If jogging was easy, everyone would do it. But think about it—we are born runners. Kids run everywhere. You can't stop them!
So what happened? How do we become again the runners we were always meant to be?
Read on for some top tips—then get outside and put one foot in front of the other.
A couple of years ago I experimented with a pair of $70 outlet-store runners, to see if there really was much of a difference between them and my $190 professionally fitted running shoes. I lasted two runs.
Shoes matter. If you’re new or returning to running, head to a brick-and-mortar running store and get some pro advice and a proper fitting. Try several models. Buy the one that fits you best and suits your stride. (Whatever you save on budget shoes, you’ll spend on physio.)
And realize that, with regular runs, you’ll only get about six to eight months per pair. Still cheaper than a gym membership! (How will you know your shoes are worn out? Your knees, hips and IT bands will tell you—listen.)
When road-running, I go minimalist. For the trails, though, some storage is necessary. I prefer a fanny pack. This model from Avventura Outdoors carries 1.5 litres of water, plus some basic first-aid, snacks (for me and my dog), my phone and wallet.
Keep this advice in mind when you start your running regimen:
Breathe, don’t puff. Avoid short, hyperventilating breaths. In through your nose, out through your mouth. Don’t breathe in time with your footsteps; don’t breathe erratically.
Stand tall. Hunching over not only is bad for your back, but it inhibits your breathing, meaning you’ll tire easier. This is especially important while trail running, as jogging on inclines often encourages hunching.
Keep your form. Aside from standing tall, some other basic form-rules to follow include—land every stride midfoot (on the ball), relax your hands and shoulders, look ahead (not down) and always keep your toes pointed in your direction of travel.
Walk, if you need to. If you can only jog three kilometres but can make it to four if you walk a klick—do so. In fact, many experienced runners mix intervals into their runs, or create a regimen of High Intensity Interval Training. Nobody’s keeping score—it’s always better to keep moving than to call it quits.
Warm up. I used to run right out the front door. It was the worst part of my jog. Now I walk a block or two first. It starts the blood flowing, loosens the limbs and sets the mood.
Buddy up. Mine is my dog. Maybe yours is too? Stats show accountability keeps us moving—and nothing motivates more than a hyperactive pup or a nagging best friend.
Set distance goals. I like weekly goals that I can meet with a variety of runs. Perhaps your goal is 15 kilometres per week? Run two 5Ks, one 3K and a simple 2K—the last of which will likely take less than 15 minutes. Implementing a variety of distances will keep the motivation up and the monotony down.
Schedule your days. Don’t fall into the trap of saying “I’ll jog three times per week.” Rather—“I’ll jog Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday.” Treat it like a job and it’ll pay off like one.
Foam roller. Stretching is good. Foam roller is better. Pickup a foamy from your local fitness store and roll out those muscles post-jog. You will learn to love it.
And you will learn to love running—again.