We’ve all been there. We go to a local park and get intimidated by the sight of athletes who look like they know what they’re doing. You join the other people on the track, but younger and faster runners constantly outpace you. It’s easy to get demotivated, especially if you’re just a beginner. But no one starts out being good at what they do. I’m sure they also had the same misgivings as you.

You might be thinking, “Where do I begin?” This is the same question that has been asked repeatedly by many a person looking to start something new. But running isn’t as simple as lacing up your shoes and going out. For starters, you need to have the right kind of equipment. Dockers men’s shoes might be perfect for an outdoor walk, but you’ll need something to cushion your feet if you want to go running.

It’s always more difficult initially, but if you tough it out, you can expect results in no time. Eventually, running will feel like a natural part of you. Here are a few running guidelines that will help you get started:

1. Just do it

You might spend an inordinate amount of time priming yourself for a run, but when it comes to actually doing it, you usually have an excuse you can pull out at the last minute. No amount of research and thinking will come close to the real thing.

If you want to run, then start running. You have to push yourself, and eventually, it will become a habit. It might take some getting used to at first, and you might nurse a few injuries and aches, but it’s all going to be worth it in the end.

It’s important to go slowly when starting, especially if you’re not used to physical activity. Don’t force yourself to maintain a minimum pace or to reach a certain distance. A more productive metric is to set a time-based goal. For instance, you can set a target of running for half an hour at least three times a week. Increase your goals as you progress further.

2. Alternate between walking and running

One common mistake that newbies make is failing to prepare for their first few runs. You go out for a run, and then your chest starts to tighten, your legs are cramping, and you feel lightheaded. Just like any sport, you need to ease into running before you can dive into it with full force.

Everyone has the capacity to run. The question is whether you can do it sustainably. Start slow and work on your endurance. If you’re not used to running for long periods, then alternate between walking and running. For instance, you can run for three minutes and walk for a minute. Your runs should always end with walking to give your body some time to rest. Shorten your walking intervals as you build up your strength.

man running on the beach

3. Practice your form

While it’s important to start slow, you also want to start on the right foot. It’s important to get the fundamentals right at the beginning. For starters, learn how to warm up before a run and cool down after. Your warm-up and cool-down can have a big effect on your workouts’ quality, so it’s important to follow proper techniques.

Another thing you need to work on is your form. Bad habits can be difficult to unlearn, so you must get your form right the first time. When running, make sure your arms are swinging, and you’re leaning slightly forward. Keep your heels high, and your knees should flow smoothly. If you feel tired, it’s better to slow down to prevent injuries.

4. Start with incremental goals

Once you can run at a comfortable pace for 30 minutes, that’s a sign that you need to take your goal up a notch. You can either increase your total running time or run for an extra day a week. But you can’t do both, or you risk hurting your progress. It all depends on your routine and what you want to achieve. Just make sure that the increment doesn’t exceed 10 percent. For instance, if you ran for an hour this week, you can add six minutes to your run time next week.

A final word

These things will help you become a better runner. If you feel like you want to stop, always remember why you started in the first place. Maybe you want to lose weight or become healthier. Always remind yourself that all your hard work will pay off in the end.

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