Becoming A Runner – How To Get Started
You lace up those tennis shoes with nothing but good intentions in mind getting ready to complete your scheduled cardio workout of a five-mile run for the day only to find you can barely make it a half a mile without stopping. Well you’re not alone, many people have the impression that running is too hard and that they are not “fit enough” to complete a run without stopping.
Yet those hardcore runners you see completing 8 minute pace miles did not do so their first time either, very few people in fact can actually just head out for a five-mile jog without prior conditioning. So don’t give up if your hopes are to become an avid runner, you can do so with the proper training. Here are a few important tips shared from Spark People’s article Don’t Be a Runnin’ Fool – A Beginner’s Guide to Running:
First Things First – make sure you have a quality pair of running shoes. As we explained in a previous post Finding Shoes Fit For Your Workout, a good pair of running shoes specially designed for running reduce the amount of shock you experience as your foot strikes the ground or treadbelt.
Getting Started – don’t think you can just strap up those shoelaces and run 5-miles with no previous training, you will be quickly disappointed. The sooner you realize it’s going to take time to build up your endurance, the sooner you will be willing to stick to a regular training program and will soon begin to see positive results.
Start Small – before you start running you should be able to walk for at least 20-30 minutes comfortably without feeling too fatigued. If this seems like too much to start, try building up to this level and slowly incorporate running into your routine as you build your endurance. Once you can easily walk for 20-30 minutes, start incorporating some short running sessions followed by some walking recovery time. It’s a great starting point and a great way to add some interval exercises to the mix. You may want to challenge yourself to run for so many minutes, go by distance, or simply by how you are feeling alone; it is all up to you.
Slowly Increase Your Run Time – once you have begun to add some running into your routine you’ll want to slowly increase the time you run and decrease the amount of time you walk. Don’t allow yourself to get too used to your workout, when it begins to no longer feels like work add another thirty seconds or a minute. Make sure you are constantly challenging yourself when it comes to your runs to improve your fitness and endurance levels.
Maintain Proper Form – learning how to maintain proper running form not only helps you to avoid injuries, but also helps you to conserve energy that can be used towards the run itself. According to the previously mentioned Spark People’s article “your posture should be upright – shoulders back, abs pulled in, and no slouching or leaning forward.” You also want to be sure you are not looking down at your feet and are instead looking out ahead of you. Your arms should also be involved in helping you in your momentum by pumping them forward and backward as you run. Check out Four Simple Steps to Good Running Form or this article from Treadmill Review Guru on How to Run Correctly to help get your form perfected.
Have Fun With It – Many beginners complain of the inability to catch their breath when running causing them to stop more frequently during their runs then they would like. If you begin to experience this problem, just slow down and relax. You are not in a race, you are only competing with yourself. The biggest mistake beginner runners make is trying to run too fast too quick and running beyond their fitness level. Spark People advises that you should be able to answer a question, but not be able to comfortably hold a conversation back and forth, this is when you know your pace is about right. Your run should not leave you constantly gasping for air with your heart pounding out of your chest. While you may think this means you are getting a good workout, you are pushing your body too far too quickly and this will soon lead to burnout. “Concentrate on breathing from deep down in your belly as opposed to taking short, shallow breaths. It’s okay to take a break if you need one – just start again as soon as you’re ready.” Don’t get frustrated if you can’t yet run that 5-miler without stopping just yet, it will come, just be proud of yourself for getting out there and giving it a shot!
Try Runner’s World 8-Week Beginner’s Running Program to help get you started and you’ll soon be on your way to becoming a runner!
Running groups are great for beginners as they offer motivation and more advanced runners who can always give you tips and advice! Check out Running Meetup Groups to see if there’s one near you! If you don’t think you are quite ready to face other runners, there are plenty of Running Forums where you can go with any running questions or concerns you have!