Running Questions - Answers
How Do I Get Started Running?
Avatar Georgina Wayne
03 November 2017

I’m 16 years old, and I have a great interest in running. Can you help me on how to get into running?

Answer :
Elizabeth Carlson
30 October 2017

That's great news! Taking up running can be beneficial for so many reasons. Physically, running is your best bet for quickly getting into shape. Running has been known to decrease weight, help you sleep better, decrease your risk for heart-related illnesses and increase your overall cardiovascular wellness. Mentally, running can help you think more clearly, be more alert and actually give you more energy throughout your day, and even help fight the symptoms of depression and anxiety (which you can read more about here).

The key to getting started when it comes to running or exercising at any age is to start off slow. If you jump right in and do too much too quickly, pushing your body to run father and faster than it can endure, you risk injuring yourself. Depending on your schedule, try to start out with 2 to 3 days a week of running only (and, especially at first, make sure those days are not consecutive days in a row. It is important for you to give your body time to heal and recover!).

The first week, start with a goal to complete just half a mile each day you go out for a run. Then, if you remain pain-free and you are feeling strong and confident, begin increasing your mileage by half mile increments each week. Once you have built up a solid base and can run consistently for 3 to 5 miles, or after 2 to 3 months of running 2 to 3 days a week, then consider adding more running days throughout the week to your schedule, and experiment with challenging yourself with harder hills and faster paces.

To get good at running, it is also important to focus on strength training outside of running. This will not only help you become a stronger runner, but will help you avoid injuries. On the days that you do not run, try and incorporate strength training exercises that focus on building strength all over. You obviously need strong legs for running, but you also need a strong back to help maintain a good running posture and form, and a strong upper body to help keep you upright and your arms pumping during your stride. Even if you do not have access to a gym, you can do several at-home strength training exercises with just your body weight. Squats, lunges, planks, and push ups are great options because they are compound movements, and they incorporate multiple muscles and muscle groups all at once.

Finally, we've already said it once but take it slow at first and give yourself adequate time to rest and recover. In this way, you can stay free of injuries, get stronger and faster, and avoid a mental burn out. Happy running!


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