“Spring is the time of plans and projects,” Tolstoy wrote, and we tend to agree. For most of us, spring feels like the natural beginning of the year – the time to think about new possibilities and ventures, and also to act upon them.
This is the ideal time for outdoor activities, so if you’ve considered including jogging as part of your workout regimen, or you’ve grown tired of the treadmill, or you’ve simply never run before – now might be the right time to start.
Although jogging sounds like a no-brainer, there are some things to consider and mistakes to avoid in order to ensure best results and prevent injury.
Before you go out and start jogging, take a moment to consider your goals – and your physical shape. If you are an absolute beginner at any form of exercise, it might be a good idea to devote a few months to building up a regular exercising routine prior to jogging. It does not have to be intense, but it will help prepare your body for running.
You don’t have to invest in fancy running gear, especially if your goals are modest, but you do need to get a pair of good running shoes. In picking the right pair, consider the type of terrain that you’ll be most likely to run on.
Start slowly and patiently
No matter how impatient you are to transform into a running machine, don’t go all out at once – and don’t expect instant results. Start with shorter and less intense runs, taking enough time to rest before and after your running sessions. Take breaks when jogging whenever necessary; or, combine running with walking. Once your body gets used to a regular jogging routine, you will be able to slowly increase the pace and the distance.
Know your limits
If you’re a beginner or have low stamina, take a brisk walk before you start running. Set the pace that makes you comfortable and won’t leave you out of breath. Don’t push yourself too hard just yet – your body will need some time to adjust. Remember that running puts a lot of pressure on your legs, especially the knees, so stick to flat (and possibly soft) terrain in the beginning.
Learning to breathe properly is the key to proper running. Focus on breathing as much as possible during your initial runs and pace your speed according to your breathing pattern. Try to balance the two by intentionally slowing your breathing or your pace as necessary. The only time when you’re allowed to be breathless is during sprints, but during standard running intervals you should be able to breathe with ease.
Find the motivation
Once you’ve started jogging, you may find it difficult to keep going. In that case, find a running partner or listen to music while running. For most people, music is the best motivator, so invest in suitable wireless headphones and create a customized playlist to set up the pace and get in the right mood. Once you’re “in the zone,” you will be able to focus even more intensely on breathing and maintaining the adequate posture.
Raise the bar
With time, increase your pace and distance and eliminate the need to alternate between walking and running. Include fast sprints in your running sessions and always end with a fast finish, until you are completely spent. Start pushing yourself harder by running uphill and setting different pacing. By this time, you will be able to progress from running two to four times a week and more.
The more you run, the more you will enjoy it. Not only that, but your body will start craving regular exercise. To prevent boredom and prepare your body for a full-body workout that is running, engage in weight-lifting or cardio workouts. Cross-training is a great way to keep in shape and train all groups of muscles – it will increase your strength and boost your stamina.
Take the time to recover
Make sure to take enough time to rest not only between running intervals, but also before and after your runs. Muscle soreness should not prevent you from jogging, but pushing your limits too hard, too fast will inevitably lead to injuries, which can set you back quite a bit. Don’t skip workout on the days when you’re not running and try to maintain a regular sleeping schedule. Remember to stay well-hydrated at all times, and stick to a healthy diet rich in protein. Your eating schedule will demand eating at least two hours before the run – it’s a bad idea to go jogging on a completely full or empty stomach.
Aside from the obvious health benefits, there is another, often neglected advantage to regular running, and that is being filled with profound, intense joy.
Get Fit With Jogging
Jogging will make you feel more energetic, more powerful, and more able to cope with everyday stress. It will help you become mentally and physically stronger, and in that sense, the initial pains will be negligible compared to the ultimate liberation that running brings.