Regular running can reduce your risk of long-term illnesses, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke, while also boosting your mood and keeping weight under control. Specifically, running works great if you’re looking to tone your thighs and calves. Not only are your calf muscles constantly in motion while you’re on the hoof, but both of the muscle groups in your thigh – the quadriceps and hamstrings – are getting a work out. This allows for fat burning and increasing lean muscle mass in your thighs, giving them a more toned look.
Our guide is designed to make running a safe, fun and effective experience for beginners, and provide you with tips on how to stay motivated, so you and your legs can reap the benefits.
Before you start
First, let’s talk trainers. Running requires little equipment, but a good pair of running shoes that suit your foot type will improve comfort and performance no end. There are many types of trainers on the market, so make sure to get advice from a specialist running retailer, who will assess your foot and find the right shoe for you. As the structure of running shoes weakens over time, especially with regular use, you may need to consider replacing them every 300 to 400 miles (482 to 644 km).
Next, consider your bra – it’s about to become your new BF. Think about wearing a sports bra, which is sturdier than a regular one, to provide additional support.
Now, plan your runs. This is a crucial step because if you figure out when and where (the exact route and time) you’re going to run and put it in your diary, you won’t forget to do it. It’s a good idea to keep a diary of your runs by noting down each one too, including your route, distance, time, weather conditions and how you felt. That way, whenever your motivation is flagging, you can look back and be encouraged by the progress you have made.
Regular running for beginners means getting out at least twice a week. Your running will improve as your body adapts to the consistent training stimulus. Remember it’s better to run twice a week, every week, than to run six times one week and then stop no running for the next three weeks.
To avoid injury and enjoy the experience, it’s essential to ease yourself into running slowly and increase your pace and distance gradually over several outings. Not only will this help you enjoy the experience of running, you will also massively reduce your risk of injury.
Start each run with a gentle warm-up of at least five minutes. This could include quick walking, marching on the spot, knee lifts, side stepping and climbing stairs. Once completed, start off walking for an amount of time that feels comfortable to you (everybody’s different). You could also try alternating between running and walking when you first start out, and as time goes on making the running intervals longer until you no longer feel the need to walk. After a run, always give yourself a few minutes to cool down by walking and stretching.
Whatever your level, setting challenges is super useful if you want to stay motivated. Training for a race, such as a 5K, or a charity run is another good way to keep going. We suggest checking out your local park for community runs too – you could even set yourself the challenge to raise some money for charity!
Running with a friend that has the same level of ability as you can also help you out when looking for some added motivation. There’s no doubt that a running partner can help you encourage each other and you won’t want to let them down – helping you keep the pace up. Local running clubs are another great way to commit to running regularly; most clubs have groups for different levels, including beginners.
Keep your running interesting by adding variety – running the same route over and over again can become boring. Alter your distances, pace and routes to give yourself some variation… Not only will different inclines drastically improve your ability as a runner, it will also help you feel that bit more motivated to get out there and run.
Ultimately, running is one of the optimum ways to tone your legs, helping you stay fit and stay toned. If you’re interested in improving your leg care, take a look through our shop today, including our unique and effective Cellulite Plan subscription.