Did you know that running is good for your mental health?
There is research that shows that running improves mood, running relieves stress, and boosts brain health. It turns out that running increases concentrations of norepinephrine in the body, a chemical that helps moderate the body’s response to stress.
I discovered this first hand when I started running years ago. I was never interested in running but decided to sign up for a 5k in preparation for my wedding. I didn’t expect to fall in love with running and the way it made me feel.
After I completed that first 5k, I knew I was hooked! Running made me feel strong and confident. I went on to complete various half marathons, marathons, a triathlon, and I eventually started coaching runners myself! I love the mental health benefits of running and that’s what keeps me coming back for more.
So how can you get started with running if you want to experience the mental health benefits of running too? I’m sharing 5 tips that will help you get started running.
5 Tips for a Beginner Runner
1. Invest in The Right Pair of Running Shoes
The most important tip that I always share with new runners is to invest in a pair of high-quality running shoes. A lot of people resist getting good shoes because they tend to be pricey, but they are so important to help you avoid injury. Investing in good shoes is an investment in your health.
I recommend getting a professional shoe fitting at a running store. Many running stores provide complimentary running shoe fittings. They will discuss your goals with you so that they can identify a shoe that best meets your specific needs. They will diagnose your step, stride, and stance to find a shoe that is best for you!
2. Start by Building a Walking Routine
Sometimes the hardest part of building a new habit is just getting started! If you’re interested in starting a running routine, you can begin by adding a walking routine to your schedule.
This will help you to establish an exercise habit. Once you successfully add walking to your daily routine, you can move on to the next step.
3. Do Walk/Run Intervals
Don’t be afraid to take walking breaks, especially when you’re first starting out. The way most people start running is by doing walk/run intervals. This helps you to build up your endurance and slowly prepares you to begin running for longer distances.
Walking is also a great way to burn fat and aid in recovery. Adding walks to your training when you’re first getting started can be a great way to help you ease into running.
4. Don’t Take On Too Much Too Fast
When I first tried running back in college, I went out and sprinted as fast as I possibly could. By the time I got back to my dorm, I basically collapsed because I had completely over-taxed myself. That was the only run I ever went on that year. I thought that running was too hard and unfortunately didn’t give it another chance for a few years.
When you first start running, you want to focus on distance, not pace. An easy way to get burnt out quickly is to take on too much too fast. Go slow. Be patient.
If you want running to be sustainable for you, you need to start out slow. If it feels too fast, it probably is!
5. Keep Going! Don’t Give Up!
When you are new to running, it will probably seem really hard. Don’t give up!
When you first start running, it will inevitably be uncomfortable because you’re trying something new! Give it some time and have patience.
Your body will adjust and it will become easier. Before you know it, you will be feeling the runner’s high and so happy that you had the determination to stick with it long enough to see results!