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Start slow, wear what you like, watch out for zombies: a beginner’s guide to running

When you first start, run slowly

Run slow enough that you're pretty sure you could overtake yourself at a brisk walk.

The point of running is endurance, and to manage that, you have to keep your heart rate elevated for the entire period of every training run. That means erring on the side of caution and only speeding up when you hardly break a sweat 20 minutes in.

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Start slow, wear what you like, watch out for zombies: a beginner’s guide to running

Start slow, wear what you like, watch out for zombies: a beginner’s guide to running

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2020/may/28/start-slow-wear-what-you-like-watch-out-for-zombies-a-beginners-guide-to-running

theguardian.com

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Key Ideas

Getting into running

You don't necessarily have to be the running type. Almost anyone can be a runner.

And with running, you don't need a membership, expensive equipment, or a qualified coach. You do need a good pair of running shoes to take care of your feet and knees. Other than that, wear what you feel good in.

When you first start, run slowly

Run slow enough that you're pretty sure you could overtake yourself at a brisk walk.

The point of running is endurance, and to manage that, you have to keep your heart rate elevated for the entire period of every training run. That means erring on the side of caution and only speeding up when you hardly break a sweat 20 minutes in.

Get with the running program

Slowly build up stamina over the first few weeks and months. To start, run three times a week for eight weeks, beginning with sessions that involve more walking than actual running, and ending with 30 minutes of non-stop jogging.

  • Your first session, run for a minute, then walk for 90 seconds and repeat the pattern eight times.
  • Four weeks later, running has increased to three sets of five minutes, with three minutes of walking in between.
  • At the end of week five, the training wheels come off, and you run for a full 20 minutes non-stop.

Considerations about running

  • Don't worry about how you look. No one cares how sweaty you are or how slow or fast you're going.
  • Don't compare yourself with others (unless it helps). Many services will track your stats or let you join a global community of runners. Before you join them, remember why you're running and consider if it may not demotivate you instead.

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Benefits

It is never too late to start running. Many take up this sport in their 50s and beyond. To start, you only need a good pair of running shoes and a desire.

Running is a very effective...

Types of running
  • Road Running: running on paved roads, paths, and sidewalks.
  • Treadmill Running: easier than outdoor running and can be gentler on your joints.
  • Racing. Road races can vary from 5Ks to half or full marathons or even ultramarathons. 
  • Trail Running: it takes place on hiking trails, from deserts to mountains.
  • Track Running. Track events include shorter distance races from the 50-yard dash to 400-meter sprints. 
Getting Started
  • Invest in Shoes and Gear. Visit a specialty running store to get fitted for the best shoes for you and check out gear such as running shorts, tops, or tights made of wicking fibers.
  • Stay Safe. Do a warmup before you start, like a walk or an easy jog for 5 min.
  • Follow running safety advice, such as going against traffic when running on roads. Always carry some form of identification with you.
  • Use the Run/Walk Method. Start with running for one minute, then walk for one minute. Try to increase the running intervals over time.
  • Make It Manageable. Keep a conversational pace during each workout. If you can't speak in a full sentence, slow down. Breathe through your nose to get enough oxygen.

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Running benefits
Running outperforms walking, cycling and other forms of aerobic exercise when it comes to lengthening life. Runners on average live three years longer compared to non-runners.
Overtraining

If you suffer from lower-body aches or strains, it could be an indication you're not giving yourself enough rest.

Excessive endurance exercise, especially during middle-age and beyond, could lead to damage to the heart.

The best way to exercise

To avoid injury, focus on the perception of effort, not duration.

At least twice a week, exercise at a greater intensity. Alternate between hard and easy days to give your body a chance to recover.

Treadmills vs running outside
Treadmills vs running outside

When it comes to running on treadmills vs running outside, some people say it’s easier to use a moving rubber belt, for reasons including the lack of air resistance and the accessibility of it (you...

The energy we burn while running

During typical running at a moderate effort, heart rate, oxygen uptake (which is a proxy for how much energy you’re burning), and perceived effort are all pretty similar on the treadmill and overground.

The lack of air resistance

Studies showed that running on a flat treadmill burned about 4 percent less energy, but that difference could be eliminated by setting the treadmill incline to 1 percent.

Air resistance depends on how fast you’re going. If you’re running really fast, air resistance takes a bigger toll, which means that a really fast treadmill running is artificially easy by a larger amount. Conversely, when you’re running really slowly, air resistance is almost irrelevant.

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