If your thinking about taking up running, for what ever reason. Know first that you can do this! Running, unlike some other sports is a personal commitment that people take up for many reasons. Usually no two people do it for the same reason. Sure, there are a lot that start out thinking it’s a great way to get your body back in shape, and maybe lose a few unwanted pounds that have accumulated over the past few years. But again, running is something that you do solo. Whenever you see a person jogging/running/walking, for the most part they are alone. Yes, you may see a group of 3-4 people slogging along, but for the most part you are going to be out there by yourself pounding the pavements or mountain trails, or maybe even a school track. But again, its you, your shoes and the sky above.

If you haven’t yet put one foot in front of the other because you’re not quite sure how to start, especially if your new to exercising at all then today is a good time to start.

Just about all exercise programs should begin with walking. It takes no skill, just motivation and determination. Walk for 20 minutes around the block or up the street and back. Do this every other day. After a week or two, if you don’t have any leg soreness or other issues, try to walk your 20 minutes a little faster. The benefits of going faster are modest, but real. Next, start adding time to your walking routine, maybe 5 minutes per week to your walks. You can do one walk longer and slower, the next for just 20 minutes but at your faster pace. Keep this up say for 4 to 6 weeks.

If things go well, you can transition to walk-running at some point. This means, for example, that you walk for 4 minutes, run for 1 minute, and repeat the pattern for 20, 30, or 40 minutes. When this becomes comfortable, change your pattern to 3 minutes walking, 2 minutes running, and repeat a number of times. All your running should be slow running. All running qualifies as “vigorous exercise” in science-medical terms, because, well, running is hard work. The biggest mistake beginning runners make is to think that they should run fast when running. No, they should run very slow.

By very gradually transitioning to less walking and more running, anyone can take their new exercise routine as far as they want. Or you can settle for the amount advocated as a minimum by world health and fitness authorities: 150 minutes a week of moderate exercise (walking), or 75 minutes a week of vigorous exercise (running).

Any sport, especially running or walking, even swimming laps requires you to be committed to achieving a goal. After all, people need to be able to work towards a goal, this gives them a reason for doing something. Reaching that goal is self-motivating and when the goal is reached, you feel a sense of accomplishment, that just can’t be named. It’s a feeling that you’ve done something good and it just makes you feel good inside. In order to track how well you’re doing, I’d recommend an activity watch/monitor. And depending on where you’re going to be running, you may want to get one that has a good GPS feature so that it can help you pinpoint just where you are in relation to where you want to end up.

There are many such watches/monitors to choose from and bottom line that’s your decision to make. For my purposes, I like and wear the Garmin Forerunner 645 GPS Running Watch  It has everything I need to monitor my progress and if I need it, I can use the new Garmin Pay function. It lets you make convenient payments with your watch, so you can leave your cash and cards at home. And with Garmin’s tracking features it provides advanced running dynamics, including ground contact time balance, stride length, vertical ratio data to name just a few tracking helps that can provide you with enough data to help you improve your runs. And with its GPS capability, you’re always going to know where you are, each step of your run, thanks to Garmin’s expertise with tracking functions using GPS/GLONASS which is better than GPS alone.

What benefits are there to running beside the physical?
Every day we learn more about the emotional and brain benefits of running. This is a relatively new field in health and exercise physiology, really only about 20 years of active research. Initially, when research on the benefits of following a consistent running regimen was being looked at, studies were based almost exclusively on heart rates and cardiac benefits. Now that’s old hat. The exciting new work is largely in the fields of neuroscience, cognition, Alzheimer’s, and the like. Anything that pushes more blood and oxygen to the brain has to be good, right?”

On an individual level, we all recognize the fact that it’s impossible not to feel good after a steady workout. We don’t always feel good during the workout, after all, there are days when we ask ourselves just why am I doing this? But again, we get back to what I mentioned earlier, running is a commitment that we made to ourselves. Everyone has great runs, and not-so-great runs, but we always feel good afterward, when we finish the day’s run. We’ve accomplished something. That commitment that we make when a person takes up an individual sport stays with us throughout the course of our lives. I’ve learned from running that we can all do more than we imagine when we set out down the path of being a runner. As long as we keep moving forward, one step at a time, we can cover great distances. This applies not just to marathons, but to how to live our lives, work, and family commitments.

So, there you have it, from getting started as a novice runner, working yourself up to being able to run smoother, and faster while steadily increasing your distance till you reach the point where you can tackle your first half then a full marathon. Anyone can do this if you have the determination and commitment to see it through!

Question is… Do You?