If you are reading this article, you’re most probably considering starting running.
We are going to help you!
But! Consult your physician first
You’re probably tired of hearing this but while running is really beneficial to most people, it can prove to be dangerous to others as it puts pressure to your joints and stresses your heart.
So if you are aware that you have some medical condition that could worsen because of running, pay a visit to the doctor and have a word with him.
It might be better to stick to long brisk walks at first, instead of take up running immediately.
The same goes if you have a lot of extra weight – take it easy and start slowly.
Your body would certainly appreciate it.
Besides that, there are certain tests that should be run every now and then (once or twice a year) and that are part of the advisory check up that should be regularly performed anyway – so that’s a great way to kill two birds with one stone.
The best tips to start running
Pick up the right running shoes
We just can’t emphasize enough on the importance of this one.
If you don’t run with comfortable shoes, there’s a good chance your posture would change which could lead to cramps, injuries and pain.
Not to mention the irritating blisters that are quite painful and can ruin it for you.
The best way to choose the right running shoes is to go to a store that specializes in selling running gear.
Staff there is usually well trained and prepared to answer all your questions and help you with making your choice.
Some of these stores even have treadmills so you’re encouraged to try how particular pairs of shoes feel when you’re running in them.
Don’t go for certain brands and models just because they are popular or look nice.
Don’t get fooled by appearances and advertisements and if possible, avoid ordering online unless you’ve already had this very model of running shoes and want to just replace them with new ones.
Running barefoot is another option you might want to consider – or, in case you are not sure that the surface is safe, you may try running in a pair of Vibram FiveFingers.
That’s yet another great thing about taking up something new – you can (and should) experiment until you get to know what feels best for you, your feet and your running style.
Choose a route for your runs and make time for them
Squeezing your trainings into your daily routine might be tough at first but it’s worth it.
Decide on how often you plan to run. People say it takes 20 to 30 days to form a habit.
However, don’t aim for that number – your muscles need rest, especially if you’re a real rookie at running.
If you feel fatigue and possibly even mild depression then you’re probably trying too hard too soon and your body tries to signal you about that.
Step back and get some nice rest – do some things you enjoy, take long walks for a couple of days and pamper yourself a bit.
Then put your running shoes back on and take it easier this time.
If you ask people who’ve already been there and done that, they’d probably tell you that the best thing (and we just can’t emphasize on that enough) is to listen to your body.
Even if you feel fine, don’t overdo it.
One general rule is to make sure you have at least 2 days of rest but try not to make them consecutive ones as this is said to minimize the effects of the last training session.
On the other hand, you can always experiment with the length of the runs so you don’t get bored.
Bear in mind, however, that frequency is more important at first – it’s better to run a mile 4 times a week, rather than go for 8 miles, once a week.
If you’re trying to lose some weight, mornings are said to be the best time for a run.
However, any part of the day is just fine for exercises as long as you are committed to it.
The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago.
The second best time is now.
It’s best to run on softer surfaces like grass, earth or special tracks covered with synthetic materials.
They tend to be gentler to your joints and sinews and are a way better choice than asphalt or concrete.
And, seriously – if you are a newbie, try to avoid running on snow.
There’s a good chance you can catch a cold that can keep you out of the track for quite some time, not to mention that running on snow is really tough and it’s definitely not a good idea for a newbie.
Besides that, there might also be some ice or objects underneath the snow itself. In winter treadmills are the safest bet but during the warmer months it’s best to run outside: it’s way more fun!
We need you to read that one carefully and to remember it for good.
Frequently, most people who quit or get injured in the first weeks are the ones who ran too fast, too far, too soon.
You’ve read it, right? Now read it again.
No matter how enthusiastic you may be, don’t overdo it. Start with light jogging for 2 minutes, followed by 1 minute of walking and gradually increase the number of minutes you jog until you reach 30.
This may take some time but don’t push yourself – it’s crucial that you feel comfortable.
