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How to Jog

Six Parts:Getting Your GearMapping a RouteJogging RightWorking Your ScheduleKeeping MotivatedSample Routine

Running should be easy, right? People have been running since we got up on two legs. But, as it turns out, jogging is more difficult than it seems. Let wikiHow show you how to start working out without hurting yourself and keep yourself motivated through the beginner's hump. You can do it! Learn more below the jump.

Part 1
Getting Your Gear

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    Get the right shoes.
    • Choose the best shoes for where you'll run. Road shoes for the road, trail shoes for rougher terrain: this will keep your feet protected and help with traction.
    • Account for your arches. You'll need more or less support, depending on how high of an arch you have. The shape of the shoe itself will also need to change. Go to your local major shoe store to get help with this.
    • Check your heel movement. Some people roll their heels, either out or in, as they run. This will also affect the type of shoe you need. Check some old shoes for wear to get an idea of how you move.
    • Tie your shoes correctly. Did you know you can lace your shoes differently to make them fit better? There are methods to create more space in the toes, or support high arches. Even ways to keep heels in place if they tend to slip![1]
    • Get the right size! Correct fit is key in making sure your shoes are as comfortable as possible. Even if you think you know what size you are, be willing to be wrong because it can make a huge difference in how you feel afterwards.
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    Buy comfortable, appropriate clothes.
    • Shoot for good movement. You should be choosing clothes that are loose or flexible, so that they allow for a good range of movement. You'll also want clothes in shapes and materials that breathe well. This can help reduce rashes and other skin problems.
    • Factor in weather and temperature. You'll probably need more than one jogging outfit (depending on where you live). Have clothes that are warmer and provide more coverage for if you go running in the winter, for example.
    • Don't forget about pockets. You'll want pockets in order to carry important things like your ID and your keys. Alternatively, though, you can use other things like your shoes or an armband.
    • You'll also want to wear the right kind of socks. Look for socks specifically marketed for runners. This can help prevent blisters.
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    Consider some entertainment.
    • Get an mp3 player. Smaller players, like an iPod nano, are great for using while you're jogging. There are even several wristbands that they can be fit into.
    • Find something to listen to. Music is the obvious choice, but you could even get something like a podcast or audio book too. This can be a great way to stay in touch with the news or fit in some "reading" if you're low on time.
    • Enjoy the quiet if you prefer: you don't have to listen to anything if you don't want to!
    • Stay safe! If you do choose to listen to something, try to only have one ear bud in. Hearing an approaching car or other sign of trouble is crucial to your safety.

Part 2
Mapping a Route

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    Factor in safety.
    • Be careful where you run. Choose locations that are safe, with lots of people around and as few cars as possible.
    • Choose a good time to run. Running at night or in the morning, before dawn, is much more dangerous than running during the day. You run the risk of getting hit by a driver that can't see you or someone taking advantage of you when fewer people are around.
    • Stay visible to drivers. If you do decide to run near a road, stay visible by wearing bright, reflective clothing. You can also get safety devices, like a blinking LED, to get even more attention.
    • Jog with a buddy. Whether jogging with a person or even just a dog, this is significantly safer. This will help keep you safe from people who may want to take advantage of you!
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    Decide how far you want to jog.
    • Do a test run. Do a basic jog and see how it makes you feel. Test how far you can get before you feel super gross. By setting realistic expectations, you'll be much more likely to succeed.
    • Don't forget about getting back to your starting point. Factor in how long it takes you to run and leave in time to get back to your starting point. Yes, you may be able to get to that coffee shop down the road, but what about getting back?
    • Slowly increase your distance over time. Remember, you'll be able to jog a greater distance once you're in better shape and can move father, faster. Work your way up to it. Increasing will also give your body a better workout, so keep a longer route in mind.
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    Map it!
    • Use mapping software. You can use free tools like Google Maps or RunningMap.com to measure the distance of your route and track things like elevation changes. Some websites even have a social aspect, allowing you and other runners in your area to share and compare routes.
    • Account for terrain. Changes in road types, terrain changes, and elevation changes can be a bigger hurdle than you give them credit for. Try to avoid things like having a steep hill right at the end of your run. You'll increase the chances of hurting yourself.
    • Test it out. Once you think you've got a good route in mind, test it out before making up your mind. You can even choose a few different routes to cycle between during the week.

