In this article I am going to tell you how to begin jogging from my very own personal experiences. Which I hope will encourage those of you that have thought about jogging but have not been enough brave enough to take those very first steps out into the open and beyond.
I am now aged 53 and have been jogging for over 30 years man and boy, so I hope my experience and knowledge can help you to begin your first steps to jogging and enjoy the fun and freedom it brings. The very first thing you need to do is check that you have no underlying medical condition that may affect your physical wellbeing when it comes to jogging. If you are not sure I strongly suggest you get a once over and clearance from your medical practitioner as a matter of course.
The second thing I strongly recommend is the purchase of a good pair of jogging shoes. There are many brands to choose from (I personally wear Nike air) but make sure no matter what the brand name is you select the right pair of shoes that fit well and are made for jogging. As jogging shoes are designed in such a way as to help reduce the stress factor on your body during the running motion. In terms of outfits do not forget you are going jogging and not on a fashion show, so you do not need to spend hundreds of pounds on tops and shorts. Just make sure they are comfortable and suitable for whatever running conditions you find yourself in. I would just like to add if you are going to spend lots of money spend it on your running shoes, though here again depending on your budget there are good value brands out there.
Ok, we have the medical clearance to start and a decent pair of jogging shoes (not gym or basketball shoes). There are two options when beginning your jogging, you can go to a gym and get instructions and start on the treadmills, or we begin outdoors. Let me just cover a couple of points here with regards to gyms and treadmills. There is nothing wrong with gyms (as long as you can afford them), treadmills are fine as I have used them many times over the years in gyms. However from my experience it is far easier to use a treadmill than it is to get out there in the open and run outdoors, this is where I personally would recommend you what the neighbors may think of you or anyone else, just concentrate on what you are looking to achieve. By the way I have seen too many people in gyms on treadmills jogging on a flat straight line, which really is not achieving anything unless they incline the equipment to copy the outdoor terrain, do not worry I do not expect you to be running up the side of mountains.
We are now ready to face the outdoors and take that first step to jogging freedom. Firstly you will need to do some slight stretching exercises just to warm up your muscles, I recommend you pop into your local library and pick up a book on gentle warm up exercises, you will also need to follow a routine for the end of your training schedule to warm down.This is important as part of your jogging routine to prevent any muscle strains etc, although you will still have the odd ache as this is only natural as you will be calling into action muscles you have not used before or used in a long time. We need to set up a course and probably a mile will do, maybe you can have a stroll the day before to plan a route. As this is your very first time you are only going to jog between a point of 30-50 yards distance, this may be between two trees or park benches you can choose your points. select what you feel the most comfortable with and try and keep it on a flat surface, if you are jogging on a pavement and it has a grass verge, run on the grass verge wherever you can. If it has not always try and run on the softer surface in order to protect your knees. You must never ever run with any form of injury, even if you strap up an injury, wait until its better as a few days or a week is better than causing any further injury and putting you off running for life.
So we have gentle run our 30-50 yards, we now walk the next 30-50 yards and rotate this until we cover our training distance of a mile (you can choose a shorter distance to begin with). Let me also say you may find and especially if it is your very first time you still feel slightly breathless over the first few yards, this is generally normal, but do not panic just reduce your pace to you feel more comfortable. If you are still finding this difficult reduce this again to a fast walking pace through the route until your body gets used to it ie 30-50 yards fast walking pace, 30-50 yards gentle stroll, ever building back up to 30-50 yards jogging and 30-50 yards walking. The objective here is not to get you running the London Marathon but to get you out there gently jogging and enjoying the benefits. Usually using this system you will be able to gradually run the whole mile and build on that. Just a couple more pieces of advice from my own experiences with jogging is do not go out everyday, try to start 2-3 times a week, just because you can easily overdue it and we do not want that to spoil your fun, build the distance rather than adding days. One last point and I believe from my very own experience is that once you find you can run a whole circuit never ever stop and walk, you may feel tired and if so just reduce your running stride to a snails pace, this is a psychological thing and it trains your mind never to give in, which is all too easy to do, and allows you to keep going, you will feel the benefit and achievement.
I hope you enjoy your jogging and it becomes part of your weekly routine as it has mine, and when you go on holiday do not worry about missing any days jogging just relax as I never train on holidays, that's not what they are for. I look forward to seeing you out there and saying Hello!