shorter runs by yourself. This sport does not have to be competitive. Start running for fitness and the joy you receive from it.

Stretch After Your Run

Stretch after you are done running. This will prevent injury and help your muscles not be sore afterward. You may still be a little sore because you are gaining muscle. That is a good thing. You are using muscles that you haven’t used much before. Your muscles will get toned which will help with your fitness goals.

I wrote a blog post, 6 Post-Run Stretches to Prevent Soreness, demonstrating the stretches that I do after every run, whether it is a short or long run.

Sign Up For a Race

Signing up for a race will give another incentive to run, and it will give you a goal to work towards. Start out with a 5K or a 10K. The accomplishment after crossing the finish line is exhilarating. After you get more fit and can run longer distances, try a half marathon or a full marathon. Even during the race is fun because you are surrounded by other people who love running also and the spectators help you move forward by cheering you on.

Keep Track of Your Running Progress

Keep track of your running progress by downloading a fitness app. Two great ones are MyFitnessPal and RunCoach. They both are free. I use MyFitnessPal to keep track of my food intake, weight, and fitness activities. Runcoach is good to know what to run every day. Enter your race or goal into the app and it will then generate a running program for you, telling you how many miles to do each day and at what pace.

Running can help with your fitness by toning your muscles where other exercises don’t work. It is great for endurance by running at a steady pace for a longer period of time.

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How to Start Running for Fitness
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