Running does not have to be a challenge for a beginner runner even in Hong Kong. With 8 easy tips, you will quickly and effortlessly make running a habit.
Running is starting to gain pooularity in Hong Kong with events popping up almost every weekend – especially in cooler months, and running is probably one of the most popular forms of exercises anywhere. While some enjoy the runner’s high and adrenaline, others find it extremely difficult to get into running in the first place.
For beginners looking to introduce running into their everyday routine, these five tips will help you to easily transform running into a daily habit.
1. Set small goals
Some may believe in ‘going big, or going home’ but the best way to start running is to set small and easily achievable goals for yourself. Starting out by running 5km is too far a stretch for a beginner. Perhaps begin with a 20-minute jog, or even opting for the walk-run method. Even Hong Kong’s famous Stages 1-4 Running Trail offers markers every 500 meters along its 25 km path to offer beginning runners easily attainable goals each time they run the trail.
2. Run first thing in the morning
Even though you might not be a morning person, having a run first thing in the morning has undeniable benefits. Running in the morning avoids scheduling conflicts, and lets you get it out of the way before you work on anything else. Working out in the morning also boosts productivity and metabolism for the rest of the day.
3. Have a set schedule
A habit takes about six to eight weeks to form, and having a regular schedule makes the process of habit formation smoother. So start out small, perhaps running at least twice a week on Mondays and Thursdays, or on Tuesdays and Fridays.
4. Lay out your running gear the night before
As much as you can, try to lessen the preparation time in the morning of your run. Lay out your running gear the night before, so you are all ready to go once you wake up the next day. This prevents you from making excuses to skip a running day!
5. Make it as enjoyable as possible
Take your dog on the jog with you, or call a friend to join you at the park or along the scenic path of Bowen Road. If you move well with music, prepare an upbeat playlist for an energetic run. By taking initiatives to prepare for your run, you can make your running experience more enjoyable and it can make it much easier for you to get out of your house for a run.
To further help you make running a habit, be aware of these common mistakes that beginner runners make, and avoid them.
1. Old shoes
Some running injuries are caused shoes that are old, worn or do not fit properly. Invest in a good pair of running shoes, and this can go a long way in aiding your workout. A proper pair of running shoes should have minimal toe-sprint, which is the upward curve at the toes, are flexible, and have a wide toe box.
2. Running too much
Many people start out being too ambitious, and end up burning out faster than others. Pay attention to aches and pains, which are usually signs that you should slow down your workout. Running too much as a beginner could also put you at risk of injuries such as the runner’s knee and shin splints. Take the runs in moderation, and allow your body enough time to recover.
3. Taking larger strides than necessary
Taking large strides in a run may appear to improve speed or running efficiency. However, it can actually cause injury as you have to brake with each stride. Focus on landing mid-sole, with your foot directly under your body with each step. Keeping your steps light and quick is the best way to go about your run.
Energy boosters before your morning run:
No matter how early you get up for your run, having a light snack before the workout is important to give you that energy boost. Here are some suggestions:-
- Protein shakes or meal replacement shakes
- Sports bars
- Wheat crackers with almond butter (or other healthy nut butters)
- A banana or apple
- Eggs on wholegrain toast
With these running tips and tricks, we hope you will cultivate a love for running. Especially since now you know what to do, or not do, when you begin running.
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