By Matt Evans
If you've ever wondered how to get into running, you're not alone. It's not as simple as downloading an app and monitoring your workout: for many people, running can be very intense, and it's best to take things slow.
There are lots of great ways to get started – one of the best is downloading this free Couch to 5K plan, which is able to get you from total beginner to a 5K park run in just eight weeks – but people are often looking for some general tips and tricks for first-time runners, from getting started to avoiding injury and everything in between.
Enter Tatiana Kuzmowycz. Tatiana is global creative director for ClassPass, a fitness and wellness network that provides access to loads of different fitness classes. She's a five-time marathon runner, and she shares her tips for beginners getting into running for the first time.
Running: How to get started as a beginner
"Start out by combining running and walking. A good goal is to run for 15-20 minutes total, interspersing your running with walking by running for three or four minutes and walking for one."
The "walk/run technique" is the most sensible way to begin your running training. People assume that running is easy, and that all you do is start to run and continue for a certain amount of time. But when first learning to pace yourself, alternating between running and walking to lose weight is the best way to learn.
This is known in the training world as "fartlek" training. Don't snigger – it's a Swedish name, referring to "speed-play", or the act of running faster, then slower during a run. It's a little bit like HIIT training, in which you go at maximum effort before resting, but not as intense.
This makes it a perfect gauge of fitness – you gradually decrease the walking times until you complete a full run.
Running: How to avoid injury as a beginner
Running is a wonderful way to keep fit, but if you're not used to the rigours of the road, it can be hard on your joints. Fortunately, Tatiana has some wise words.
"It’s important not to overdo it when you’re getting started — which makes you more susceptible to injury — so consider alternate forms of exercise that increase your aerobic capacity" says Tatiana.
"You should focus not just on the act of running, but on building up your cardiovascular endurance. And remember — you don’t need to ONLY run to become a strong runner."
To keep your cardio strong and your joints safe, we recommend jumping on the best cross trainer, a cardio machine to keep you fit with no impact on your joints.
Maintaining cardio conditioning will help with your endurance running, while the multiple levels of resistance can develop the muscles in your legs, glutes and core. All these muscles are incredibly beneficial in your running, and the increased amount of muscle will make you more resistant to injury. The best supplements for joints can also keep your knees and ankles healthy and mobile.
Matt Evans is an experienced health and fitness journalist and Channel Editor at Fit&Well. He's previously written for titles like Men's Health and Red Bull, and covers all things exercise and nutrition on the Fit&Well website.
Matt originally discovered exercise through martial arts: he holds a black belt in Karate and remains a keen kickboxer and runner. His top fitness tip? Stretch.
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