If You Want To Get Into Running, These Expert Tips Will Help You Reach Your Goals

No matter how hard I try, I can never seem to stick to a regular running routine for more than a couple of weeks in a row. Eventually, I get too bored, too sore, or way too uncomfortable just being out in the extreme cold or heat to keep going. But the runner's high is real, at least in my personal experience, and that keeps me coming back to running again and again. If you've always wanted to add regular runs into your fitness routine, these tips for getting into running will help you find a rhythm that will work for you in the long run (see what I did there?).

First and foremost, start by thinking about what exactly you want to get out of your running habit. Are you most interested in the mental health benefits of going on long, peaceful routes? Are you excited about the opportunity to get rid of any extra energy you find yourself harboring at the end of the day? Figuring out the "why" of your desire to pick up running can help you stick to the routine. "Running really relaxes me and gives me a controlled way to channel my love for new challenges and desire to be great at everything in life I do," Olympic medalist and track/field athlete, Kristi Castlin, tells Elite Daily in an email. "It also teaches me how to face and deal with the ups and downs of what often blindsides you sometimes in this thing we call life."

Whatever your reason is for hitting the pavement, reach for your most dependable pair of sneakers and follow these tips to make sure you'll stay safe and motivated along the way.

Start off slowly

You might be so pumped to kick off a new running routine that you want to run as far and as fast as you can right off the bat, but according to Castlin, it's important to gradually ease into any new workout program to give your body time to adjust. "Start by just going for 10 to 15 minutes a day of constant movement," she suggests. In other words, you don't even have to start by running every single day. If your body isn't used to doing cardio on a regular basis, you could alternatively choose a fun activity like biking, walking, or swimming so that you get into a good rhythm. After you get used to fitting this fitness time into your schedule, and your body starts to build up stamina, you can try to move on to more intense sessions.

Fuel your body with nutritious foods

Whenever you switch something up in your workout routine, you might have to do a little bit of experimenting to figure out what your body needs to keep your energy up. According to Harley Pasternak, a celebrity trainer, nutrition expert, and Marshalls brand ambassador, eating for performance as a runner means loading up on lots of carbs, plenty of protein, and healthy fats. Carbs are especially important to keep you going, he tells Elite Daily, so be sure to fuel your body with foods like toast, rice, oatmeal, yogurt, and juice. Of course, every body is different, meaning there's no one "perfect" universal diet to support everyone's running routine, so remember to listen to your body's cues, and you'll eventually learn what works for you.

Go exploring

You can only bear mile after mile on the same old route for so long, even if you are armed with fascinating podcasts or an inspirational workout playlist. "A change of scenery is always a great way to keep your running routine fresh," says Castlin. "Take time to stop and smell the roses, literally," she suggests. You can also keep things fresh by exploring a new part of town or opting for a different trail so that you have plenty of things to occupy your mind as you count down the miles.

Be kind to your body

"If it ain’t hurtin’, it ain't workin," says Castlin. "So many people always shy away from running because of the pain. There will be pain, you will have to push past it."

That being said, never push yourself past what is healthy for your body, because that could lead to injury and even prevent you from being able to work out long-term. "You must always listen to and be in tune with your body," Castlin explains. "Know the difference between soreness and pain."

Recruit some friends to join you

"It’s always fun to work out as a group. You find yourself pushing one another physically and mentally," Castlin tells Elite Daily. Having your BFFs right beside you through a run that you're not totally inspired to go on can help you stay motivated, she explains.

Treat yourself to cute workout gear

No matter how many different running routes you try, or how many of your friends you try to recruit to run with you, you're bound to have some days when running just doesn't sound fun. That's where treating yourself to a fresh pair of running shoes, a cute sports bra set, or even new headphones can help to keep you feeling motivated, explains Castlin. "I always feel myself being more bouncy and just ready to attack my workout with new, fresh gear," she says.

Don't forget to hit the gym, too

"Strengthening workouts can help to create balance where there’s imbalance due to running," Pasternak tells Elite Daily. "You use certain muscles when you run, while others you don’t use," he explains. "In your strength training, train the opposite muscles you worked during your run to reduce the chance of injury." He suggests exercises like lying hip thrusts to strengthen your glutes, and stiff leg dumbbell deadlifts to target your hamstrings, both of which strengthen the back of your body, which, he explains, you don't really engage while you're on a run.

Don't force it if it doesn't feel right

If you find yourself truly hating running, even after trying to make it fun, don't force yourself to commit to a workout routine that just isn't right for you, says Pasternak. "Walking is for everyone; running is for some people," he explains. "Some people love running for the endorphins, or because it’s meditative, and for those people, I say that’s great."

Ask yourself if you're meant to be a runner, suggests Pasternak, and if the answer is no, then so be it. You can always experiment with other forms of exercise until you find something you really love to do.