How to Start Jogging

The benefits of regular exercise are well-known and well documented, and running for 30-40 minutes 3 times a week can be a fantastic way to build stamina and muscle while losing fat. Regular jogging can also reduce your risk of health problems, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.[1] If you’re new to running, getting started can seem a little overwhelming. However, if you plan ahead and ease into your new routine gradually, you’ll start seeing the benefits of jogging in no time!
[Edit]Steps [Edit]Dressing for Your Run Choose a comfortable pair of running shoes. There are a huge variety of running shoes on the market, so you might feel daunted by the task of choosing the right pair. However, a recent study shows that the best running shoes for you are probably the ones that feel the most comfortable.[2] Go to the store and try on 4 or 5 pairs of running shoes. Take time to move around in them, and pick the ones that feel best to you.[3] If possible, take a quick jog around the store so you get a sense of how the shoes feel when you run. Wear the socks you’d normally wear while running, since this will give you a good idea of the fit. Replace your running shoes every . As running shoes start to wear out, they don’t absorb shock as well. Once you start jogging, keep track of how much distance you’ve covered, and get new running shoes after about to prevent pain and injury.[4] If the heels of your shoes aren’t too worn down, you can still use them for walking. Even if your jogging shoes haven’t seen that much use, shoes that are older than 1 year might become less comfortable due to changes in the soles that occur over time. Dress appropriately for the weather. You don’t need to wear anything too special to go jogging, but your clothes should be comfortable and easy to move around in. It’s also important to wear clothes that will protect you from the elements. Go for light clothes, such as shorts and a t-shirt, if it’s warm out. If it’s cold, wear long sleeves and pants and layer on a windbreaker, scarf, hat, and gloves.[5] Stick to synthetic materials like rayon, nylon, or spandex, since they’re good at wicking away moisture. Wool is also a good option if it’s really cold out. Grab a water bottle. Your body needs more water when you run, so it’s important to bring water along to prevent dehydration. Bring a lightweight bottle that’s easy for you to carry or clip to your belt while you jog.[6] Choose a bottle that’s big enough to keep you going through your run, especially if there aren’t any places to refill along your route. Aim to drink 4-6 gulps of water for every 15-20 minutes that you run. Put on a running belt or pouch for your accessories. You don’t want to be overburdened with a lot of stuff when you jog, but you’ll probably want to have your essentials (like your phone, keys, and ID card) on hand. Look for a lightweight running belt or pouch that can comfortably hold all the things you need. You can purchase a running belt online or from a sporting goods store. Some running bags or belts include pouches or clips for a water bottle. If you’re concerned about safety, you can put a safety whistle and some pepper spray in your pouch. [Edit]Planning Your Route Run on an even, level surface when you’re starting out. Jogging on an uneven trail can be a great workout, but it’s going to be tough if you’re new to running. When you’re getting started, stick to flat surfaces like paved roads or running tracks.[7] Tracks have the advantage of being softer than regular roads or sidewalks, so there’s less impact on your feet, knees, hips, and spine. Jog in a familiar, well-lit area to stay safe. Look for a spot that has good visibility and try to avoid secluded areas. Try to pick an area that is familiar to you and gets a lot of foot traffic. This will reduce your risk of injury or attack while you jog.[8] Ideally, you should run with a buddy. That way, you’ll have someone with you in case something happens.[9] If you do run after dark or in low-visibility conditions, wear bright clothes so it’s easier for drivers, cyclists, and other runners to see you. Choose an indoor track or treadmill to avoid the elements. If the weather is severe or outside air conditions are unsafe, running indoors can be a great alternative to an outdoor jog. Head to your local gym or fitness center and hit the track or treadmills if you don’t want to jog outside.[10] Running outdoors can provide a better workout, since you’re working against wind resistance. However, you can compensate for that by setting your treadmill on a 1% incline. To reduce your risk of repetitive motion injury while running indoors, vary your speed from time to time (as well as your incline, if you’re running on a treadmill). Use a jogging app to plan your route and track your run. If you’re interested in keeping track of how far and how fast you jog, as well as how many calories you’re burning, running apps can be very helpful.[11] Many of these apps also allow you to set a route ahead of time, which can be especially useful if you’re running in a new or unfamiliar area. Install one of these apps on a smartphone or fitness tracker and get familiar with the features before you start jogging. Some popular running apps include Runkeeper, Map My Run, Runtastic, and Pumatrac. [Edit]Practicing Healthy Jogging Habits Fuel your body with a protein-rich meal 2-4 hours before jogging. Eat a light, healthy meal rich in protein, healthy fats, and fruits and vegetables before each jogging session.[12] To give your food time to digest and avoid discomfort, wait at least a couple of hours after a full meal before you jog, or between 30 minutes and 2 hours if you’ve had a smaller snack.[13] Good sources of protein include poultry breast, seafood, beans and peas, and low-fat dairy products. Healthy protein can help give you energy for your jog. It will also promote muscle growth and repair as you recover from your workout. If you’re jogging for weight loss, try increasing your overall intake of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. Reduce your intake of sugary foods and drinks, processed foods, and greasy foods.[14] Build up to jogging with regular walks. Before you dive into a running routine, begin by walking, particularly if you’re new to exercise or out of shape.[15] Start by walking for 15-20 minutes a day 3-4 times a week. From there, gradually increase the pace of your walking until jogging becomes the next logical step. Once you’re ready to start jogging, it’s still a good idea to start each run at a brisk walking pace. Walking first will help you warm up. Warm up for 5-10 minutes before you jog. To get your blood pumping and prevent injury to your muscles and tendons, it’s very important to warm up before you jog. Spend at least 5 minutes before each jogging session doing a light warmup routine that targets your legs and lower body. Some good warmup exercises include:[16] Brisk walking Marching in place Doing knee lifts Side-stepping Climbing stairs Alternate between jogging and walking when you start. When you begin running, even if you’re in shape from another sport, you’re using new muscles and will have to adjust accordingly. So, start off slow. For example, during your first few runs, you might alternate between jogging for 5 minutes and walking for 2 minutes for the entire run.