As a jogger who is just starting out, it is important to equip yourself right and know what you’re doing. It isn’t as hard as it seems but don’t take it too lightly either – you could end up with a bad injury or worse. Get on top of your regimen as soon as you can with a clear plan of action. Take it one step at a time and you should soon see the results you expect. Remember, jogging could help you burn off hundreds of calories and increase your life expectancy by 5 to 6 years, so the results are well worth it!1
7 Tips For A Beginner’s Guide To Jogging
1. Begin With A Warm Up And End With A Cool Down
Always start your jogging session with a three to five minute warm-up. You could simply march on the spot, walk first slowly then briskly, do knee lifts, or climb stairs. After you finish jogging, don’t skip the cool down. Be sure to stretch your hip, thighs, hamstring, calf, lower back, and buttock muscles holding each stretch for about 15 seconds.2
2. Starting Your Jogging Routine
Within your jogging session it helps to alternate between walking briskly and jogging when you’re starting out. Here’s a plan recommended by the American Council on Exercise.3
- If you aren’t doing any other form of exercise at the moment, you may be best off starting with a 20 minute moderate-pace walk.
- Next, increase your walk to 22 minutes and work up to moderate-brisk pace.
- Then, add 30 to 45 seconds of jogging to every 5 minutes you walk. This will again be a 22 minute routine.
- Increase the quantity you jog and reduce the time you walk, going up to 45-60 sec jog for a 4 min walk, then 45-60 sec jog for a 3 min walk, and then a 2 min walk, one day at a time. Remember to retain the same duration of walking to jogging when you increase the duration of your overall routine. Do not increase jogging time to walking time on a day when you’re also lengthening the routine. This will put undue strain on your body.
- Slowly build up to a couple of minutes more every day, until you hit a 30 minute routine that combines walking with jogging.
- You should over time be able to do a 2 min jog and 1 min walk for a total of 30 minutes of working out.
- As weeks progress and you build up your stamina, you should be able to do more jogging interspersed with less walking until you eventually jog for the entire duration of 30 minutes.
3. Pick A Good Pace
As a beginner if you’re in reasonably good health, it is easy to get carried away and try and jog too fast. Ironically, fast jogging or running could actually impact your life span. Data from the Copenhagen City Heart Study confirms that jogging at a “slow” or “average” speed is best if you’re trying to improve longevity. If you nail this speed, you stand to gain 5.6 years in your life if you’re a woman, or 6.2 years if you’re male.4 So what is a good average speed for jogging? Typically, most people find a pace anywhere between 4 mph and 5 mph is comfortable. As you increase your pace, the exercise becomes more challenging and moves from moderate to higher intensity. Technically, if you’re jogging at speeds of over 6 mph, you are running. In other words, gun for jogging a mile in 12 to 13 minutes – that translates to 4.5 mph to 5 mph.
4. Get The Right Posture
Always keep your head straight so you’re looking ahead when you jog. Don’t hunch your shoulders. Keep your hips stable and don’t let them swing from side to side. Lean forward a bit as you jog to reduce heel strike and improve balance when you land so the weight is on the middle of your foot and not the front or heel. Bend your arms at a 90 degree angle, leveraging them to push yourself forward. Your hands should be relaxed. Move quietly and lightly, don’t thud your foot down as you jog. Breathe rhythmically avoiding quick or shallow breaths. Try and take deep breaths so that you do one every two strides.5
5. Don’t Overdo It
An estimated 65 percent of all runners experience an injury every year. According to the Sports Medicine & Athletic Related Trauma (SMART) Institute at the University of South Florida Tampa, the average runner has some kind of injury every 100 hundred hours that they run.6 It isn’t just the speed at which you’re jogging that can be taxing on your body, but also how far, and how challenging you’re making it for yourself. And indulging in overly strenuous exercise can actually harm your health instead of making you fitter. Research has found that the mortality of those who undertake very strenuous exercise is similar to those who lead sedentary lives with little to no physical activity at all!7
6. Invest In A Heart Rate Monitor
A heart rate monitor can help you ensure you aren’t pushing your body too far. Strap one on and try and keep your heart rate going at between 50 to 70 percent of its maximum rate during moderately intense exercise like jogging. Initially, aim at the lower end of the scale and then slowly build up. To calculate the maximum rate, just subtract your age from 220 to get a ballpark figure. For specific rates to target for your body, you’ll need to check the age-related recommended heart rate for exercise.8
7. Get The Right Shoes
Wearing the right shoes can lower your risk of injury. It is best to go to a specialist sports goods store to pick out the right running shoes. Shoes you wear for jogging contain shock absorbers to cushion the landing as you jog. Unfortunately, these weaken as time goes by. And that exposes you to the risk of injury. Which is why experts suggest you replace your running shoes after you’ve run about 300 miles in them. They may still look alright, but they’re missing the safety of a key component. If you can’t stand to toss them out, use them for regular errands when you’re just walking short distances. But never be tempted to put them on for exercise.9
|↑1, ↑4, ↑7||Schnohr, Peter, Jacob L. Marott, Peter Lange, and Gorm B. Jensen. “Longevity in male and female joggers: the Copenhagen City Heart Study.” American journal of epidemiology 177, no. 7 (2013): 683-689.|
|↑2||How to stretch after a run. NHS.|
|↑3||Ready to Run? American Council on Exercise.|
|↑5||How to run correctly. NHS.|
|↑6||Sport Specific Safety Cross Country Running. Sports Medicine & Athletic Related Trauma Institute University of South Florida Tampa.|
|↑8||Target Heart Rates. American Heart Association.|
|↑9||Running tips for beginners. NHS.|