7 Things All Beginning Runners Should Know

Adding running into your workout routine can seem like a daunting task. The first issue is that you have to leave your natural habitat — your bed, with Netflix and a carton of Ben & Jerry's nearby. If you're feeling lazy, hesitant, scared or all of the above, here are some simple tips anyone beginning a running regimen should know.

1. It hurts. Be patient and go easy on yourself.Like a lot of things, running is something that gets easier the longer you stick with it. It might suck when you first start out. In fact, your lungs will protest and your legs will scream for mercy. But the more you do it, the more your body will naturally build strength and endurance until one day you may find yourself actually enjoying it somehow. Don’t be ashamed of stopping to walk every once in a while. If you push yourself too hard, you could hurt yourself and/or make it more difficult the next time you go for a jog again, thus inhibiting progress.

2. Distance matters more than time (but you should be proud of your times too!).It doesn’t matter how slow you go; a mile is still a mile. Faster mile times will come to you the more you stick to it. Setting distance goals is the way to go, not speed goals.

3. Yes, it is worth it to invest in quality running shoes.Not all feet are created equal. Depending on your gait and strike patterns (how your foot lands on the pavement while running), different running shoes can either make or literally break you. Quality running shoes can be pricey, but they’ll last longer and will lower your risk of injury exponentially. If you’re serious about getting into running, they’re a must.

4. Without proper technique, all of your huffing and puffing is ultimately useless.Running with efficient posture is guaranteed to help you go farther and longer. Always make sure you keep your shoulders pushed back, your eyes straight ahead of you and your arms comfortably “pumping” back and forth. Your feet should always land under you, not in front of you. This is the leading cause of leg injuries for runners.

5. Technology is your best friend, so utilize it.There are some really great tracking and training apps for runners out there, and most of them are entirely free. Runtastic and Couch-to-5K are both solid choices for free apps, but don’t be afraid of exploring your options! There are honestly dozens.

6. Nutrition plays more of a role than you might think.Food is fuel, but some foods are better than others. Easy-to-digest foods with simple carbs are best for a pre-run snack; a good example is a banana with some peanut butter. Anti-inflammatory foods such as nuts or avocado and protein are perfect for post-run meals.

7. Remember your rest days.If you never give your body a chance to repair itself in between workouts, all progress will be lost. Proper sleep and rest days help keep your body refreshed for each new run.

Though Spring Break has come and gone, it's never too early to start prepping for summer with a new exercise routine. Running may be just what you need to get you feeling healthy and confident before bikini season arrives. Plus, running and exercise in general tend to make you feel more awake and energized. So try taking a break from the iced coffee and go for a run for a midday pick-me-up instead!