Part 3
Jogging Right

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    Don't try to be a superhero.
    • Take things slow. Work your way up to serious exercise. Doing otherwise can just result in injury!
    • Don't go crazy with the exercise routine. Don't let it become an obsession. This isn't healthy. There is such a thing as too skinny and working out too much can leave you injured.
    • You also shouldn't push yourself too hard in a given workout. Some pushing is good. Getting yourself sent to the hospital is not. Look for signs from your body that enough is enough.
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    Eat right.
    • You do not want to jog on a full stomach: this can make you weak or even sick!
    • Have a small meal before jogging: something which will give you energy and won't weigh you down. A banana and a couple of sticks of jerky are a good option, as both will help your body fill up on the nutrients lost through exercise.
    • Don't forget to hydrate yourself too!
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    Warm up.
    • Don't stretch. At least, not before you start moving around. This actually increases your chances of hurting yourself! Do dynamic stretches if you stretch at all before jogging.
    • Warm up by walking briskly for a few minutes before jogging and then jogging slowly for a few minutes. After this, you can jog as normal.[2]
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    Stay loose and relaxed.
    • Keep your muscles loose and your movements natural. Being tense or pushing yourself too hard can result in injury.
    • Keep your shoulders down and loose.
    • Your torso should be straight and upright and your hips should be facing forward: in other words, your body should be in a natural position.
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    Breathe.
    • Don't forget to breathe!
    • Breathe deeply and evenly.
    • If you get lightheaded, stop! Give your self some rest and air.
    • If you find you have trouble breathing, consult with a doctor. You may have asthma.
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    Stay hydrated.
    • Bring a water bottle with you or drink a lot before and after jogging.
    • Drink normal water and eat foods which provide potassium and sugar and salt (electrolytes) or drink something with electrolytes added in.
    • Your body loses these vital nutrients when it sweats, so replacing them is important. If you don't, you'll probably end up feeling sick.
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    Move correctly.[3]
    • Avoid hitting the ground heel first. This is bad for your knees. Instead, try to hit the ground with the flat of your foot or, ideally, on the front/balls of your feet.
    • Bend your arms at a 90° angle.
    • Keep your head straight. Don't look down any more than you have to. You should generally be looking several feet in front of you at least.
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    Cool down.
    • Cool down to avoid injury. This step should not be skipped!
    • Jog slowly and then walk for a few minutes before stopping.
    • Finish your cool down with some stretching. Stretches that focus on the calves are the best for joggers.

Part 4
Working Your Schedule

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    Jog in the morning.
    • Waking up an extra 30-45 minutes early can be one way to fit a jog into your day.
    • Jogging in the morning will kickstart your metabolism and give you more energy to get through your day. It's as effective as a cup of coffee for waking you up!
    • This allows you to also shower as normal, cutting out the extra time that takes if you do it later in your day.
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    Jog in the evening.
    • If you're just not a morning person, you can fit your jog in at the end of your day as well. Either right when you get home or after dinner, it can be easier to fit in to your schedule.
    • This has the added benefit of working off some of your dinner calories, but the downside of making you less tired before bedtime.
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    Jog on your lunch break.
    • If you have a long lunch break and access to a shower, you can use some of your lunch break to fit in a quick jog.
    • This actually works to keep you more alert during that dreaded second half of the day.
    • This also eliminates the time barrier that many people have, allowing you to make exercise a priority in your life.
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    Jog to work or school.
    • If you work or go to school fairly close (3 miles (4.8 km) or less) to where you live, you can get yourself there by jogging.
    • Of course, you'll need a place to clean up once you're there. Bring a change of clothes and get rid of the stink before you settle in for the day!
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    Have a backup plan!
    • Don't forget that you can also run on treadmills or indoor tracks, in the event of inclement weather.
    • You can also get exercise in other ways, if you can't, for some reason, jog that day. If, for example, you hurt your leg, you may still be able to do some upper-body exercises.

