Being a runner for more than 35 years has shown me the challenges and benefits that come along with making running a regular activity. There are those who just go for runs and then there are runners. In making that lifestyle change from the occasional jog to the runner's obsession, there are several tips that I would recommend for both the beginner and the seasoned runner.
For starters, take it easy
Don't be ashamed to start running on flat, small routes. A high school track or a series of city blocks can be a good way to ease into running. These types of settings also make it easy to gauge what distance you have gone (i.e. four times around a track is generally a mile).
Keep your pace steady and constant. As a beginner, you shouldn't think that you can run as fast as Jamaica's Usain Bolt; your pace is something earned after consistent practice. As a seasoned runner too, your pace can change as well. Some days a run can be tough, even if you're used to a 5:30 mile, a slower paced run can be relaxing and good for parts of the body that need rest.
Find people with a common interest in running. Talking with other runners can help keep you motivated and can fill you with tips and insights on staying committed. Having a running buddy can also act as a positive obligation to continue running; nobody like being stood-up for a run.
Find the time to run
People are always complaining that they don't have enough time to work out, but realistically what is one hour out of your schedule? That hour could be the hour that you're sitting at home watching Dancing With the Stars or tapping around on your tablet device. Treat running like you would treat and important appointment within your weekly schedule. Plan your runs in advanced and devout yourself to that block of time designated for your run session.
When running, just run
Too much thought can ruin a good run; before, during, and after. Leading up to a run, intimidation, procrastination, and distraction can keep us from enjoying the benefits of physical activity. While running, the thoughts of work, obligations, and stressful life problems can keep us from focusing on the run itself. Running helps to clear the mind's thoughts and empty out any terrible emotions. Don't think too much on other things, just think about the run moment-by-moment.
Food and Water
If you run on a consistent basis, it can raise your metabolism allowing you to eat more foods without having to worry about excessive weight gain (but everyone's body is different). It's best not to fill up on too many liquids and solids before a run because it can increase the chances of cramps and/or vomiting. Eating light food accompanied by water 45 minutes before a run is usually a good time frame to allow digestion before the vigorous activity. Hydrating before, during, and after a run is always important, especially after the run is complete. While gimmicky sports drinks and energy drinks claim to be the best for physical activity, nothing is better than room temperature water.