Once you’ve reached 30 minutes of non-stop jogging and you get used to it, you can try to increase the speed so that you actually start running long distances.
Gradually you’ll find the right pace for your runs and you’ll be able to thoroughly enjoy them and the beneficial effects they are associated with.
I hope you will soon enjoy running just as much as we do!
Don’t bite off more than you can chew.
Start with a mile, and if that is too much, make it a half mile.
Your body will let you know, so listen to it.
It is important to be successful when you are just starting out, so push yourself, but not too hard.
Increase your distance gradually, and when you can run three miles without stopping, fairly comfortably, you can begin to play with your pace.
After the initial “starting out” period, set realistic goals for yourself. Goal setting involves making a personal investment, and when achieved can greatly enhance motivation.
However, you want to be careful not to move too fast.
Be patient with your mind and body!
Chart your progress.
Sometimes it helps to have a visual aid.
Cut out a picture of your “ideal runner” and tape it to your cupboard or refrigerator, with a chart for your distance and times.
Actually “seeing” progress is a great way to maintain motivation!
Try keeping a running log. It’s great when you can maintain it in good shape, and write down your 1000th mile over some time!
Tune in to your body.
Experiment with different times of the day, if possible, to find the time when your body performs most efficiently.
This can be very different for some people, and is one reason that many are not successful.
If you are trying to run in the wee hours of the morning, and your peak performance time is late afternoon, then you will feel tired, sluggish and far less motivated.
Exercise your body, relax your mind
Try interrupting your running week with a day for yoga, tai chi or meditation.
Not only will this help to break up the monotony and improve your focus, but a little less stress never hurt anyone!
Staying motivated to run is a long-term process, but just starting is the hardest part.
Everyone has their own unique formula to stay motivated, but with consistency and attention to the ideas above, the experience will be much more enjoyable.
How to Choose Running Shoes
There is a lot more to buying running shoes than simply trying them on in the store.
In order to get the trainers that will offer the best support and comfort during a run, you need to have a basic understanding of how biomechanics work.
In terms of running, biomechanics refers to the way in which your feet land on the ground as you move.
Without taking biomechanics into account, you could end up feeling sore, fatigued and frustrated during or immediately following your runs.
In turn, you may give up on running altogether.
A few of the basics of using biomechanics to choose the right running shoes are highlighted below.
Pronation refers to the rolling motion that your foot makes before it becomes flat with the ground.
As your foot lands on the ground, it generally lands on the outside portion of the heel.
The accompanying rolling motion or pronation can have a dramatic effect on how successful a run is.
The right trainers can correct pronation problems and make running a more fulfilling and effective experience for you.
With overpronation, your foot rolls too far when you are running.
A good way to check for this is by examining an old pair of running shoes.
Position one old shoe on a flat surface and look at it from behind its heel.
If it leans slightly inward, you suffer from pronation.
In order to mitigate the effects of pronation, you should buy running shoes that offer superior support. Motion-control running shoes are also useful in this situation.
Underpronation refers to feet that do not roll forward enough while running.
Using the same test as above, you may notice that the shoe leans lightly outward.
This strongly suggests that you suffer from underpronation.
There are running shoes available that address the issue of underpronation.
They are cushioned in order to make up for the incorrect way in which your feet roll when you are running.
You are sure to be amazed at the difference that cushioned running shoes make when it comes to your comfort and stamina during a run.
Keep Arches in Mind Too
After conducting the above steps, you should also get a feel for the types of arches that your feet have.
The easiest way to determine that is by leaving a wet footprint on a tile surface.
Flat feet or feet that don’t have high arches will leave prints that have very thick “bands” between the forefoot and the heel.
Flat feet generally cause overpronation.
In the case of a regular arch, in which a band that is about half the width of the foot runs between the heel and the forefoot, no serious pronation problems are likely to exist. Neutral running shoes work well in these situations.