Part 5
Keeping Motivated

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    Jog for the right reasons.
    • You should jog because you enjoy it. If you don't enjoy it, you'll find it's almost impossible to keep motivated.
    • Jogging is actually only one of a number of basic exercises. There are others which can be more efficient or are easier to fit into your day.
    • If you're jogging mainly to lose weight, recognize that a combination of diet and simply being more active during the day (take the stairs, not the elevator) can be enough for many people.
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    Keep things convenient.
    • Don't give yourself an excuse not to exercise. Remove as many possible excuses are you can by keeping your chosen routine convenient.
    • Choose a route close to home which isn't weather dependent.
    • Find a good time in your day to fit it in...one that isn't subject to constant change.
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    Take a buddy.
    • Taking someone with you can help keep you motivated, by making you responsible to someone else. This can be a close friend or a family member.
    • You can even take your dog, if you have one.
    • This has the added benefit of keeping you safe while you run.
    • You can also join a local runner's group. Many neighborhoods will do a jogging group. Check with yours!
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    Keep a schedule.
    • Stay regular in your schedule. Exercise on the same days each week and at the same times on those days.
    • It helps if the rest of your life is also carefully scheduled.
    • Scheduling helps you build a rhythm and habit, and humans really are creatures of habit.
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    Make it a game.
    • Avoid giving yourself incentives like extra sweets or new material objects. These work poorly to motivate you and can work against your goals. Instead, make jogging fun by turning it into a game.
    • Did you know that there are apps for your phone that turn exercising into a video game? Apps like "Zombies, run!" are a great way to make your workout fun and something to look forward to.
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    Set goals.
    • Setting goals will give you something to work toward. A tangible end-point will help you feel like you're making progress. What this endpoint is is up to you, however.
    • You can say that you want to lose a certain amount of weight. You can decide to jog a certain distance. You can make it a goal to be fit enough to run a local marathon. There are all sorts of goals.
    • Another good goal would be building up the ability to run a local race in a year's time. You can race for charity or even just for fun!

Part 6
Sample Routine

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    Jog for Week 1.
    • Jog for 1 minute, then walk for 1 minute. Then increase the time for each by one minute. Continue increasing and alternating until you jog for 5 minutes and walk for 5 minutes. Do this 3-5 times during the week.
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    Jog for Week 2.
    • Jog for 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 minutes, with 1 minute of walking in between each stretch. Do this 3-5 times during the week.
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    Jog for Week 3.
    • Jog for 5 minutes, walk for 1 minute, jog for 10 minutes, then walk for 1 minute, jog for 15 minutes, then walk for 1 minute. Do this 3-5 times during the week.
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    Jog for Week 4.
    • Jog for 15 minutes, walk for 1 minute, then jog for 15 minutes. Do this 3-5 times during the week.
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    Jog for Week 5.
    • Repeat the routine for Week 4 or move on if you've adjusted.
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    Jog for Week 6.
    • Jog for 45 minutes, with 1 minute walking breaks every 15 minutes. Do this 3 times during the week.
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    Jog for Week 7.
    • Jog for 1 hour, with 1 minute walking breaks every 15 minutes. Do this 3 times during the week.

Tips

  • Jog regularly. Jogging a mile every day is better for your health than running three miles every other day.
  • Try to jog with a friend. It's safer and much more fun.
  • Find the pace that's perfect for you. You don't want to sprint at the start and be out of breath 45 seconds in. When starting out (week one), find your pace. Your pace could be almost walking if needed.
  • Meditation after jogging will be very fruitful for mental health.

Warnings

  • Don't overdo it. Start by walking and jog if you can. If you get tired, walk awhile. If you can carry on a conversation while you're jogging you're keeping a good pace.

Things You'll Need

  • Purchase a pair of comfortable sturdy running shoes.

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