Running on a treadmill is private, convenient, and even allows you to exercise in a comfortable temperature.
But there’s no denying it: when you run on a treadmill, you deny yourself certain pleasures.
For a start, you’re out in the fresh air, away from the sweat-tinged confines of your gym. You have beautiful surroundings to enjoy, and a clearer goal to work towards: rather than thinking ‘I want to hit five miles today’, you can say ‘ I want to reach the top of that gorgeous hill’ instead.
You can run outdoors at any time, in any weather (safety permitting, of course). Perhaps you prefer to get a half-hour in at dawn, or two hours after work. Perhaps you prefer throwing on a hooded top and working your legs in winter’s chill rather than summer’s sweltering heat.
Running outdoors is fun, free, and invigorating. However, if you’re just starting out, it’s important to prepare. Not only can a little research help you avoid injury, it can also help you get more out of your time on the trail.
Let’s take a look at a few expert tips for beginners.
Pick a Popular Running Trail
Feeling self-conscious about exercising in public? You won’t be the first or the last.
However, don’t let your anxiety lead you down unfamiliar paths. Choose a popular running trail or spot in your area. If you have no idea where this may be, ask around: speak with colleagues, friends, and family to pick their brains.
Not only is this safer to avoid your getting lost, it also means there will be other runners around to ask for help or advice should you need it.
Don’t Push Too Hard
As with any form of exercise, you have to ease yourself into running.
You might be tempted to run as hard as you can, for as long as you can. However, if you do so, you may well end up injuring yourself.
Start off slowly, and run only for short periods. Don’t set unrealistic goals. Be prepared to stop before you feel ready.
Warm Up First
Not planning to warm up before you start running?
Well, you may risk injury and strain. Even something as simple as a quick five-minute walk around the block can help get your body ready for a more intensive workout, along with a few minutes of stretching.
Be sure to cool down after your run too. Again, allow yourself a brief walk and stretch your legs to minimize discomfort.
Take Supplies (Just in Case)
Even if you only plan on a quick run, you have to stay hydrated,
Take one larger bottle of water, or two smaller ones, in a backpack. You should drink little and often to avoid dehydration, especially if running in hot weather.
Don’t forget to pack a protein bar or two if you plan on running for long distances, to replenish lost energy. You might also want to take a map if in unfamiliar territory, or a book if you plan to stop at the halfway point for a break.
Taking a waterproof backpack is ideal in rainy conditions, to keep your supplies safe and dry.
Running can be fantastic fun, improve your health and well-being, and give you a new lease of life. Take care when you start out – and accept that you won’t be able to run a marathon on your first day!