Running is, hands down, one of the most efficient forms of physical exercise. Not only does running provide an effective cardio workout, but it also provides important benefits to bones, joints, and muscles. However, for as great of an exercise that running is, it can be difficult for beginners to get started and stay motivated. Listed below are a few tips for beginners looking to complete a 2k run.
Although this first step may seem trivial, how you dress for exercise can make a difference. Overdressing, or under dressing, for the elements can make your run less enjoyable and more difficult. If under dressed in cold weather, the body must redirect energy to regulate body temperature, which will make an already-tough endeavor even more difficult. If overdressed in warm weather, excessive sweating or an extreme rise in body temperature can dramatically increase the difficulty level of the activity. New runners should dress in layers that can easily be shed, and also keep in mind this general rule of thumb: dress for running as if the outside temperature is 20o warmer.
When tackling the 2k distance for the first time, start slowly. While it may be tempting to start the run at a fast clip in order to complete the run quickly, doing so will only result in difficulties later on. Begin with the mindset that the first 1k will be your slowest, and that you will run faster for your second 1k, if possible. Approaching the run in this way will ensure you keep from burning out too soon.
If necessary, walk
If completing 2k all at once is too difficult, do not be afraid to incorporate planned walk breaks. For instance, many new runners benefit from a run-walk-run program where they alternate running for 2:00 and walking for 1:00. As running becomes easier, increase the amount of time spent running, and decrease the amount of time spent walking. Alternatively, some beginners find that running for distance is more enjoyable. In this case, alternate running 300 m and walking 100 m. Eventually, running the entire 2k distance will be easy!
The body is only as strong as the mind. When beginning to run, remember that a positive attitude and outlook on exercise will go a long way. Use reframing strategies to help you continue running. Instead of saying, “running 2k is hard,” think of how good you will feel when you finish. Bargaining strategies can help beginning (and veteran) runners as well. If you find yourself struggling to get through the run, focus on a distant object (such as a tree) and break the run up into smaller segments. For instance, you may tell yourself that if you make it to the tree, you will reward yourself with a special treat. Then, focus on the next object in front of you and think of how you will reward yourself for pushing through the discomfort.
Ultimately, going out for a run should be fun. Do not forget to make the run an enjoyable experience. Invite a friend, explore somewhere new, jog with your dog, or find any (safe) way to make your workout a good experience!