Start running, and don't stop
It is not difficult to become a runner, writes David Hay Jones. You can begin at any stage of your life. You are never too old or unfit. The secret is to begin gently and never give up.
Begin right away: The most important thing you need to start running is the willpower and commitment to follow through on your decision to begin. Even if you don't have a pair of good running shoes -- buy them tomorrow -- you can begin today with a 30-minute walk in whatever shoes you have.
Buy a pair of running shoes: These are essential. They are the difference between running for pleasure and pain. Be sure to buy the right sort for you feet by going to a running store and talking to a salesperson who knows about running, feet, and shoes. Don't trust Foot Locker, Athlete's Foot or any similar place. They are not runners, nor are they trained to serve runners. (Find out how to choose the right shoe for you
Do not rush: If you have not run at all, or not run for some years, you need to build the ability to run over many months. Start by walking and running. Gradually, over days and weeks, increase the amount of running compared to walking until you can run for 30 minutes. You don't need to do more than 30 minutes a day, three to four times a week for the first month.
The miracle isn't that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.
The Penguin Bingham, Runner's World columnist)
Always be comfortable: In the beginning, it's all about building and training your body to run. It's not about racing or speed. That comes much later. Running should not be painful, uncomfortable, or make it difficult for you to beathe. If you are struggling, slow down. Walk if necessary.
Conversation pace: When you run, do it slow enough that you can comfortably talk. This is called conversation pace. If you cannot speak in complete sentences when you run, if you struggle to think and find words, you are going too fast.
Three-week threshold: There are going to be times when you struggle, don't feel good about running, and want to give up. That's why it is important to keep the running as gentle as you can until you cross the three-week threshold. If you get beyond three weeks, you are very likely to keep going because your running habit will have taken root.
Stay hydrated: When you exercise, you sweat. Replace the lost fluid. Water is fine. Sports drinks are good, too. Energy drinks such as Red Bull are not helpful. They usually contain too much sugar and other unnecessary ingredients. And they are way too expensive for what they are.
Food: Take a close look at the food you eat and what you drink. Now that you've started running, it's natural to improve your diet by eating a greater variety of foods, more fresh fruit and vegetables. If you eat a lot of fast and processed food, drive-thru meals, and takeout, see if you can cut down on the frequency and amount. Cut down on alcohol consumption if you are a heavy driker.
Encouragement: If you'd like encouragement, morale boosts, and positive feeback, join a reader's forum at Runner's World. They're a friendly bunch on the whole and are usually willing to listen and help. They have discussion boards for all types and ages of runner.
Don't give up: The rewards of running in terms of weight loss, health benefits, and mental wellbeing are well documented. Keep at it until you feel the improvements. Even if you are tired, fed up, lack motivation, and want an excuse to stop running, do NOT give up.
By David Hay Jones