Starting a running program is the best way to lose weight and keep it off for good. In fact running can shed more pounds than any other form of exercise. Not only that, running can also boost your fitness level, enhance your stamina, reduce stress levels and the risk of cardiovascular problems, and so on.
Nevertheless, running has a bad wrap—especially among novice fitness enthusiasts. Many doubt the effectiveness of running for weight loss; some even believe it can lead to a myriad of injuries and problems. Though this is true to some extent, but in reality running is not solely to blame; the root cause of most problems is doing too much too soon.
Therefore, if you’re looking to start running, here are the only two steps you need to make.
1st Step: Believe In Yourself
The first hurdle beginners need to overcome when it comes to running is standing up to the mental challenge. Most people overweight or not, shy away from running not because of a lack of physical prowess, but it’s the lack of belief that does most damage. But in reality, if you can walk for 30 to 40 minutes without ending up in a hospital, then you’re doubtless able to start a running program.
One way you can build powerful beliefs in yourself and capabilities is to visualize success all the way through. Picture yourself AS IF you’ve ALREADY achieved success, and feel what it will feel like when you’ve lost the weight and became a true runner.
Visualization techniques have been proven to be effective at enticing the mind to behave in a predetermined pattern. And it’s used by top athletes to enhance performance in all types of sports. So why not take advantage of this simple technique to get what you want.
2nd Step: Walk First, Run Later
Running can be overwhelming and hard. No doubts about that. But I have good news. If you’re totally out-of-shape or haven’t done much exercise in the last years, running from the get go isn’t the best choice yet. Instead you should opt for a walk-run-walk (W-R-W) program to progressively ease your body into the training.
The W-R-W program has many benefits. It can help you build stamina, increase cardiovascular power, burn fat, and so on; all this while steering clear of injury and burnout. This program is designed to help you incrementally build enough cardiovascular power to run without serious health problems.
Here is how to do it:
Start off your training session with a 5 minute brisk walk as a warm-up. After the warm-up, run straight and at an easy pace for 30-45 seconds. Then, take a walk break for one minute or more. The break helps you recover from the running. And when you feel ready, go for another 30-45 seconds interval run. Repeat the pattern 4-5 times.
And as you get fitter and stronger, you should lengthen the running and shorten up the walking. The rule is to increase gradually while staying within your skill level. If you ignore this rule, then you’re just looking for injury and disappointment. And no one wants that.
For you to succeed with your running program—or any other exercise—your body and mind need to be in sync. You can’ get consistent with your training if your beliefs are holding you back, at the same time, mere mental rehearsal won’t get you anywhere. Therefore, the key to success is to take action even if you’re not completely sure. Speed of implementation is everything.
About the author: David DACK is a runner and an established author on weight loss, motivation and fitness.
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