Jogging is good for you. It gets feel-good endorphins rushing round your system and allows you to enjoy the great outdoors and take on new challenges. It’s free and great for your wellbeing. Ladies, it’s time to lace up those trainers!
1. See the Doc, Set a Goal
Before you start, check with your doctor to make sure there’s no reason not to take up jogging. Once you have that seal of approval, think about a goal you can set for yourself. Think about goals that will keep you interested. It might be aiming to jog twice a week, exploring the local countryside more often, or even simply jogging around your local park without stopping – whatever makes you feel motivated!
2. Dress the Part
Good quality, technical clothing built for running will make all the difference. Get yourself a supportive sports bra and a good pair of running shoes – ask for advice in a proper sports or running shop, as they can help you pick the perfect shoes for your running style. Make sure you wear a sweat-absorbing top and bottoms to lift any moisture away from your skin, and look for reflective strips so you can be seen if you’re running in dark or cloudy weather. A light jacket will help on rainy days and, for colder months, layering is the key – gloves and a headband are your best friends for jogging on crisp days! And don't forget Always Discreet pads – they’ll keep you comfortable and dry for the duration.
3. Start Slow
If you’ve never run before, build up to it from walking. There are some instructive beginner’s apps available; and when you start jogging, it’s smart to focus on time rather than distance: try to jog for one minute, then walk for 30 seconds and keep repeating that pattern. As that becomes comfortable, take it up to a couple of minutes and so on, gradually upping your running time over the course of a few outings so eventually you’re not walking at all.
4. Make it Fun
See if a friend would like to join you, or take the dog for company. Go on different routes that take in varied scenery, or drive somewhere pretty and do a circular run. Sign up for local free events, such as runs that take place in parks. You’ll enjoy the atmosphere and meet other runners to share tips with and keep it social. If you really get into it, sign up for a 5K race for charity. It will give you something to aim for, especially if you pick a cause close to your heart and raise money, which will help you stay motivated. Write a jog planner and note your training jogs in your diary or a calendar so with each entry you can enjoy the sense of pride that comes with getting another run under your belt.
5. Look after Your Joints
Learn how to jog properly. Where possible, jog on grass rather than pavements – which are hard on your knees. In order to enjoy your running, do some strength training alongside it. You naturally lose muscle mass as you age, but regular strength training helps. Stronger muscles should absorb shock better with each step, protecting your joints from wear and tear. Simple things like squats, planks, pushups and lunges are great. On non-running days do other activities like swimming, cycling or a Zumba class to challenge your body in a different way so that joints aren’t dealing with the same movements all the time. Taking an omega-3 supplement and eating some oily fish like salmon and mackerel should help keep joints lubricated and strong, too.
6. Improve Balance
Good balance makes you less likely to trip when you’re out jogging, but if you do, it means you’ll regain your balance more easily. Taking a yoga class or learning some basic poses from a book or online that require you to stand on one leg can really help. Yoga will also help with any stiffness in your back, hips and shoulders. Muscles lose some elasticity over time, but yoga will help you improve your flexibility. Always warm up muscles before jogging too, with a brisk walk and some arm circles and heel raises.
7. Remember to Rest
All runners need recovery time, but if you’re starting out later in life you may need a little more. Your legs may feel stiff and a bit achy for a few days after jogging. Listen to your body and don’t lace up your shoes again until your body tells you you’re ready. Make sure you stretch after every run – this will help to ease post-exercise soreness the next day. If you still feel like getting your heart rate up on a rest day, do something else instead – Pilates (which is great for runners as it builds core strength), a walk or a gym class. And why not treat yourself to a deep tissue massage every now and then? After all, you’re a jogger now!
Do you have any jogging tips? Share in the comments.