Have you caught the jogging bug but are unsure of how to start? Jogging is just like any other exercise or physical activity in that starting out right will produce far better results than getting into it on a whim.
Reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and hypertension by starting a regular jogging or running program. It’s a no-brainer that losing weight and warding off diabetes go hand in hand. Jogging is great for stress reduction since it increases the body’s supply of feel-good endorphins.
How to Get Into Jogging
People get started for a variety of reasons, but it’s important to start out having fun and not injuring yourself. These tips will help you know how to get started safely and without injury.
1. Go Slow
Like any physical exercise, jogging can hurt you when you’re first starting out. When I started, I considered myself to be in great physical shape, yet I could barely make it a few steps without gasping for breath.
If that sounds like you, starting out on a home elliptical exerciser will help you get in shape effortlessly.
Even if you can go longer distances than that when you start, you stand a good chance of experiencing terrific muscle soreness and regretting ever getting into it.
Most new runners find that either their breath or their muscles won’t take them as far as they would like to go. Either way, they decide it’s just not a good idea to keep going.
The Run-Walk Method
The run-walk method is one of the easiest ways to get started. Instead of starting out with a goal of jogging the entire distance, try walking
The best way to get started is by walking for 5 minutes and then stepping up the pace for 2 minutes or less. You’ll know when to start walking for 5 minutes and getting faster for 10 minutes.
That’s the best way to get into jogging bit by bit until you’re going for 15 minutes and then 30 minutes. Then, it won’t be long until you’re ready for the half-marathon.
Slowly working yourself up to a steady jog without walking will allow you to get out of bed tomorrow.
So what if it takes days or even weeks to be able to jog without intermittent walking? This way, you don’t risk injury or burning out before you get started. And the truth is that intermittent jogging and walking will always be a great warm up routine even if you’re a veteran runner.
2. Good Running Shoes
For my money, this is the key to whether most beginners stick with it or quit before they make any progress.
Don’t skimp when it comes to shoes. A good pair may cost more than you’re used to paying for shoes. Why shouldn’t they?
The right shoes can make the difference between sore legs, damaged feet, and a fun run. When it comes to what to wear, shoes should be your top priority.
3. Plan Your Route
Don’t even bother getting started without a planned route. It’s just not a good idea to hit the streets without a goal. In fact, it’s not much different than leaving on vacation and having no idea where you’re going or when you’ll be home.
When I don’t have a plan, my mind can’t be at ease and enjoy the trip. I keep concerning myself with deciding if I should go this way or that and how much farther I should jog.
With a route planned before hand, I can focus only on my breath, feet, the view, and sounds until I find myself swallowed up in relaxation.
4. Drink Water
When you’re just getting into jogging, chances are you’re not doing marathons but sticking to shorter runs. However, dehydration causes all sorts of problems with your body, and is something to be concerned about.
If you don’t drink enough water before you start, you will get tired and lower your performance. Staying hydrated means a more enjoyable run with less muscle fatigue and soreness.
I’m guessing we all use sports drinks these days, and as good as they are, they’re no substitute for hydrating your body with water before, during, and after any exercise.
5. Give Yourself Rewards
Rewarding yourself is great motivation for exercising, especially on those days when you don’t really want to fool with it.
When getting started is difficult, I can think of some small treat to reward myself with for finishing my exercise. I use anything from a hot bath to a good excuse for a cold beer when I jog all the way to the pre-planned finish line.
Use anything you can to motivate yourself to exercise; you’ll be glad when you’ve completed your running routine.
6. Take A Break
Rest days are important, whether you are just getting into it, or are a seasoned vet. Don’t try to run everyday.
Your body needs a break to allow your muscles, knees, and joints to recuperate. I find it best to run for a couple of days, rest a day, and run for two.
I try to work in time for my exercise bike on days off, which is great for cardio exercise and weight loss.
7. Take Your Phone
Some days I like the quietness and solitude; other days I like to jam to my favorite music; and still other days I listen to my favorite motivational speakers.
Actually, taking your phone makes sense for several reasons. Of course, listening to music is one, but what about for safety reasons, an accident, or any emergency that might come up?
