With spring in the air, it’s a good time to re-adjust your exercise program to get maximum time in the great outdoors. In most parts of the country, we’re still a few months away from outdoor swimming, but spring is a great season for walking, tennis, cycling, hiking, volleyball – and let’s not forget an all-time favorite: running. Running is great because it’s a stress reliever, a health booster and, combined with a good nutrition plan, can help you to lose weight. And it’s never too late to start running: Studies show that even people who began exercising in their 60s saw benefits.

It’s a simple sport, but if you haven’t been a runner, there are some tricks to making this activity work well for you.

The New York Times has a great health and wellness blog by Tara Parker-Pope called The Well. Recently the blog featured a comprehensive guide on How to Start Running. The Guide says:

“Running is a great way to get fit, feel better and even form new relationships with other runners. Starting a new running habit doesn’t have to be hard — all it takes is a comfortable pair of shoes and a willingness to move a little or a lot, all at your own pace. The Well Guide makes it easy to get started, get inspired and stay on track. Are you ready? Let’s go!”

The Guide is broken into several sections:

  • Why Run?
  • How to train – detailed info on how to prep for a race
  • Stories of inspiration
  • Pick your gear – advice on shoes, socks, playlists, timers and more
  • Fuel your body – what to eat, when to eat
  • Hydrate – tips to avoid dehydration and over-hydration
  • Lose weight – avoid runner’s weight gain!
  • Prevent injury – ideas for pre-run stretches and tips to prevent leg cramps, side stitches, foot problems

The Guide offers training plans for 5k, 10k, half marathon, full marathon – along with practical training tips as demonstrated in the graphic below about the run/walk method:

If you’d like more running tips, practical advice and motivation, you can sign up for the Well Running Guide to get a weekly email with “helpful and inspiring content to keep you going.”

Here are some other good running guides for beginners:

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