By: Raquel Torres
Running is an excellent physical activity not only to get fit, but also to feel good, and even to meet new friends and see new places. Starting a new habit does not have to be complicated, running is one of the most practical, affordable and effective disciplines, because we simply need a pair of running shoes (in good conditions) and the desire to move, wherever you are.
For those who want to start this new discipline it is highly recommended that the first thing to do is to set a goal, look for an event or race, register and put it on your agenda or calendar.
For those who are starting from scratch, those who have no running experience or people who may have experience, but they feel very out of shape, for any reason, it is advisable to first look for a local event close by your home and a short distance like a 5K or 10K. Every distance is possible for any level, we only need enough time to train and prepare for the distance.
The goal that you set will be the main pillar from which workouts, nutrition and rest will be combined. The goal will help you to focus on the really important things, it will be the reason to strive every day and build discipline.
Some of the benefits of running is feeling happy. If you are already a runner you have experienced this, no matter how you feel good or bad, after running or doing a physical activity for more than 40 minutes you will feel better, this goes beyond the so-called “Runners high”, it is the production of “happy hormones” (endorphins).
Recent scientific studies in sport medicine now confirm that exercises like running or cycling for 40 minutes or more at 70-80% of maximum heart rate is able to significantly improve some mental and emotional disorders such as depression. When exercising you can experience the benefits of spending time in nature and how it positively impacts humans physically, mentally and psychologically. It helps to decrease the number of stress hormones in your body that feed anxiety and depression like Cortisol and Adrenaline.
How to start training: The Run-Walk Method is an excellent option for those who have never run and for runners to improve their times. Contrary to what many people think, this technique doesn’t mean to walk when you are “tired”, it means to take recovery walks.
You must use this technique of running / walking that best suits you, here some examples:
|Experience/Fitness level:||Running time:||Walk time:|
|Beginner||10-30 Secs||1-5 minutes|
|Intermediate||1-5 minutes||1-3 minutes|
This technique is simple: for example, start trying to do a total of 20-40 minutes of exercise, doing 1 to 5 minutes of running + 1 to 5 minutes of walking (alternating run/walk/run/walk), after a 3-4 weeks and some progress you can slowly increase your running time while decreasing the walk time. There are a number of apps for your phone that can be setup depending on how long your run and walk timed are.
Setting short term goals will help you to stay motivated and long term goals to stay consistent, always take 1 or 2 days off every week and try to run/walk at least 3 times a week.
Have a plan, be patient, enjoy the process and always remember, do your best for yourself and avoid comparing your progress or goals with others. Adding the habit of running to your life will attract many other good habits and benefits to you, your family and friends.