Running is one of Boston’s favorite sports. Visit almost any park or path in the city and you’ll see Bostonians of all shapes, sizes, and athletic abilities running. For some people, the prospect of starting to run when you haven’t lately can be intimidating, too. Starting to move and play in a new way always takes some adjustment but you’ve chosen to try one of the most fun and accessible ways to get fit anywhere and any day! Running has the same health benefits of walking and then some more – check out this article for a comparison of running vs. walking for fitness. Plus, there is no start up cost for the sport. Running really is for everyone with an interest and a solid foundation in regular walking.
New runners tend to have many of the same questions about how to get comfortable running and where to begin. Here are some answers.
1. How can I get started when I haven’t run much before (or lately)?
- Find a running plan designed for beginners to use as a starting point – it’s like having a personal trainer in your pocket. Most running resources (e.g. Runner’s World) provide these easy to follow plans for free or at a very low cost
- There’s an app for that – download the app or print out the “Couch to 5k” plan for a great way to ease into running in just a few minutes a week
- Take it at your own pace – starting with regular, slow runs will teach your body that running can feel good. Then after a few weeks, you’ll find that you can run longer and farther than you ever thought possible
2. What clothing or equipment do I need for my runs?
One of the benefits of running is that it is so inexpensive. You’ll need sturdy sneakers that fit your foot and suit your stride well. Head into a running store near you if you need to get fitted by a specialist. Breathable, athletic clothing will help to keep you comfortable – avoid 100% cotton, which holds on to sweat. And don’t forget your water bottle! Stay hydrated with your FREE water bottle from the Kohl’s and Boston Children’s Hospital’s Healthy Family Fun Program
3. Where should I run?
- Map your run – Find Boston run/walking routes of any and every distance plotted by other runners on MapMyRun.com or with their app.
- Pick a park – Cruise through the Emerald Necklace network of parks or run past Moakley Park and the shores of Dorchester Bay
- Run the river – the Esplanade paths along the Boston and Cambridge side banks of the Charles River are some of the most well known running routes in the area. Walk or run any part of the 4 mile loop between the Museum of Science and Mass Ave Bridge to enjoy the city skyline
- Enjoy the indoors – The Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center at Roxbury Community College offers a low-cost membership for anyone interested in an indoor option for running on its track or treadmills. The treadmill at your local branch of the YMCA or another gym will be a great option, too, especially when there starts to be a chill in the air
4. What if I don’t want to run alone?
Join one of Boston’s many fun and free running groups or recruit the home team to run with you – chances are that your loved ones will want to support you and add a little more movement to their life, too.
5. How can I get my kids into running?
If you give running a try and love it, your kids might just want to be included in your fun. Growing up with a mom or dad who leads an active lifestyle through regular running – or any favorite activity – sets a child up to believe that they, too, can get moving and maintain it through adulthood. The Boston Athletic Association organizes a series of exciting short distance runs and relay races for young athletes every year. There’s no performance requirement – kids should only be encouraged to run as long or as far as they feel is right for their body and the level of fitness with which they are starting.
The cooling weather means fall is a perfect season to start in which to start your running routine. Have fun hitting the pavement and keep us at Kohl’s and Boston Children’s Hospital’s Healthy Family Fun Program up to date by posting any fun running routes or events you come across on our Facebook page.