And if you happen to forget where you are when running the streets and get lost, you can always use Google Maps to get you home. Not to mention the apps to map your runs.
You will love a phone armband to keep your phone safe and secure at all times. No more worrying about a pocket to carry it in.
8. Jog With Friends
As with any exercise, it’s regularity that makes the difference and forms lifelong habits and routines. When it comes to how to get into jogging, you can’t beat finding a friend or group of friends to participate with you.
Exercise with friends will keep you motivated to begin, motivated to finish, and entertained. Even though jogging is a great solitary sport, it’s just as great and sometimes better with a running buddy or a running group.
A running buddy, or more experienced runners, can help you set a moderate pace for the entire distance or run for longer periods of time.
The best advice I can give you on how to start is to remember that you are just starting! You’re not a marathon runner yet. So go slow, start out slow, and work up to long runs.
9. Start With Stretching
I think it’s better said like this: “Do not start without stretching!” Just a few minutes to warm muscles prior to stressing them can make the difference between a great run and an injury.
Dynamic stretches are what I’ve found to work best and are one of the easiest ways to warm up joints, tendons, and muscles.
Here’s a post with more info on stretches and five great examples to get you started: Should You Stretch?
Experienced runners know that any type of exercise or workout prior to a run will improve speed and agility.
10. Form is Crucial
Good form is crucial to your success as a runner. The right form lets you run more efficiently while decreasing the strain on your body, which will reduce the risk of injury.
Proper form reduces the risk that you will feel weary and ensures that you are making the most of the time you spend exercising.
Look Far Ahead
New runners find it easy to stare at their feet, or just ahead of them. That’s not only bad form, you never know what’s ahead, such as automobiles, animals, people, or something to stumble over.
Keep Your Head Up and Directly Over Your Shoulders
You will notice some people jogging with their heads stuck out in front of their bodies. The problem with this is that the position is really stressing your neck, shoulders, and upper back. Instead, be certain you’re not leaning your body or head forward.
Relax Your Body
Check yourself periodically to be sure your shoulders and upper body aren’t hunched over and tensed up. That’s not good form, and breathing is much easier when you’re shoulders and chest muscles are relaxed.
Any time you realize you’re shoulders are tightening up, try doing some shoulder shruggs, squeezing, and pulling your shoulder blades together to release the tension.
Don’t swing your arms in front of you from side to side.
If you notice you’re having trouble breathing or dealing with stitches in your sides, check that your arms are beside you and not in front.
Jog with your hands in front of you, elbows bent, to keep your forearms and hands at a 90-degree angle from your shoulders.
When you get tired, let your hands drop to your sides, shake them, roll them, and do some shoulder scruggs.
Vertical oscillation, or bouncing, occurs when the runner’s head and torso is moving up and down excessively. In order to prevent leg tiredness, you should limit how high you bounce off the ground.
Try to move land gently to reduce bouncing, for more energy and longer distances. Jogging is about taking short and easy steps.
Health Benefits of Jogging
Jogging on a regular basis is a tremendous way to improve your overall fitness level and heart health.
It’s great for weight loss because it elevates your heart rate, increases your resting metabolism and burns calories.
It’s great for better lung function, and cardiovascular health to reduce the risk of heart disease. The health benefits don’t stop there, though. It will also reduce the risk of diabetes, reduce anxiety and stress, and make you feel better, all around.
How I Got Into Jogging
I was a regular walker and admired the joggers as they passed me by, looking good with a toned body. But the truth is, I wasn’t sure how to get into jogging. Then one day it happened: I just decided to get started the best way I could.
Well, it didn’t take long for me to realize that, as a beginner runner, I could only jog for 2 minutes at a moderate pace before being out of breath and dealing with side stitches.
But I was determined that if they could do it, so could I. So I walked every day and jogged a few steps. After a couple of weeks, I was well aware that I was slowly covering longer distances each time, especially after I found that a good pair of running shoes made the difference.
And I was hooked!
Am I ever glad I stuck with it? There’s nothing like jogging regularly for exercise. The benefits are huge, and I’m glad I stuck with it until I could jog for miles without stopping.