Trying to shed some pounds can be an emotional rollercoaster. Tying on those shoes and setting off on your first run can be an intimidating feat. The act of running can be intimidating on its own, but when combined with the high expectations of weight loss, it may be enough to take a giant turn around and go in the other direction. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Here’s an easy plan to keep you motivated and on track.
Start With Setting Goals
Set some achievable goals so you can see progress over time. It’s easy to set goals like “lose 20 pounds in 3 weeks,” but it’s not going to happen. Set small goals so you have something to reach for and celebrate. Write these goals down and keep them available for review. Think about how you will measure your success. Daily, weekly, or monthly weigh-ins can give you a tangible goal to work toward. A weight-loss goal in pounds may be too vague if you gain muscle as you lose fat. Monitor your body composition.
It’s also important to set motivation goals. Achievable, yet challenging challenges should be listed and celebrated as they are achieved. Keeping a journal of your runs can be a great tool for tracking your progress. Record your mile pace, distance, and duration or time of your run – it’ll help you see just how much progress you’ve made.
Find Your Sub-Genre
Think about And Decide On What Form Of Running You Will Do. Are you looking to just take some runs and burn some calories? Maybe you want to reach that marathon finish line? Maybe you’re interested in sprints and HIIT-style running? Maybe an interval or “Fartlek” approach is more your speed? Aiming to run every day, or a few times a week? You don’t have to stick to one style, try everything and see what works best for you.
Throughout your journey, keep in mind that it’s important to start at a sustainable level and slowly ramp up for your body to adjust. For example, if you just started running a mile each day, push yourself for a slowly faster speed each day or week. This way, you give your body more time to adjust, thus making it easier for you to reach your goals.
Get the Right Gear
Once you’re geared up and ready to go, make sure you are wearing the correct shoes. A good pair of running shoes will last anywhere from 300-500 miles so it’s important to do your research and purchase the right shoe for the right terrain. You may also want to invest in good sweat-wicking clothing and comfortable socks.
You may also want to invest in a running watch and/or a fitness tracker. With a running watch, you can accurately track your pace, distance and duration, and calories. A fitness tracker can also give you accurate metrics on things like steps, heartrate, and sleep. They can also remind you and motivate you to reach your goals.
Plan Your Runs
Once you’ve got the gear and the basics down, create a plan. Many sources suggest to start running for a few minutes at a time, then slowly add on more time. For example, if you’re new to running, start with a couple minutes of running and a few minutes of walking. Gradually, add more minutes to your runs. This might not seem like much, but it’s important to give your body more time to adapt.
If you’re a intermediate runer, aim for 30 minutes of running at least three times a week. If you have extra time, add on an extra few minutes or an extra day or two of running. This will help you get in better shape, burn more calories, and reach your goals at a faster pace.
Have Fun and Mix Up Your Routes
Mix it up and make your runs as exciting as possible. Turn running into an adventure and run through new paths, parks and neighborhoods in your area. Or get creative with interval runs and try sprinting for a few seconds in the middle of your run. Also, try running with a friend. Having a buddy to jog with will make you look forward to your runs more.
Bring your music along with you, if that helps keep you motivated. Just remember to be mindful of your environment and always be aware of any other people or hazards surrounding you. It’s ok to zone out, but it’s best to stay alert while running.
Take Time to Recover
Along with running comes rest and recovery. Muscles need time to heal and proper nutrition to grow. Give yourself a break between each run, and any additional strength training you may do. Make sure to complete a proper cool down as well.
Rest days are important for recovery and giving your body the break it needs. But it’s also important to note that this doesn’t mean you should just sit around and do nothing. Stay active. Take to the pool, join a yoga class, or go for a light walk. It’ll help keep your body and mind in shape.
Watch What You Eat
We can’t forget about diet as it plays an integral role in running and recovery. Without the right fuel, it’ll be difficult to reach your goals. Try to focus on eating whole foods, limit processed foods and sugary snacks, and drink plenty of water. You will also benefit from taking a refreshing drink or nutritional supplement after each run.
Celebrate Your Victories
As exciting as it is to watch the pounds drop, it’s also important to celebrate each small victory. Give yourself the pat on the back you deserve each time you finish a run, reach another goal, and make another step toward being the healthier version of you.
There will be days when you don’t feel like running, and it can often be difficult to stay motivated, but never lose sight of your goals and why you started in the first place. The reward will be worth all the hard work, so lace up your shoes and start running!
The Take Away
Losing weight through running can be an exciting and empowering journey. Setting small and attainable goals, mixing up your running routes, wearing the correct gear, and eating the right foods are key components to your success. Recovery is also important, so don’t forget to give your body a break between each run. With the right attitude and a plan, you can become the fittest version of you!