Besides walking, running might just be the easiest form of exercise out there. Anyone can run, regardless of age, background or size. The barrier to entry is a relatively easy one to clear as well; all you need to get started is a good pair of running shoes and a healthy dose of motivation.

Running is a popular activity because it’s a phenomenal workout and there are plenty of places to do it in Singapore. You’ll burn calories, build up your cardiovascular endurance, increase your lung capacity, and improve your metabolism. Running also strengthens your muscles and bones, boosts your immune system, and is an effective stress reliever. Take up running today with these 5 tips:

  1. Consult a Physiotherapist

Most people think that a visit to a physiotherapy clinic is only necessary after they incur an injury or start to experience pain. However, novices running can greatly benefit from a consultation with a qualified physiotherapist. Physical therapy isn’t just for the management of pain or restoring function and mobility after an accident or injury. It can also help keep beginner runners from injuring themselves by identifying issues that could pose certain risks later. These can include correcting issues with your form and posture, diagnosing imbalance, and educating you on proper body mechanics. A good physiotherapist can also offer valuable education on the right warm-up and stretching exercises you should take before going on a run.

2. Focus on Time, Not Distance

One of the most common mistakes that rookie runners make is using distance as a goal instead of time. No one can run 5 kilometers on their first try. Most beginners may find it difficult to complete a single kilometer, especially if they’ve been sedentary for a while.

Experts recommend starting with blocks of time instead of pressuring yourself to finish a specific distance, especially for novice runners just starting to put together a running routine. Start with 10 to 20 minutes and see how you feel after. If you think you can go a little more, add another 10 or 20 minutes for a total of 30 to 40 minutes of running time.

3. Walk, Don’t Run

Another common rookie mistake that novice runners often make is thinking that they have to be running throughout their entire run. Breaking your run up into short intervals and slowing to a walk between those intervals is an effective way to build endurance while delaying muscle fatigue and reducing stress on the joints. It also keeps your heart rate at a more manageable pace.

A quick 2-minute walking break between running periods will help you catch your breath and recover. Keep it challenging by lengthening the running periods by a minute with each succeeding workout.

4. Practice Proper Hydration

Running is a physically strenuous activity, and you’ll lose plenty of water from sweat. The climate can also affect how quickly your body loses water.

In general, the rules are quite simple. Drink water before, during, and after your runs. Be mindful of your thirst level throughout a run, and drink when you’re thirsty. For those who require concrete numbers and figures, experts recommend consuming between 118.2 to 177.4 milliliters (4 to 6 ounces) of fluids every 20 minutes during a run.

When it comes to choosing what fluids you should hydrate with, nothing beats pure, plain water. Soda, processed fruit juice, and alcoholic drinks are loaded with empty calories and sugar that will only bog you down. Sports drinks can be useful when consumed responsibly; they can help replenish the sodium and electrolytes that you lose while running. However, make sure that they are appropriate for the runs you are doing.

5. Give Yourself Time to Recover

It’s easy to get caught up in the adrenaline rush of finishing a workout successfully. Many runners often feel emboldened after completing a run and find themselves raring to go again. However, resting and giving your body time to recover can be just as important as the exercise. Your body needs 24 to 48 hours to recuperate from the stresses you’ve just put it through.

Being fully committed to running won’t be helpful if it results in overwork and overstraining yourself. Rest days give your body a chance to rebuild muscles stronger while preventing stress fractures and other common running injuries. Getting a full night’s worth of sleep also improves performance, enabling you to run faster, longer, stronger.


 

Whatever your reason for taking up running, you’ll surely find yourself in the company of like-minded and enthusiastic individuals who can help you form a passion for the activity. Stay motivated by running with a buddy, listening to music, or keeping a running journal. If you stick with it, the results may surprise you!