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Spring is coming, so why not take up jogging? Photo: CC, pxhere.

The lowdown on getting into jogging – where, when, and why?

Going for a run is a great workout, and though it’s primarily a cardiovascular exercise, it can also help build some fatigue-resistant muscles in your legs. It’s one of the most popular ways to get up and move your body, and everyone from athletes to your average person trying to stay healthy does it.

The health benefits, the potential social aspect of running with friends, and the fact that it can help you get outside, all make it one of the most popular forms of exercise. Should seem straightforward — but how do you do it, and do it right?

So where do I start?

First thing’s first: you have to prepare. Make sure you’re wearing comfortable and appropriate workout attire — you are about to sweat, after all.

Next, you should make sure you’re properly hydrated before and during. Bringing a water bottle with you is recommended.

It’s also important to decide where you’re going to run. Are you heading to your gym to use the treadmill? Do you want to explore a different part of your neighborhood? Or are you going to stick with the streets that you’re used to?

Lastly, just like any exercise, don’t forget to stretch before you head out for that run. Check out our previous edition where we walk you through that.

Next steps

Ok, so you know what to wear, what to bring, and where you’re going, but there are some other considerations before you start. If you want to make a habit out of this new exercise, one great way to do that is to set goals. Setting goals helps you stick with things because it provides something to work towards, and acts as an external motivator. You don’t have to rely on convincing yourself to get up early for that run. Instead, the urge to complete your objective will act as the motivation.

When setting goals, remember to keep them SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely). It’s an easy acronym to help you design appropriate goals. A good example for running would be: “I want to run 5 kilometres, twice a week, and do it constantly for two months.” It’s specific—there is a way to measure it, it is certainly achievable for a beginner, and it has a set deadline for it. Setting SMART goals will help you keep on track.

Additionally, learning to breathe can help improve your stamina and keep you running longer. As simple as it sounds, when engaging in long-distance exercise, your breathing pattern often becomes inconsistent, leading to less oxygen in your body. Learning to keep your breathing steady while running can be done with multiple techniques. One of the most popular ways to do this is through rhythmic breathing, a technique where you match your exhales with alternating steps. One exhale will coincide with your left foot striking the ground, while the next exhale will match your right foot.

Other considerations

You’ve got your running shoes, your water bottle, you’ve set some goals for yourself, and you’re ready to run. Is there anything else you’re missing? Well not really, but there are a couple of things that you can do  to enhance your experience a bit.

The most obvious one is music. Get your phone, open your music app, and put on your favourite playlists. Whether its classic rock or 90s pop, whatever you jam to can help motivate you, and may be the reason you get through that 7 a.m. run a little easier than you thought you would.

Your phone can help also help you out beyond just music. There are actually plenty of apps out there that offer ways to time your run, track your distance, plan a path, etc. For example, the Nike Running app allows you to track your heart-rate during your runs, along with time and distance. It also saves all the data of past runs so you can look back and compare your progress from run-to-run. There is an abundance of other apps out there, and it’s recommended that you take a look and figure out which ones are geared more towards you and your goals.

So now that you’ve got the basics and a little extra on top of that, get out there and give it a go. Set your own pace, set your own goals, and who knows? Maybe running will be the exercise for you.