We probably don’t have to tell you how important regular cardiovascular activity is for your health. Getting your heart pounding several times a week, whether you’re swimming, biking, lifting weights, or dancing, gets your blood flowing, reduces stress, helps you sleep, and so much more.

Running and jogging is one of the most popular cardiovascular activities for good reason; it’s accessible, affordable (sometimes free!), and can be done indoors on a treadmill or outdoors in your neighborhood, on a track, or on a trail. Maybe you were a runner in a past life but it’s been awhile since you flexed those skills, or maybe you’ve always been interested in running but felt too intimidated to start. No matter where you are on your path, these tips can make running feel like something you get to do, not a chore you have to check off a list.

Start small.

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and marathon runners weren’t running 26 miles overnight! If it’s been awhile since you went for a jog or you’ve never tried it, don’t put undue pressure on yourself to make huge strides right away. Try a “Couch to 5K” program or app or challenge yourself to run halfway around the block or to a certain marker. Mixing a minute or two of walking and running is a great way to get started, giving you ample time to catch your breath and get your body used to the movement. Aim to run for 20 minutes two to three times per week at first and increase frequency as you adapt.

Don’t overdo it.

Warming up beforehand, whether that’s with five minutes of stretching and jumping jacks or a quick walk, is a must, as is stretching after your jog or run. This will help reduce stiffness and soreness — and it feels great to stretch it all out after a good workout! Don’t forget to prioritize rest days to allow your body to repair and heal.

Wear comfortable gear.

If your leggings are falling down, your pullover is too warm, or your shoes keep coming untied, you’re going to view running as an annoyance, not a fun, stress-reducing activity. While you don’t need to head to the local running store and invest in a whole new wardrobe when you’re just starting out, having a comfortable and supportive pair of running shoes is essential. Proper footwear helps reduce potential injury, strain, and stress on your bones and joints. If your old faithful running shoes are giving you blisters or pain, it’s time to replace them.

It’s also important to run safely. If you’re running in the evenings, wear reflective gear and be aware of your surroundings.

Bring a friend.

Need an extra motivator? Enlist a friend as a running buddy — it can help you stay accountable and keep you on track, especially on those days when you just don’t want to do anything. Plus, it’s a healthy way to connect with loved ones on a regular basis.

Make a few great playlists.

Load up your Spotify or Apple Music with playlists that make you want to move. When you feel like giving up and heading home, turning on a high-energy song you love can boost your energy and help you keep moving. 

Fuel your body.

You can’t hit your fitness goals and mark the miles if you’re not feeding your body the nutrients it needs. Eating a well-rounded diet of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and protein — not to mention lots of water — will help you start off your running journey on the right foot. If you’re low in iron, Floradix® Iron + Herbs Liquid Herbal Supplement is a highly absorbable liquid iron supplement with vitamin C, B-complex vitamins, and more to help you feel your best.*

Reward yourself.

Hey, we support it! If you’re motivated by rewards, there’s no reason why you can’t treat yourself to a new pair of shoes, a tech accessory, or whatever you’ve been coveting after hitting a running goal.