Tap in ‘running for beginners’ in the google search bar and you’ll be hit with instant info overload. There’s a whole range of articles all saying different things. It’s all enough to make you switch off your computer and give up on the whole running idea completely.
But you shouldn’t give up because running is a great way to get in shape, feel better and even make new friends. And the beautiful thing is you really only need one thing to run — a comfortable pair of shoes.
So, in this article we’ll answer all your questions that you probably have about getting started jogging. But without forgetting that running is, well…..simple!!
Running for Beginners, Your questions answered
How much should I run?
This is the burning question. The truth is, you can reap health rewards from training 3 times a week.
Twice a week do a walk/run, and at the weekend do a slightly longer walk/run.
The question of distance is far more flexible. If you are completely new to running then aim for 1 mile for you midweek runs and hen 1.5 miles for your weekend run.
As you progress you can slowly extend the distance of your longer run. As you feel comfortable.
It’s also beneficial to cross train on the days you don’t run. Cross train means some other physical exercise. If you can fit in swimming, aerobics, gym work etc. in to your schedule on a couple of other days if will improve your overall strength.
Should I push myself from the start?
You should push yourself to fit running into your daily routine. However, overdoing it with your running is a recipe for disaster.
Running too fast, too far, too much will all result in doing yourself physical damage. When you are starting off, be conservative, do a training schedule that is within your limits.
This not only reduces the risk of injury, but also increases the chances of you relaxing and enjoying your running. And you’ll keep it up!
How do I know if I’m injured?
If you have any doubts about your physical condition, head straight to your doctor.
Getting the ‘all clear’ from your GP straight from the get go is also a great way to increase your ‘yes, I’m ready to do this’ attitude.
One thing that is guaranteed is that once you start running, it WILL hurt. your legs and muscles in general will ache like crazy.
So how can you know when you are injured? You should listen to your body. If you get a sharp pain when you run, take at least three days rest.
If the pain persists, head straight to a professional.
Side stitches can also be a real drag, especially for new runners.These are caused by lack of oxygen to the muscles. When they hit you, try slowing down and bend over at the waist whilst inhaling and exhaling slowly.
Persistent side stitches can also be relieved by avoiding eating solid food directly before your run.
What Route should I Take?
The one overriding important point underpinning the running for beginners tips is to make your early running as easy and stress free as you can.
You can do this by choosing a route you know well. Getting lost on a run is a surefire way of having you stop, giving up, jumping in a taxi or calling your spouse to pick you up.
Choose a route you know well, and work out how long it is. This way you can just start on the run and not worry about how far you are running or where you are going.
Of course, you should choose a safe route. Not having to stop at a ton of traffic signals is also beneficial. A big part of running is getting a good rhythm going, and being held up by endless red lights doesn’t help this.
Is it OK to walk?
Some runners have a bit of a macho thing going on. That it is somehow weak to stop and walk. It might surprise you though that some very top runners utilise carefully planned walking intervals. And they get very fast times.
While it is very OK to walk you MUST plan your breaks and walking.
When a runner just runs hard and then stops when they feel tired it is very difficult to recover that energy again.
The trick here is to plan your break before you start feeling really tired. This way your body recovers its energy levels much more efficiently.
Sticking to your running/walking and break plan is also very important. This helps you to control and manage your efforts.
Once you start stopping ad hoc with a “I’ll just take a quick break now” attitude, you are on the road to giving up running all together.
What should I eat?
No running for beginners tips compendium would be complete without some diet advice.
The truth is though a shift in life style can be a big jump. Taking up running and throwing out all your old eating habits at the same time can be a mistake.
A gradual move to a better diet is better than suddenly diving into a pure mineral water and salad lifestyle.
This is what you should aim for:
At each meal, about half of your calories should come from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. About one quarter of your calories should come from unsaturated fats, like avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil. The remainder of your calories should come from sources of lean protein, like soy, fish, lean poultry, eggs, and beans.
To feel the full benefit of running you should look to move your daily diet over to something similar to the above outline.
Do I need to worry about how I run?
The good news is: no you don’t. For advanced runners looking to shave seconds of their personal best, these things matter.
But the starter runner should focus on relaxing and keeping to their natural stride. Some people are heel strikers and some lead with their toes. And both are OK.
Maintaining your natural stride should keep you from increasing the chance of getting injured.
One great piece of advice is too try and stand as tall as you can. This helps you get a nice even stride pattern.
How can I keep my motivation up?
This is another big, big question.
When it’s raining outside, or below zero, or you just can’t be bothered, how do you get the motivation to run?
The blunt answer would be “it’s on you”. And to a certain extent, it must be.
However, there are a few things you can do to help you keep on track.
Make a commitment to fit running into your life. Be realistic, don’t aim to run everyday if your schedule allows only for three times a week (remember three times a week is enough).
Make a point of announcing your intention to start running. This will place a bit of accountability on you. As friends and family ask “how’s the running going?” it places a bit of pressure on you to keep it up.
Sign up for a race. Find a local race and sign up for it. This doesn’t need to be a marathon! Signing for your first 5k is perfect for giving you a focus and goal. And race meets are just plain fun.
Give yourself at least a couple of months to prepare for the race so you feel comfortable preparing for it.
What do I need to start running?
We mentioned at the start that you just need some good shoes for running. And good shoes are really important.
It’s unlikely that a regular sports shop can give you the best advice about the right shoes for you. A trip to a running shop is advisable as they will have trained staff to advise you.
For your long term running success it’s a good idea to track your progress with a phone app. Most of these are free and will let you know how far and fast you’re going.
Is Success Guaranteed?
Of course not!:-) But pretty much anyone without a major physical impediment can get running.
Remember to enjoy the whole experience, don’t push yourself too hard and keep to your commitment. And running will bring it’s rewards.
This article on running for beginners was inspired was sourced from: