If you’ve been thinking about trying to run, spring — the season of new beginnings, moderate temperatures and gorgeous scenery — is the perfect time to start! On the fence? Here is what to consider.
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Consider the health benefits
Just five minutes of running per day cuts your risk of heart disease by 45 percent and adds three years to your life expectancy. Running regularly reduces your risk of breast cancer by 25 percent, heart attack by 50 percent and depression by 19 percent. Plus, if you are looking for the best time investment, it’s hard to beat running. It burns twice as many calories as walking!
So what’s the best way to start?
Try a run/walk 5k training plan that gradually increases the running time each week. For example, Coach Jenny Hadfield’s free 10-week Zero to Running ® Program begins with 30-second running/three-minute walking intervals during the first week and builds up from there. Her plan incorporates three run/walk sessions and four rest or cross-training days per week. She also emphasizes the importance of warming up, cooling down and stretching. All of these are good habits to adopt from the get-go.
A plan like Coach Jenny’s is a great way for a newbie runner to build a base, develop confidence and prepare for a 5k training. Check out one such as the Frederick Steeplechasers’ Women’s 5k Training Program. This local, nine-week program, free to Frederick Steeplechasers Running Club members, will prepare participants for the Frederick Women’s Distance Festival, a 5k race and celebration for ladies who love to run. The Women’s Distance Festival will be held on August 5th.
In addition to a sensible training plan, pace is important, too. When you’re just starting out, all of your running should be done at what we runners call “conversational pace.” It’s just what it sounds like — the pace at which you can run and chit-chat. If you can sing, you’re going too slowly. If you’re not able to get out a sentence or two smoothly, you’re going too fast. Running at a conversational pace helps ensure that you are not overloading your cardiovascular and musculoskeletal systems. It allows for running to be the amazing social and bonding experience that it is for so many.
So now that you’re empowered with some basics on starting a safe and enjoyable running practice, all you need to do is print your training plan, make a schedule, get fitted for running shoes, put on your running duds (don’t forget a sports bra) and get out into that fresh spring air.
Still not convinced? Check out these 35 health benefits of running, plus 10 tips for beginners!
*If you are over 40 years old or have any health conditions, it’s always a good idea to check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program.