How to start jogging or running for beginners the easy way

If you want to get even more intense than a brisk walking workout, a beginner jogging program can burn more calories and get you even more steps. While walking is the most recommended low-intensity form of cardio, adding running can get you more steps and get you more fit – if your fitness level can manage it. You can get the best of both worlds by adding a bit of jogging into your walking routine. You’ll boost your workout intensity while still benefiting from all the benefits that walking can bring.

We’ll cover the benefits of jogging, ways to add jogging to an existing walking routine as well as how beginners can start jogging safely and avoid injuries.

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Why should you add jogging to a walking routine?

Woman running for fitness on a snowy trail
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We should start by saying that walking is already a great cardiovascular workout. It’s a great way to build endurance, tone your muscles and improve your heart and lung health. If you want to increase your intensity even higher than fast walking, or you want to get even more steps in a limited time, going from walking to jogging may be for you.

You’ve probably had to run at some point in your life, but if you’re trying a fitness jogging routine for the first you’re not likely to be able to do a dedicated 15 or 30-minute run. Incorporating jogging into your walking routine instead is an excellent place to start. Even if you jog for only a few minutes during your walking routine, you will burn more calories, boost your fitness level, and get in more steps during your workout.

Adding brief periods of jogging will be lower impact on your joints than a full run (though it is higher impact than walking alone). Jogging can switch up your walking routine, which will help prevent burnout or boredom and it will also increase your endurance level so that you will be able to take on even more challenging workouts over time. Walking and jogging can be a great mix of two exercises that will leave you healthier, fitter, and happier the more you do them.

How to Integrate Jogging into your Walking Routine

3 people running for fitness on a winter road
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There are multiple ways to include jogging into your walking routine, and there is no right or wrong way to do it. Try these simple suggestions next time you want to give jogging a try.

Walk-Jog Intervals:

If you’ve already tried adding interval training to your walking workouts, simply replace the fast walking intervals with jogging instead. Jogging is more intense, so start out by jogging for only one of the intervals in your walking workout. Over time, you can add more jogging intervals to make your walks as intense as you’d like! If you haven’t tried intervals before, here’s how to start:

Begin with a slow walking warm-up. After a few minutes, increase your pace and start to jog slowly. Try to keep up your jog for 1 minute, then go back to a regular walk for 2 minutes to recover. Repeat this sequence for as long as you feel comfortable – from as short as 5-10 minutes up to 30 minutes if you’re very experienced. As your endurance approves, try to increase the amount of time you spend jogging during each interval.

More experienced joggers can try jogging for 5 minutes and walking for 5 minutes and extending the overall workout time. If you’re not sure what you can handle, jog slower and for less time than you think you can handle. Trying to go too fast, too soon increases your risk of injuries and tiring yourself out so that you can’t maintain good posture and walk effectively.

Micro-jogs

If jogging for longer periods of time is too taxing, then tone it down a notch. Instead of jogging for 5 minutes at a time or even one minute, start with small bursts of jogging throughout your walk. Aim for 30 seconds of jogging, or even 10-15 seconds if that’s what you can handle. Even short bursts of jogging throughout a walking routine will help you torch those calories and burn some fat. It’s still a good idea to jog for set time periods and record how many times you jogged so you can track your performance over time.

Distance Jogging: 

If you are someone that prefers to exercise by tracking steps or distance instead of time, you can still incorporate jogging intervals into your workout. In this routine, start by walking for a mile. From there, increase your speed to a light jog and run for as long as you can. Alternate this sequence between walking and jogging until you hit your total mile mark. You’ll find that jogging will tire you out much faster than walking, so you’ll probably be walking for more than you’re jogging. That’s ok!

Essential Tips on How to Jog Properly

Couple jogging over a bridge in a city
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For someone to experience the full benefits that jogging can bring into their life, they must incorporate the proper form, posture, and footwear into their jog. Not only will the proper jogging technique prevent injuries, but it will also ensure that you will be able to exercise for more extended periods. To get started on your jogging journey, try incorporating these essential tips into your routine.

Warm-Up:

Like any form of cardio, warm-up before you start jogging, you must warm up your muscles by walking for a few minutes and potentially light stretching. This warm-up helps your muscles become more limber, which in turn will prevent injuries and muscle strain. Since jogging is more intense than walking, make sure you warm up more than you would for a regular walk – especially if you’re new and don’t know how jogging will affect you. Too long of a warm-up probably can’t hurt, but too short of a warm-up definitely can!

Shoes:

Like walking, jogging doesn’t take much equipment to get started. While you can usually walk in running shoes, you probably do not want to run in walking or hiking shoes. Most ideal running shoes usually provide more cushion to protect your feet and allow for more breathability. Many are also designed to help you spring forward off your toes, which can make running easier. It is essential to do some research before buying a pair, as the right shoes can make or break your workout.

Posture:

A good jogging posture is critical in preventing injuries and helping you conserve energy so you can go faster and for more extended periods.

    • Start by keeping the upper body relaxed, standing tall with your arms at a 90- degree position and beside your body.
    • Try to breathe regularly as you jog, and aim to sync your breathing with each step you take. If you’re feeling out of breath, stop and take a break.
    • Don’t lift your knees too high as this will slow your pace down. Instead, keep your knees low, which will make your jog feel smoother.

Foot Strike:

Marathon runners with a focus on their feet
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Unlike walking, where your heel should land first as your foot hits the ground, there are actually 3 common foot strike patterns for running:

Forefoot strike – Your foot lands with the ball of your foot first, with the heel of your foot off the ground as you land.

Midfoot strike – Your entire foot lands more or less at the same time parallel to the ground, with the most force on the middle of your foot.

Heel strike – The back of your foot (heel) lands first, with the toes off the ground as you land. This foot strike is similar to a walking foot strike.

There is much debate about strike patterns in various running resources. Traditionally the forefoot strike was favored, but many recent experts favor a midfoot or heel strike pattern. What most experts agree on is that you stick with the strike pattern that comes naturally to you, rather than trying a strange and unnatural running motion. If you become a serious runner, you can evaluate and try to optimize your foot strike, but as a beginner just do what comes naturally.

Pace and Jogging Schedule:

When you are first starting, it is helpful to begin with a slow pace and build from there. This will allow your body to adjust to the change of intensity from walking to jogging. It is also a good idea to set a walking/jogging schedule for yourself with days where you’re walking only and days where you want to work in a bit of jogging. The program will help keep your workouts on track so that you can build up your endurance over time. It will also help you avoid overtraining and ensure you’re getting proper rest.

Final thoughts

Jogging is a fantastic workout to incorporate into your walking routine. Not only are the health benefits endless, but it’s a great way to switch up your exercise plan and make it a more challenging and enjoyable experience. Just remember this transition may not happen in an instant. Even if it’s difficult in the beginning, with some practice, you will be going faster and longer in no time. Positive changes are coming; all you have to do is get jogging.

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Sources:

How to Jog Properly With Correct Jogging Way and Techniques in 2020. (2019). By AIDAN H. Run Society. 

How to start running today: a beginner’s guide. (2018).By Runner’s World Editors. Runner’s World. 

Born to Run-Walk? (ND). By Barbara Russi Sarnataro. WebMD. 

The Best Running Shoes for Every Type of Run. (2019). By Runner’s World Editors. Runner’s World. 

5 thoughts on “How to start jogging or running for beginners the easy way

  1. Had a great walk. run today. Big brother sent my first pair of HOKA. love em & inspired. 3 run of the week. only 2.5-3.1 miles but headed out on 2nd walk/run this evening.

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