So, the spring has finally sprung up and forced the 9-to-5 office workforce into local parks for the lunch hour including myself. And as I am forcing down a bowl of salad hoping to once again regain some sort of control over my health and fitness, I find myself staring at a group of young children playing at the nearby playground. Amazed, I watch them run up and down slides, sprint across the sandy grounds, chase each other to no ends, and I begin to vaguely recall the time when such intense activity felt good, even natural to me as well.
Five minutes later, Id just about had it. My heart pumping wildly, my blood boiling and my brain urging me on, I made a serious decision to start a running routine this evening. In fact, I could hardly wait to get out of my office suit, into some comfy clothes and go feel the wind in my hair. 24 hours later, Im sitting in the same exact spot, hopelessly wondering what in the world happened to my earlier resolution. Surely, it cant be that hard to get back into a fitness routine, or can it?
Indeed, I believe that the major reason most people fail in their fitness endeavors is lack of preparation. In fact, most probably feel little or no need to make any effort to prepare oneself for a lifestyle change at all. But a changing of your lifestyle or taking on a new fitness routine are hard journeys, and as with any other journey we might take in our lives the more time and effort we spend preparing for it, the more successful and pleasant it will be.
In the same way, before you start a running or walking routine, there are a few minimal preparations that ought to be done in order to ensure a lasting success instead of an immediate failure. Following are a few tips for beginner runners.
- Set up an Appointment with Yourself
Most fitness beginners tend to overestimate their ability to wink it and fit their routine in their busy days at random. Rarely, this actually works out. This is one of the primary reasons fitness groups and classes tend to be far more successful than individual efforts. Before you step out on your first walk or jog, you have to make a commitment and a definite schedule. Put the days and times on your calendar and mark them red. Set up reminders on your phone and treat the fitness appointments with yourself as seriously as any other appointment in your diary.
- Enroll a Few Friends
Joining a couple of friends, who are already running or offering others to join you, is a great way to increase your chances of success. First of all, running in a group is safer as well as much more enjoyable. Time passes quickly and you are pushing each other beyond your limits. Also, running in a group definitely increases the sense of accountability. It is much more difficult to shut the alarm clock up at 6 am and roll over for another snooze, when you know there are other people waiting for you.
- Invest Some Money
Running is definitely the cheapest form of modern fitness available. A pair of comfortable shoes and suitable clothing is all the equipment you need, and most of us probably own such already. Dont get me wrong. One of the great things about running is indeed the low cost. However, as humans we tend to not appreciate things that come cheap to us. Or rather, we tend to value expensive or difficult to get things much more.
If you are paying $50 dollars for a personal trainer session, by golly you are going to make it there rain or shine. On the other hand, if you miss your run today, you really dont feel like you are actually losing anything. So, invest in a nice pair of running shoes, a runners watch or a Bluetooth heart rate monitor to make you feel guiltier about skipping on a session. Yes, I said guilty. Sometimes, guilt is a good thing indeed.
- Start Slow and Have Reasonable Expectations
Killing yourself in the first few days will only result in sore muscles, exhaustion and even injury all enemies of long term progress. On the other hand, running for ten minutes daily and expecting you will start dropping pounds of fat weekly or be able to add three extra snacks a day without gaining weight will only result in grievous disappointment another enemy of long term progress.