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How To Start Running When Out Of Shape
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So, you want to know how to start running when out of shape. I have good news and bad news. The good news is that you've already thought about it, hence landing on this article. Also, the "how to" is not very difficult once you understand the tasks involved. The bad news is that this information is useless unless you take action. We all know it’s much easier to learn about it than to do something about it. If you're prepared to do something about it, read on.

First, you must determine your “why”. This, rather than the how to, will help keep you going. Why do you want to start running? If you, a loved one, or perhaps your doctor has classified your physical being as “out of shape”, then chances are you are trying to get back in shape. Go deeper than that. Why do you want to get back in shape? Why is it worth going through the effort to get there?

Next, I highly recommend trying it before you do anything else. Just go outside, around a track, or find a treadmill and start running. Don’t concern yourself with distance, speed or proper technique. (I can hear the “experts” screaming about this advice now – “But you might get hurt!”) You’ve lived with your body your whole life and only you know best how to keep it in good condition. We’re not going out for a marathon here; just try it and see if you like it, but don’t overdo it. If you go out for a few minutes and absolutely hate it, there is no point in proceeding further and you should find another way to get back in shape. If you enjoy it even somewhat, read on.

Now, set goals. This is like the roadmap for the journey. Setting goals will help you measure progress and stay motivated as you see targets reached. Your criteria for setting a goal: it must be specific, have a deadline, be achievable, be measurable and written down. Saying “I want to start running someday” is not a goal; it’s a wish. Rather, writing down “I would like to be running 3 times per week for 30 minutes each time 8 weeks from today” is much more effective. If the goals you set do not pass ALL of the criteria listed above, they will not be effective. It is helpful to create long, medium and short-term goals in that order. For example: long term would be “I want to complete a half-marathon by the end of this year.” (13.1 miles) Medium-term would be: “By the end of 6 months from now, I want to run 5 miles in one session.” Short-term would be: “To get there, I will start running 3 times per week for 1 mile each session and work add one-half mile per week.”

Last, you must learn proper technique. It is not enough to find your “why”, enjoy it, set goals, and then injure yourself shortly after starting. This will totally kill your progress and could even set you back further than when you started. Just like a bodybuilder learns the proper form for each lift, so it must be for a runner. There are many articles and books on proper running technique and that is beyond the scope of this article. Unfortunately, the opinions of how to properly run are many and often contradictory (as with much of what we understand of the human body and how it works). Suffice it to say for now that you need to find what works best for you. This will involve quite a bit of trial and error. And get good shoes that fit and are comfortable.

By now, you should understand the basics to get started running when you are out of shape. Determine why, try it before you “buy” it, set goals, learn how, then go do it! Since running undisputedly burns calories in your body, as long as you keep doing it, you will only be helping your body to get back in shape. There are other factors, of course (diet, sleep, stress, etc.), but that is for another article.


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