Lifestyle: A Beginners’ Guide To Jogging
It’s a new year, and many of us are busy planning a new beginning. High on many lists of resolutions, no doubt, is losing the Christmas bulge and getting fit. What better way to do that than a spot of jogging? Even legendary anchorman Ron Burgundy admitted to partaking in it, so you know it’s fashionable.
Before you get carried away planning 6am runs, buying flashy gear and signing up for the Dublin city marathon, have a read of this guide for some beginner’s tips. Also, put down that neon orange top. No need to burn a hole in your pocket just yet; a pair of light tracksuit pants, runners and a comfortable t-shirt is all you need to start. For ladies, however, it is important to invest in a good sports bra. You can find these in any sports shop, or hunt for cheaper alternatives in shops like Dunnes Stores.
Two things you will need need are a structured, varied plan and a can-do attitude. It’s going to take some time before you feel confident and comfortable on the road/treadmill, so don’t expect to feel like Sonia O’Sullivan on your first run.
Start small, but don’t be afraid to challenge yourself. Begin with half an hour, mixing two minutes of running with two minutes of walking. As you get fitter, you can start reducing your walking time until you’re running without stopping. Depending on your level of fitness, you might need to start out with a few brisk walks for a week or two to build up to jogging. You won’t know how you feel until you get out there, so get up and go. Don’t wait for a Monday or the start of a month. In the wise words of the Nike ads, just do it.
At this point, you’ll need a goal to work towards. It could be fitting into a dress or pair of jeans, or it could be an event you want to complete in. A really popular, fun race to work towards is the Flora Women’s mini marathon in June. It’s a 10km route around Dublin, and you can raise money for charity while getting fit. With 6 months to go, you’ll have plenty of time to work up to the distance. Be warned: it’s hard not to get hooked on the endorphin rush waiting for you at the finish line.
Don’t be put off by fears of collapsing from exhaustion or inevitable self-consciousness about exercising in public. Us humans weren’t meant for a sedentary lifestyle, so just tell yourself it’s easy and natural and eventually you really won’t have a care to give about what anyone thinks.
This is where that can-do attitude will come into play. 30 minutes will feel like an eternity when you’re just starting your workout. Keep telling yourself how short it really is, and keep that endorphin rush in mind when it gets tough. If we could bottle that feeling you get after a good workout, no-one would ever skip the gym. Half an hour could go by when you’re on your backside in front of the telly, procrastinating about doing the dishes, and you wouldn’t even notice it. So tell yourself to man up! 30 minutes’ jogging 2-3 times a week will have you feeling like a new person by March, and by June you’ll never look back.
There’s one final benefit of jogging to mention: the unrivalled feeling of utter smugness afterwards. Separate from the endorphin rush, this smug ‘I just ran x kilometres, I am a legend’ feeling will make you want to tell the world. For the love of God, don’t. Rein it in and congratulate yourself quietly, because no one likes seeing those ‘Just ran 10km, feeling great! Go me! Now for my wheatgrass smoothie’ updates on Twitter, Facebook, or whatever social network you’re having. You will be despised by everyone else as they contemplate the 14 inch pizzas they’ve just devoured. You can, however, savour the knowledge that you are better than them, oh so much better than them.
So go to it! You can find a wide variety of advice sites and forums on jogging to help you, such as www.runnersworld.com. If you exercise best in groups, join a running club. There is no shortage of them in the country and you can find a list of contact details for clubs in your area, plus some handy tips, on the Athletics Association of Ireland’s Fit4Life programme at www.athleticsireland.ie. These clubs are virtually free, and you’ll have seasoned runners on hand to advise you, as well as meeting joggers at your own level to train with.
If you want to run alone, you can track your progress and map out routes using one of a wide variety of running apps, for example Map My Run. ‘Tis far from apps ye were reared, but they’re a great help.
Now, put down the mince pie scoop monkeys, and get jogging!