Are you someone who would like to run, but feel intimidated or unsure where to start?
When the furthest run you have ever completed was the mile run in your high school gym class running for fun can seem impossible. Don’t worry, you are not alone.
In an effort to offer motivation and support in beginning your running journey, I have listed my top 10 tips to becoming a runner.
1. Start slow.
My first tip is to start out slowly. People often think that running must be completed at a fast pace, for multiple miles, almost every single day.
The truth is it is best to ease into running. Start with the run-walk method.
The run-walk method allows new runners to build up their running endurance, prepare and train their muscles and strengthens their lung capacity.
During the first week of your training plan, the Road Runner’s Club of America [RRCA] suggests beginning a walk to run interval consisting of a one-minute run followed by a four-minute walk for a total of thirty minutes.
Each week increase the amount of time spent running while interchangeably decreasing the amount of time walking until you are able to run for the full 30 minutes without walking.
2. Set a goal.
Whether the goal is as small as “running for 10 minutes without stopping” or “running in a 5k race” it is important to set a goal for yourself.
The American Council on Exercise [ACE] suggests setting SMART goals. SMART stands for Specific Measurable Attainable Relevant Time-bound goals.
- Specific goals are not broad or general. They are simplified and precise.
- Measurable goals have a specific distance or time.
- Attainable goals are within your reach.
- Relevant goals are relatable to your long-term goals.
- Time-bound goals have a set deadline.
Short-term and long-term goals can also be set. Short-term goals help to build the momentum and confidence. Long-term goals are beneficial when the motivation and confidence wear thin.
3. Keep a training journal.
In an effort to track your progress it can be very helpful to keep track of your runs. Write down the days you ran, the mileage you completed and the time you completed the runs within. After each week compare and contrast each run. Make notes of where you may have run at a faster pace, a slower pace, a longer distance or a shorter distance.
4. Learn to warm-up, cool down and stretch.
For new runners it is fantastic to implement these three healthy habits early on. Starting off with a slow and steady warm up allows oxygen and blood to be delivered to the muscles and fully prepare the body for the run you are planning to complete.
Cool down allows the body to ease the blood flow away from the muscles that were working and back through the rest of the body. Stretching allows the muscles that were just exercising to stretch and prevent any tightness, injuries or pain.
Incorporating these three habits into your running routine will not only make you a much better and smarter runner, it will also prevent you from a great deal of pain and injury.
5. Follow a plan.
Once you have chosen your goal your next step is to create a plan that you guide you in accomplishing your goal. The plan that you choose should be catered to your goal distance and time, it should offer you ample preparation time, while also providing a manageable schedule of training runs each week.
6. Get a good pair of shoes.
It is important that you run in a supportive and comfortable pair of running shoes. Running shoes that are several years old and worn down can cause injuries to your body. Seek out a local running store and request a shoe fitting, along with advice for selecting the perfect fit. The right running shoe will offer your feet support, will improve your stride, and will prevent injuries caused by incorrect or old shoes.
7. Make friends that run.
Having friends that enjoy running can be motivational, resourceful and supportive. At times when you want to give up, skip a workout, or you are just looking for advice – the right running buddy will come in handy. Whether your buddy is a new friend, an old friend, a running group or an organized running club – having people around interested in the same thing as you, training for a similar event, can be very helpful and supportive.
8. Seek motivation and guidance.
Motivation and guidance can be found in multiple places, including the internet, speeches and presentations, friends, and books and podcasts. When preparing for a new event or type of race I often seek out new information from podcasts, YouTube videos, books and presentations. I make an effort to learn as much information on the topic as I can. I look to professional and accomplished contestants who have made a name for themselves in that event or type of race.I also enjoy learning the how and why they chose to accomplish their goals. These stories always offer insight and motivation.
9. Eat and drink well.
When additional strain is put on the body it is important to replenish and refuel the body. Proper nutrition and hydration will assist in improving runner’s performance, strength, and overall health.
10. Enjoy the process.
Last, but not least; enjoy your running journey. This is a very precious time. Learning a new skill is not easy for anyone.
Give yourself credit and have fun along the way!