Running has a bad reputation. For those who aren’t accustomed to running, it can seem incredibly hard on your body or just difficult to get started in general. However, running has a lot of benefits even if you aren’t a marathoner.

For instance, Competitor Running cites all of the following as major benefits of running:

  • Overall Mental Health
  • Strengthens Your Lungs
  • Helps Prevent High Blood Pressure
  • Strengthens Immune System
  • Weight Control
  • Physically. Strong Legs
  • Relieves Stress
  • Increased Bone Density
  • Increased Joint Strength and Stability
  • Increased Confidence

So with all of those upsides, it’s no wonder non-runners want in on the action, which is why we’ve come up with five tips for people who hate to run.

1. Set a Goal

It may seem silly, but humans are built for deadlines. Setting a goal like a 5K or a fun run is a perfect way to get yourself motivated to start the training process. Go ahead, sign up now and devise the strategy around the amount of time you have to train. The New York Times wrote a great article about this topic and in it they suggest, “Pick your distance and use an online race finder like the Runner’s World Race Finder or the Running USA Race Map to help you find the right race for you.”

2. Fuel Up in a Healthy Way

This one is probably the most complex of all. Fueling up to run is important, but different bodies require different nutritional elements to help them excel. Some people will need more fat while others will need more carbohydrates. Some people will find their carbohydrates in grains while others will need to find them elsewhere as they are grain-sensitive or gluten intolerant.

If you’re not sure what to fuel up with, talk to your provider. They or an affiliate nutrition professional can recommend foods that will nourish your body and support your running in the long term sense.

3. Pick the Right Shoes

One of the most common issues with running is pain in the feet. Some people are flat footed while others are simply wearing old sneakers. It is crucial to the health of your feet to find the right fit. REI offers the following tips for choosing your running shoes:

Consider where you are running: road, trails or the gym

Think about how you run: neutral pronation, over-pronation, supination (or under-pronation), or barefoot / minimalist running

Think about shoe fit: foot size, end of day fit, toe box space, orthotics, and insoles.

The full article has many more details on these aspects; you can read it here.

4. Walk Before You Run

In all areas of life you have to learn before you rush into doing something in a full-fledged way, and running is no different. There are many ways to do this including joining a Couch 2 5K program, downloading an app that champions interval training (some good suggestions from Run Britain include RunKeeper, Enomondo, Zombies, Run! and Couch to 5K), or simply developing a walk-run regimen of sorts. RealSimple has an example of one such regimen here.

5. Check in With Your Provider

Making a major change in your exercise routine is exciting, but it’s always best to involve your healthcare provider. They can help advise you when it comes to dietary concerns and they can assist with any pain or complications that might arise. 

At Derry Medical Services we practice Functional Medicine, which is an individualized, patient-centric approach to treating common chronic disorders. In addition to conventional treatments, we use nutrition, diet, exercise and other life style interventions to both prevent and treat chronic disease. Patient engagement and readiness to making lifestyle changes is vital. Our Functional Medicine providers partner with primary care providers for continuum of care. They are fully ready to assist you in reaching your running and overall health goals.