Running isn't easy and it might not be enjoyable for everyone, but any movement is good movement and running is great for your cardiovascular health. I've laid out some helpful tips to help even the slowest of runners pick up their speed.
So you want to start running but you have the endurance and stamina of a sloth? Can you walk a mile just as fast as you can 'run' it? It's okay. We all have to start somewhere. Give yourself some credit, running is hard! We can't all step out onto the track at supersonic speeds of 25 mph.
*Pssst... That's how fast a human can run according to Google.*
From a struggling running enthusiast myself, I've put together a few helpful tips to get you out on the track!
Please for the love of all that is good in this world, invest in a good pair of running shoes. You're not even going to make it a mile from your house if you have a crappy pair of shoes that are not designed for the activity you're doing or your feet.
If you can't afford some top-notch running shoes, that's a-okay! Get a nice pair of insoles for the shoes you do have. It'll work till you get the right pair of shoes for your feet.
Why is it so important to have the right set of shoes? According to verywellhealth, If you have a pair of shoes that is too small or narrow for your feet, the extra pressure placed on your toes from running can cause ingrown toenails. Ingrown toenails can be pretty painful if left untreated and can lead to infections in the skin around the toenail.
Running without the appropriate footwear can also lead to shin splints, plantar fasciitis, and tendonitis says freeletics. Not a fun time for you or your feet, so just get some good quality shoes before you take off on your running adventure.
These inserts from Dr.Scholl's will save your feet and you can get them at pretty much any drugstore. These particular ones are straight from Target.
Build up your endurance. You can do this by aiming for three-four runs a week, focusing more on the amount of time you spend running and not the distance you go. It's all about the journey anyway, right?
You should shoot for 20 minutes of running per run you go on. A good walk/run ratio to follow is 9 minutes of running to 1 minute of walking. You can adjust this over time as you increase your pace and distance.
Is 9 minutes about 8 minutes too long for you? I feel ya. Put in some headphones and try running and walking during alternate songs. Walk for a song, run for a song. If you have to stop though due to breathing issues or a side cramp, that's okay! Take it slow and take it at your own pace.
*Tip for side cramps: Take a moment to slow your pace. Quite literally 'walk it off.' While you're walking, make an effort to take the biggest, deepest breath you can, and then exhale out in one giant gust. Breathing out with your whole torso; really trying to push that side cramp out with that exhale.*
Still can't make it 9 minutes of consistent running? That's okay! Neither can I! Do some breathing exercises to build up your lung power. I'm not talking about the slow, steady breathing you would do during a meditation or yoga class. I'm talking about quick, intentional breathing. Fully inhaling through your nose with the full capacity of your lungs. Exhale out through your mouth and without pause, inhale again through your nose.
*Bonus Tip: Get a jump rope and practice your breathing during your rope jumping sesh. This will build up your lung power without putting too much strain on the other parts of your body, like your knees. It's a good workout too!*
Runnersworld has an advanced breathing technique to show you just how to harness your breath for maximum running capability if that's more your style. Or you have a personal grudge against jump ropes.
At the heart of it, running takes determination and consistency. It takes commitment to a running schedule, over time, to train your body to endure that activity. I hate to break it to you, but you're going to go on a lot of slow, painful runs that are more of a slow jog than a run before you reach a point of enjoying your runs and having the stamina to run the majority of the time.
Regardless of your pace or lung power though, any movement is good movement. So what if your run turns into a walk? You are still moving faster than if you just stayed on the couch. So get out, get moving and take care of yourself!