[17] As you get used to jogging, you’ll eventually be able to maintain a running pace for a longer period of time before you switch back to walking. Practice proper form while jogging. Though most people assume how far and how long you run has purely to do with endurance and determination, having the proper running form actually significantly impacts your performance. To make the most of your run and prevent injuries, remember to:[18] Keep your head straight and your neck and jaw muscles relaxed Relax your shoulders and keep them back and down Bend your arms at a 90° angle and keep your hands relaxed (but not floppy) Lean forward slightly, without bending at the waist Square your hips and keep them stable Avoid lifting your knees too high Strike the ground lightly with the middle of your foot (not your heel or toe) Breathe regularly as you jog. Keep an even rate of breathing while running and breathe with your belly—that is, take deep breaths into your stomach rather than shallow breaths into your chest. Try taking 1 breath for every 2 strides to help keep your breathing regular.[19] You may be tempted to pant or take quick, shallow breaths as you run, but you’ll get more oxygen and maintain your energy better if you breathe slowly and deeply. Stay hydrated while you run. It’s easy to get dehydrated while you jog, which can deplete your energy and even endanger your health. Drink at least 1-2 hours before you run and take 4-6 swigs of water every 15-20 minutes during your run. After you finish your jog, drink of fluids, such as a recovery shake or smoothie.[20] Water is usually the best thing you can drink while doing a short jog. If you don’t like the taste of water alone, add a splash of lemon or lime juice to give it a flavor boost. If you’re running for 60 minutes or more, or if you anticipate other difficult conditions (like uneven terrain or harsh weather), a sports drink can help you keep up your energy. Cool down after you jog with walking and light stretches. After a run, you can avoid strain on your heart and muscles by doing a cool-down routine. Finish your jog with 5-10 minutes of walking, then do some gentle stretches to relax your muscles.[21] Do deep static stretches and hold each stretch for 15-30 seconds.[22] Do stretches that target your legs and lower back. [Edit]Maintaining Your Practice Set up a regular schedule. Having a regular schedule is key to maintaining an exercise routine. If you find the right time of day and duration and stick to it, you’re more likely to maintain a steady and regular exercise regimen. Look for a part of the day when you have enough time to devote to running without being stressed or rushed. Aim to jog consistently at least twice a week for the best results.[23] Increase your time and distance gradually. As you get into better shape, gradually increase your workouts to help prevent you from getting into an exercise rut. Aim to increase your running distance by about 10% per week.[24] So, if you run one week, increase it to the next. Set specific running goals. Having goals can help keep you focused and give you something to work towards. Think of a specific goal or challenge you would like to meet, and try to consistently work towards meeting it.[25] For example, you might work on meeting a particular time or distance goal, such as running in 10 minutes. Training for a race can be a great way to set goals for yourself and stay motivated. For example, you might train for a 5K or sign up for a charity run. Vary your routine to keep things interesting. Changing up your running routine is important to keep your body challenged so it doesn’t fall into a fitness rut. Variation is also vital to keeping you from getting bored or discouraged with your routine. Try running different routes, varying your pace and distance, or switching between indoor and outdoor runs.[26] Integrating new terrain can help change up your routine, so try adding hills or stairs to your route. Include intervals in your run. Intervals involve repeatedly alternating between running full out for several seconds followed by returning to a normal pace for several minutes. Alternatively, you can choose a landmark, sprint to it, then return to your normal pace for several minutes before choosing another landmark, sprinting to it, returning to normal pace, and so on.[27] Get a running buddy. Running with another person is a great way to stay motivated and to hold yourself accountable. Ask around among your friends, family, or coworkers and see if you can find someone who’s interested in jogging with you.[28] Ideally, you should jog with someone who has a similar amount of skill and experience to yourself. That way, it will be easier to keep pace with each other. If you don’t have any friends willing to join you, look up running community sites online. Many of them offer services to help connect people looking for a running buddy or looking to join a running group. [Edit]Tips If you’re jogging on a running/biking path, remember to stay to the right so that others can pass you. If you run outdoors, be sure to wear bright, visible colors and a light or reflective vest if you’ll be running in the dark. A short, slow run is better than no run! Remember that even if you’re not running very far or fast, you’re still beating everyone who’s sitting on the couch. If you jog as far as you can at least once each week, even if it is less than a mile, and don't miss any weeks, your distance will go up every week. Listening to music while you jog can help keep you motivated and make your run more fun. If you get yourself well-motivated before you start, you will enjoy the run. Dress for running, listen to the right music, drink a few coffees and prepare to run until your motivation is high. Never bend your head down while jogging because it makes you tired faster. Keep your chest and chin up while you jog. [Edit]Warnings If you have any health concerns, such as a heart condition or problems with your joints, talk to your doctor before you start jogging. They can offer advice about how to exercise safely. If you think you’ve injured yourself while jogging, stop right away and see a doctor as soon as you can. Continuing to run can make your injury worse. [Edit]Related wikiHows Start Walking for Exercise Exercise to Become a Better Swimmer Run [Edit]References [Edit]Quick Summary ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