21st August 2017.Finding the sport or hobby that aligns with your interests and available time isn't easy for many women today. With busy lives full of obligations ranging from the hectic work schedules to full social calendars, how can you find the time to take care of your body? Eating right is important, but it takes exercise to make a difference. If you've heard friends chatting about their "morning run" or their "daily jog," it might start to sound appealing. You could carve out some time early or late in your day, right? Most people can find enough time for at least a quick run. What if you haven't gone for a serious run since your school days, though? That might make it more of a challenge. Don't worry: with the right tips in mind, you can conquer the physical challenges to begin running. It is all a matter of forcing your body to adjust to the change in your routine ? and after a while, it begins to respond to your efforts in surprising ways. Watch out, too: once you get your first taste of the "runner's high," it often leads to racking up even more miles. Before you sign up for a marathon, let's look at what women should know about this process.

Start by setting goals for yourself

It's best to begin any exercise with an end goal in mind. Setting several milestones gives you something to strive for as you huff and puff your way through the tough first few weeks. Set reasonable goals, too, like running a mile without stopping. Then you can add progressively more distance, or challenge yourself to lower your time. For women taking up running for the first time, this goal-setting is an essential step. You could even go further and ask some of your friends to help keep you accountable. By sharing your goals with others, it encourages them to check up on your progress. When you're feeling like being a couch potato, someone could come along and give you the motivational boost you need to get back out there.

Pick the best time to go running

There are a few more steps before you start running, though. The right preparations will make the first stages easier to bear. So when will you run? It helps to find the time in your schedule in advance, rather than trying to squeeze in your running time whenever possible. Sometimes, of course, that's the way it must be; otherwise, you can benefit from the repetitiveness of a structure. It helps stave off procrastination and allows your body to build up endurance faster. You could run in the morning when the weather is likely to be at its coolest. If you like it warmer, though, going for a run after work in the early evening ? preferably before the sun sets ? is also a good idea. It's down to your personal preference.

Kit yourself out with helpful gear and clothes

The good news is you don't need a tonne of fancy items to go running. That doesn't mean you should skip the "kitting out" process entirely, however. Instead, pick up the items that will help the most. A well-fitting pair of running shoes is essential. You may want several pairs to rotate between to keep them all fresh. A BPA-free sports bottle for water is a good idea too; you may want to pick up flavourings or supplements to add to your water so you can stay energised and hydrated at the same time. Running clothes are important, too, to improve comfort and prevent chafing. Consider finding a stylish running top and some comfortable leggings or shorts. With that, you'll have the basics of a running kit assembled.

You don't need to run flat-out from the start

Now it's time to begin your runs ? but you don't need to go "full tilt" from the outset. Instead, it is better to start by alternating walking and running. Try to initially run and walk for just 30 minutes at a time per day. Go as far as you can, walk, then repeat the process. After a week, increase the time you spend running and lessen your walking time. After another week, do it again. See the pattern? Eventually, you'll be able to run the entire 30 minutes without stopping, and your lungs won't feel like they're on fire. This stage can be a struggle for many women; stick it out, though, and you've built a solid foundation. You're only getting started, and it's time to keep moving.

Increase your intensity over many weeks

If you're taking it slow, you can mix up your runs as you feel comfortable. Once you've passed the 30-minute threshold, start measuring your distances instead. Try having a few days a week where you do a shorter run at your maximum intensity level. On other days, do a long, slow run. This variation in technique is better for your body. It will allow you to develop the muscles in your legs while also fine-tuning your heart and lungs for endurance. Don't forget to hydrate thoroughly throughout this, and to keep eating right. Runners can burn a tonne of calories ? which is excellent for losing weight, but also means you need to remember to fuel your body properly.

Choose interesting routes or run with friends

Going out for runs all by yourself can give you a chance to get away from the hustle and bustle of your life and just reflect. Sometimes, that can lead to feelings of isolation and boredom. For lots of women, that leads them back to not exercising at all. To avoid that problem, invite other friends along with you on a run. Organise a weekend get-together, work out, and catch up on the latest news with your friends. Running together is both fun and an excellent way to challenge yourself. Don't be surprised if you find yourself in a footrace with your friends.

Take rest days and appreciate your progress

You can't always continue to run every day ? in fact; you shouldn't. You do not want to risk a sports injury. That risk is why it's crucial to take rest days, at least one or two a week. Mix in other exercises besides running, too. Strengthen your body but also take the time you need to unwind, de-stress, and just relax. Otherwise, you can start experiencing the symptoms of "burnout," which is a recipe for falling out of your habits. Many beginners feel frustrated with their slow progress or with the monotonous nature of running. Those problems make it clear that to be serious about running for fitness; you need to look at it from the "big picture" perspective. It should be just one aspect of a healthy approach to life.

Stay safe while you run

Unfortunately, running isn't always as easy as going around the block from your house. It's important to take precautions and stay safe. Avoid running after dark if possible, and do not run in sparsely populated areas. Stick to well-lit zones where there are plenty of other people around. If necessary, consider carrying an aid for self-defence, such as a canister of defence spray or a very loud whistle. Also, try to avoid running where there is an abundance of traffic if possible. Dedicated running tracks and parks make good spots to get in your miles. Of course, there is nothing wrong with spending some time on the treadmill, either? especially if there is a storm brewing on the horizon! Running indoors is just as good for you.

Lace up, ladies ? anyone can learn to run!

Once you get through the difficult stages at the beginning, running quickly becomes a routine you can keep. With the right gear and an appropriate training plan, you'll find yourself racking up the miles in no time at all. Don't forget about the importance of doing more than just running by yourself, too: the social aspect can make it even more fun and exciting. Maybe you'll even find the desire to enter a 5k or an even longer race. With the tremendous health benefits running affords, it's worth a try. Combine that cardio with its calorie blasting ability, and you have a recipe for the perfect workout all year long.