I never considered myself a runner. A number of back injuries when I was younger and one doctor who told me I shouldn't do impact exercises was enough for me to quit running for good. "Want to do this 5K for a cause?" my friends would ask. "I can't run, but I'll donate!" I would chirp back.
As it turns out, I can run - it just took a little work. For me, a person who spent the last 10 years spinning, biking and jogging on the elliptical trainer at the gym instead - it was about strengthening my core first, then working myself into it. And guess what? You can run too. I stayed active despite my self-proclaimed disability, but even if you haven't owned a pair of running sneakers in 15 years, you can get up and go. You'll be signing up for a 5K (dare I say a half marathon?) before you know it.
Here's how to get started:
Get excited about running
What are you looking to get out of running? A stronger cardiovascular system? Weight loss? That awesome runner's high? For me, it was the environment. I lived in a fantastic city with a glorious running path along the river, and I just wanted to be part of the amazing running community that set out on the trail every morning. Biking is great, but when I don't have wheels, being able to set out and enjoy the fresh air is priceless. Whatever it is that excites you about running - start thinking about it to get that mental motivation. That's half the battle!
Get the right gear
One surefire way to guarantee you'll hate running? Wear the wrong stuff. The apparel you wear while running should, above all else, make you feel great. That could mean it's super comfy, super flattering, or a little bit of both. Shoes are a great place to start - a pair like the springboost motion optimizes muscle activation and relieve pressure to reduce stress on the joints. Your knees will thank you!
A top like the lytess excelsport fitness top will flatter your physique while supporting posture and allowing you to move freely. Trust me, these qualities are a must!
You might be hesitant to throw down the big bucks on a new pair of sneakers or a sports bra if you won't keep up with your running after a month. But in my opinion, that's exactly the reason to buy them! They can act as a reminder and motivation for your fitness goals. Plus, they'll give you the support you need so you're less likely to quit over discomfort or pain.
If you haven't been too active lately, start by walking for 10 to 30 minutes. Once you can do this, add 1-2 minute bursts of running. Over time, gradually reduce the walking time and run for longer periods of time. Work up to the point when you can run for 30 minutes straight.
Focus on form
Not only will good form make you look like you know what you're doing with all those other runners on the trail (that was my concern!), it's what's best for your body. Roll your shoulders back and down and remember to draw them away from your ears as you run - you might have a tendency to tense up. You can swing your arms in an even front to back motion, keeping your neck up straight.
Stretching is perhaps the most important part of your run, keeping your muscles, joints and bones healthy, strong and flexible as you begin your running journey. Try some yoga moves like downward-facing dog or pigeon pose to stretch the lower back and hip flexors, two places tension builds when running.
Now, when is your next 5K?