By: Angela Ciroalo
Learn to fall in love with running this autumn with these 10 easy-to-follow tips for runners just starting out.
- Learn to walk before you can run
There is no reason to begin your running journey by sprinting.
Running is all about pacing yourself. Learn this early on.
Begin your first run by walking with short bursts of jogging.
If you feel comfortable with this, jog at a very low speed.
As you begin to feel more comfortable running, begin to increase your speed or distance, depending on your goals.
Ease into your new routine. Allow your body to acclimate to this new activity.
Enjoy the sights and sounds around you while running. Try not to focus on the distance or time remaining. Take notice of all that you are able to see and experience along the way.
- Warm up and cool down
Warming your body up before a run will improve performance and prevent injury.
Start your workouts with a simple warm up such as jumping jacks, a light jog, marching in place; whatever you feel most comfortable doing for five to ten minutes before a run.
Once you have finished your workout, take five to ten minutes to cool down at a slow pace.
A cool down will allow the body to readjust after your activity. All cool downs should also be followed by ten minutes of stretching. If you want to prevent injuries, stretch.
Your muscles will thank you.
Photo taken from newmarketsoccerclub.com.au
- Set a Goal
Whether your goal is weight loss, better overall health, finishing a race in a certain amount of time, or running a specific distance – it is important to select a goal.
When times are tough and you feel like giving up, your goal will remind you why you started.
It will also give you’re the extra push you need to try harder when you feel as though you have given your all.
- Perfect your Form
The form of a runner is critical in preventing injuries and improving performance.
Form is your body placement during a run.
New runners should get in the habit of running with optimal form early on.
To improve your form, take notice of your posture, head placement, torso movements, arm swings, foot strike and stride length during a run.
Is your back straight? Are your arms pumping to fast? Are you over striding your steps? Are you looking down instead of up?
- Create Accountability
Once your goal is set, share it with friends, family and social media.
The more people you tell about your goal, the more people that will hold you accountable for achieving it.
It feels great to share your progress along the way and feel the support of those around you.
Another great form of accountability is to recruit a running partner. Someone who will train with you and support you along the way.
Training partners are invaluable when just starting out.
- Rest and recover
The muscles need time to recover, especially when beginning a new routine.
Days off from exercise are very important in preventing an overuse injury.
If taking a full day off is very difficult for you, try cross training or yoga.
This way you are able to rest the muscles used during a run while still working out your body.
- Strengthen your whole body
Running should not be your only activity.
Exercise should be balanced throughout the body.
If you plan on running three days out of the week, take one to two days to strength train.
Balance lower body workouts with upper body.
Cross training is another great way to create strength throughout the body, rather than just in your legs.
Try implementing Pilates, biking and/or swimming to recruit strength from the whole body.
- Improve eating habits
Many new runners get confused about how much to eat, when to eat, and how often.
The amount you eat should depend on the way you feel.
Listen to your body. If you feel hungry, eat. If you feel full, don’t.
The real focus should be on implementing natural, whole food.
Begin including whole grains, vegetables, fruits and healthy fats into your diet, rather than just eating larger portions.
- Choose a training plan
Once you have chosen your goal, select a realistic training plan that you allow you to achieve it without getting side tracked.
Select the date or month that you would like your goal achieved by.
Mark down the amount of weeks you have to get there.
And choose the distances and speeds that you will complete each week until then.
Make sure your training plan is realistic and accommodating to your fitness level and available training time.
Photo taken from www.makingthymeforhealth.com
- Get the appropriate gear
Many people will lace up their old sneakers and throw on an old t-shirt for their first run.
While this is great when just getting started, if you plan to continue running it is best to pick up a supportive pair of running shoes and some comfortable running gear.
Comfortable shirts and shorts that do not stick to your body or cause chafing make all the difference. They also improve confidence.
When picking up a dri-fit running shirt, be sure to stop in the shoe section.
According to the September 2015 issue of Runners’ World magazine our feet absorb two to four times our body weight with each step we take.
The more supportive your shoes are, the more impact your shoes absorb, rather than your ankles, knees and hips.
Stop by a local running store and have your shoes fitted.
Author Sarah Condor once said, “Remember, the feeling you get from a good run is far better than the feeling you get from sitting around wishing you were running.”
So stop thinking about running, get out there and start doing it.
Start with a jog around your block, a jog to the park, or even a walk down the street.
Your first step is the most important.
(Above, myself with friends during a recent 5k race.)
I had a wonderful time!
Running alongside other people was really encouraging. I ran much faster than I expected. I was hoping to finish in 25 minutes, running eight minute miles. Surprisingly, I was able to finish in 22:31, running an average of 7:15 minute miles.
If you are interested in running, I strongly urge you to participate in a 5k race.
Races are A LOT of fun. They leave you with such a running high that you cannot wait to get out there and run some more.
If there is any topic that you feel was not covered in the, “Top 10 Tips for New Runners” article, please notify me and I would be happy to include the information.
Wishing you love, joy and blessings!
Get outside and RUN today.