Jogging is essentially running at a slower pace. Even as a beginner, there is only a small learning curve you need to master. Follow a few tips to get faster and go farther. However, keep in mind that doing too much, too soon, increases your likelihood of getting injured.
Begin by walking and jogging to increase your endurance. Warm up with a five-minute brisk walk. Jog for two minutes and then walk fast for five minutes. Continue switching between the two for 30 minutes. The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes of exercise five days a week. Every week, aim to jog more and walk less until you can jog for the entire 30 minutes. The best and safest conditioning program for beginners has you walking/jogging four days a week, according to the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine.
Jogging doesn’t require a lot of extra equipment. Buy a pair of well-made shoes that fit properly and are designed for the surface you will jog on. These could include roads, tracks or trails. As a beginner, consider shopping at a store that has a shoe expert who will properly fit you with a pair of running shoes. Don’t jog with a pair of cotton socks; instead, use socks that are made of moisture-wicking fabrics. Typically, these are made of synthetics like polyester or polypropylene. They pull moisture away from your feet so it can evaporate.
To prevent unnecessary injuries, pay attention to your jogging form. Run with your torso upright. Don’t let your upper body lean forward while running. Keep looking at the horizon. As you jog uphill, shorten your stride and pump your arms more. As you head downhill, lean forward slightly so gravity works to your advantage. As your endurance increases, aim to jog faster. Do this by increasing your stride turnover, or stride frequency, instead of increasing your stride length. If you ever feel pain, slow things down and alternate jogging with walking. If you can’t walk pain free, then you may need take some time off.
Warming Up and Cooling Down
Before you head out for a jog, prepare your muscles, joints and tendons by doing an active warm up. Walk or jog slowly for five to 10 minutes to gradually raise your body temperature and increase your heart rate. Towards the end of your warm up, gradually increase your pace until you are jogging. At the end of your workout, don’t stop suddenly. Instead, walk for minutes to let your body gradually cool down. After your jog, stretch all your major muscle groups, especially your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes and calves. Hold each stretch for 15 to 30 seconds.
Safety should always be your top priority when jogging. Before heading out for your jog, plan your route. Anywhere that is safe enough for walking is probably safe enough for jogging. Avoid high-traffic streets and, if possible, don't jog on the roads. Jog on the left side of the road, facing traffic and stick to the shoulder. Always obey traffic signs. In times of low visibility, wear a reflector vest.
Fitzalan Gorman has more than 10 years of academic and commercial experience in research and writing. She has written speeches and text for CEOs, company presidents and leaders of major nonprofit organizations. Gorman has published for professional cycling teams and various health and fitness websites. She has a Master of Arts from Virginia Tech in political science and is a NASM certified personal trainer.