Jogging Tips for Beginners
We show you how to get started in the running game with an easy-to-digest guide that’s otherwise known as Jogging Tips for Beginners. Read on and find out what all the fuss is about…
If you haven’t done any exercise for a while and your fitness level is hovering above zero, then don’t go hell for leather on your first run. Try something more relaxing. How about going for a walk? It might sound like a cop out, but seriously, if the most exercise you get is going for a sneaky fag at work or walking to your car on a morning, you will thank us for pointing this out.
Reason being, as we get older our bones get weaker, especially if we haven’t done much strenuous activity. Pounding the ground sends shock waves up through your shin bones and you will end up getting shin splints if you do too much jogging too soon. I’m a fast walker myself and I hadn’t been running for a while, but even speed walking around London was enough to cause my ankles to swell up quite badly and I was half-crippled at work for a few days. Not nice.
Make Sure You Have the Right Equipment
We’ll take it that at this stage all you want to do is blitz a few quid at the sports shop, grab a pair of trainers and a tracksuit, then get out and about. To be fair, that’s probably what every newbie jogger has done when they first started out. New clobber makes you run faster, that’s probably all in your mind and the first time you get out of breath that dream is quickly shattered.
That’s just reminded me of when we were kids, my richer friend had a pair of Nike and I had a pair of naughty-no-makes, so we weighed them in our hands. Scales didn’t cross our minds aged 10. Conclusion? His were a bit lighter and, therefore, faster. Stupidity of children, eh? Anyway less rambling and more know-how.
All that you really need to take with you as an absolute beginner is a water bottle maybe, depending on your route. If you’re only planning on a short walk/run you won’t even need one. The tap will be waiting for you once you get home.
- Good fitting trainers, not necessarily new, but if old make sure the foam padding is still springy enough.
- Jogging suit/tracksuit or shorts and a T-shirt.
- Water bottle.
- Sports watch. Use your phone if you don’t have one – but be careful you don’t smash it.
- Optional extra is an app on your phone to track your route. (Both free and paid apps.)
Seen as though it’s still early doors, it’s pointless splashing out a fortune if you’re not going to stick at it. For this reason alone, it’s well worth being patient until you know whether jogging is really for you or it’s just a fad. Hopefully that isn’t the case and you can develop from a jogger into a keen runner. We all started out that way.
Let’s Get Technical
We won’t go all scientific on you, but it’s still good to know the basics.
Jogging isn’t just a slower form of running, people tend to jog with a wider gait than faster-paced runners. This has a lot to do with stability and perhaps comfort. You needn’t worry about speed, your first goal is to get round your little course that you’ve set yourself beforehand.
It’s a bit of an old wives tale that you should breathe in through your nose and out of your mouth. (Another lie I was told at school.) You will be able to at slower speeds, but once the pace picks up you really should be breathing through your mouth. Some runners like to breath through both their nose and mouth at the same time to maximize intake. Not something I have tried, yet, but maybe I need to. Personally, I’d just breath in and out through your mouth.
It’s been stated that jogging, as well as burning off the fat, can increase your life expectancy from five to six years.
Warm Up and Cool Down
Make sure you do a warm up and cool down. Three to five minutes is a good target to aim for. They’re both essential to prevent injury and dizziness, among other things. A warm up doesn’t need to be too complicated, you can march on the spot, skip with or without a rope.
For your cool down, walking for five minutes is fine or alternate slower jogging with walking.
You can stretch off after both your warm up and cool down. Stretch your hip, thighs, hamstring, calf, lower back, and buttock muscles holding each stretch for about 15 seconds. If you only want to do one stretching session, save it for after your cool down. Stretching is important for realigning your muscle fibers, loosening off your tendons and ligaments, which aid in flexibility. You are less likely to have injuries if you take your stretching seriously and it can aid recovery and speed. Tight muscles won’t be breaking any records.
How Long Should I Jog For?
Don’t worry too much about speed, concentrate more on length. Ideally you should be aiming for between fifteen and twenty minutes. You don’t have to feel guilty if you need to stop. Yes, it’s important to push yourself to get faster and fitter, but the first few times out it is all about getting a feel for jogging and how your body can handle the exercise.
There is a method of running called a Fartlek, which basically means speed play. You will be implementing a similar strategy, jogging, walking, jogging, walking. If you don’t want to stop then by all means feel free to run the full route.
Remember, it’s best to stop a minute early, than push too hard and stop a minute late and be injured. Once your body is acclimatized to your new workout programme, then you can start thinking about pushing boundaries and breaking new ground.
What About Losing Weight?
To lose one pound of fat, you will need to burn 3500 calories. If you chill about this and don’t stress about jumping on the bathroom scales five times a day, you will definitely lose weight if you jog regularly and keep it up.
You can reduce your calories by 500 per day and if you also do 3 x 30 minute jogging sessions, that will be another 1500 calories that will ensure you lose approximately one-and-a-half pounds of fat. (30 minutes jogging will burn roughly 500 calories.)
It’s also worth pointing out that once you get more serious, you can buy scales that measure body fat. Why is this important? Because you could actually weigh more, but put on muscle rather than fat. Remember, your muscles will be toning up when you run, although not to the extent of someone who actually lifts weights.
How Can I Progress My Routine?
To make steady progress, don’t bite off more than you can chew. Increase your jogging sessions by one minute or perhaps two at a time. You have to listen to your body and know what you are capable of. Partnering up with a friend will be extra incentive to stick at it.
If you keep on increasing the distance until you can run for 30 minutes then gradually you can work up to 45 minutes. Though don’t run 45 minutes each session, alternate between a long run and shorter run.
Picking the Right Course
Once you are committed to starting out jogging, don’t pick a course that is too hilly, run on a flat course to start off with. As your fitness levels rise then it is time to start looking for more rugged courses that will test you to the max. When you have been out a couple of times you will soon have a feel for the jogging game. Then you’ll get to know what a runners’ high is all about – having a head full of endorphins to elevate your mood. For most people, that is part of the addiction to running.
Your smartphone will have some great route mapping apps to choose from; Nike do a decent free app to try. I usually prefer to use the free ones. Not that I’m stingy, but if the free ones do the job properly, then why bother buying one? These days they link up to your trainers, FitBit, heart rate monitor among a whole host of things. Technology, eh?
Five More Runner’s Reads
- Running Essentials for Beginners
- Running Warm Up for Beginners
- Nutrition for Beginners
- Treadmill Running Basics
- Buying Running Shoes
Is There Anything Else I Might Need?
As you probably already know, all sports have an endless list of products to buy. The beauty about running, though, is that you can do it on a budget or spend a few thousand on expensive kit. Granted, it isn’t going to be anywhere near as expensive as, say, motorcross or mountain biking, but you can still buy some pretty trick running gear.
We’ll leave that one for you to consider once you’ve got bitten by the running bug.
Stay safe out jogging and don’t forget to let us know how you get on! Alternatively, tell us how we can improve this guide in the comments below.