Starting to jog? Follow these 3 tips

For most new chubby runners, starting to jog is both exciting and daunting.

You don’t know what you don’t know, so use that enthusiasm to power you through the next couple of weeks. It’s those first few weeks that can be the toughest, going from no running to 3 miles a day. It literally is a marathon, not a sprint. And there’s joy in the journey. Welcome to the ranks. Here are some things to think about as you get started. 

starting to jog

1. When starting to jog, pump the brakes

Channeling your enthusiasm into running is great. Just make sure you ease into it. 

When you’re new to running your body has to get used to all the new strains and stresses of pounding the pavement. Many beginner runners burst out jogging too fast and pay the price shortly thereafter. This can lead to feelings of frustration or overexertion, and can even lead to pain or injuries.

When you start jogging, begin with a walk or slow jog at a moderate pace. If you feel like running, do so in short bursts. We are trying to create small wins to build upon. For some, just walking around the block is a big step. It should be celebrated and then used as you build short-term and long-term running goals.

Starting to jog means learning to walk

Focus on spending time on your feet.

As you are getting started running or jogging, try not to get caught up in the numbers. Part of starting slowly is incorporating walks a few minutes at a time, in between jogging or running.

Many coaches have beginners start a run/walk three times a week. Which looks like this:

  • Jog for one minute
  • Walk for 90 seconds 
  • Repeat, for a total of 20 minutes

Another option is to just add 1 minute to each workout every week. For example, if you’re doing a 20-minute jog/walk every other day. Up it to 21 minutes every other day. 

It’s a simple and attainable goal for just about anyone.

starting to jog walking

2. When starting to jog, listen to your body

Your body is the vehicle, take care of it.

Running is a full-body workout. Just about every muscle group is involved in moving you forward. And your body will give you cues, listen to those, and act accordingly. These cues could come from your right foot’s pinky toe in the form of slight irritation. Left unanswered that irritation could turn out to be an ingrown toenail infection. And that could sideline you for days or weeks, depending upon the severity. Listen and act.

Your body needs rest

The first jog was great. Now you feel good enough to double your speed or distance. Pump those brakes, listen to your body, and rest.

Even though you may feel up to running for two consecutive days, your body needs rest. When you’re just getting started, give your body some time to regroup and recover. 

Many of the body’s systems are involved in running, including the circulatory system, respiratory system, central nervous system, muscular and skeletal systems, and probably a system I’ve never even heard of. The point here is that, while your muscles may feel great and ready to go, your heart and lungs need time to recover. 

Let your body adapt

New chubby runners should understand that the body is adapting to this new lifestyle. Adaptation takes time. Part of mental adaptation is understanding that each of your body’s systems works together and that growth requires adequate rest.

Schedule your training so you run one day and rest the next. This simple training plan can help new chubby runners achieve the greatest training effect and prevent injuries.

Starting to jog includes a variety

Part of your body’s adaptation depends on how active you are when you start running. 

If you are already cross-training with another activity like cycling or swimming, you’ve built a base level of cardio conditioning. This will definitely help you when you start running. 

Strength training, weight training, or resistance training is also helpful. With a foundation of strength, you can take on additional activities with less stress and soreness. If you have done other physical activity before starting to run, great. If you haven’t, that’s fine too. The variety will help you become a stronger, healthier runner.

patience when starting to jog

3. Be patient when starting to jog

“Patience is a virtue”

As your body is easing into the chubby runner lifestyle, you’ll need to practice patience. It’s important to remember that it can sometimes take weeks before you’re running without walk breaks or before jogging feels more comfortable. You’ll get there, just be patient.

A positive attitude is essential when starting to jog

Try not to feel down or discouraged if you’re not seeing immediate results in the first few weeks. Be positive. Look at what you have accomplished and take pride in the fact that you are a chubby runner now. 

It’s different for everyone, but as you keep at it, you’ll start to notice your body adapt and grow. Over time running will feel easier and you’ll be able to run faster or further than you did when you started.

Starting to jog means setting attainable goals

As you’re locked into the positive mindset, start thinking about running goals. 

There are short races and long races. For runners just starting out, look long-term but plan short-term. A marathon is a long-term goal, and it is achievable for just about anyone. Believe me, if I can do it you can do it. A great short-term running goal is the 5K.

Flexibility over consistency

While consistency is key, flexibility is equally important. 

Not flexibility as in how limber you are, but more about schedule flexibility. Sometimes you may miss a planned run due to bad weather or life just gets in the way. It’s ok. This is part of your mental strength building. Stay positive, and be flexible.

Final thoughts for those just starting to jog

Congrats on the decision to start jogging. It’s one I made years ago, without any running background and very little physical activity to speak of. This is the first of many steps you’ll make over the next few days, months, and years. 

If you ever feel discouraged, remember this: Just getting out there and starting to jog is a huge success in itself. Be patient with yourself, and give your body the time it needs to get used to running. It will pay off down the road. Just think about how great it will feel to look back and see how far you’ve come.