If no band exists between the heel and the forefoot, or if it is exceedingly narrow, you have high arches. High arches can cause underpronation.
By keeping the preceding points in mind, you should be able to find trainers that enhance your running experience by giving you the correct type of support and making you less likely to suffer from minor injuries.
How to start running when you are overweight
You are overweight or obese, SO WHAT!
I get sick and tired of hearing people tell me they wish they could run but they are too big.
My other favorite excuse is “AFTER I lose some weight I am going to join a gym.”
Why wait? Years ago you learned to walk. After some time crawling, you pulled yourself up and took a first step. Well, it is that time again.
Go See Your Physician
If you have never been physically active you should get a physical to make sure you have no health risks that would prevent you from running.
If you have been active and have just never thought you could run, you should be ok, but please make sure your family does not sue me if something happens to you.
Positive Mental Attitude
Also known as PMA is going to be the key to success above all else.
There are going to be days you don’t want to exercise, but you need to get up and do it.
Some days will make you tired and some days you will feel slow.
We have all been through this, it gets better. It is not easy, but the accomplishment is worth it.
Start walking- inside, outside, in water, on a treadmill. It makes no difference, just get your body used to labor.
Work up to continuous forward motion for 30 minutes. If you can go for an hour go for it. Try to move faster.
Get Geared Up
One important thing to that can make or break you experience is proper clothing.
As you begin walking wearing just about anything will do; however, once we start running you will discover a new level of sweating.
In order to remain comfortable you want to begin thinking about synthetic material.
These will pull sweat away from your body; it’s called wicking.
They are also light and this will help in the long run AND make you feel good.
Different people may have different needs; it will be up to you to determine what combination of wicking socks, shorts, underwear, and shirts you want to wear.
At a minimum I suggest a non-cotton shirt to begin with. For larger people I also suggest a compression shirt.
When I first started running it made me feel self conscious as I felt my chest and stomach bounce. A compression shirt will stop this.
Along the same lines, women need a properly fitted sports bra. Go to a sports store if you need help with this.
Also consider researching the topic of layering so you can get the proper combination of clothing for your climate.
Time for Your First Steps
Start of your running program by running for 1 minute and walking for 2 minutes.
This walk is called an active rest. Repeat for 30 minutes. Once you are comfortable increase to 2 minutes of running and a 2 minute rest, now 2 minutes running with 1 minute rest. Work up to 15 minutes running, 1 minute rest and repeat. It will be slow at first, more like a jog.
Speed will come in time.
Try this twice a week and once comfortable increase to 3.
Soon you will run without the breaks.
I suggest you start outside just because, if you ever want to move to running outside it makes for an easier transition.
Many people who run, even some marathoners started out with similar programs.
Some even started with whatever footwear they had.
Once you start logging miles, shoes not designed for this punishment will deteriorate.
Take my advice and get a quality pair of running shoes.
Take a Break
Rest is very important for growth. Do not pile workout over workout, your body needs time to heal. In fact you need to get rest in order to become better.
You may decide to rest by cross training. This may include cycling, swimming, rowing, weight training, or the elliptical machine.
Cross training is a good way to improve, but log at least 1 zero day a week where you simply rest.
As you start out you will need 2 or possibly 3 zero days. Injuries will cause setbacks.
I claim to be no nutritionist, but I can tell you that I know many people run to lose weight.
If you are doing this there is a chance you are also dieting.
Remember to make sure you are getting balanced meals because your body will need the vitamins.
If you are on a reduced calorie diet, realize that as your calorie expenditure increase you will reach an apex and weight loss will stop. It seems counter intuitive but you may need to increase your calories to support your exercise and continue to lose weight.
I personally have made this mistake.
Once you are consistently running you may need to take steps to keep it interesting.
You will not be successful if it becomes boring and more work than fun. There are many things you can do to make this more interesting.
For instance, if you have not been running with music- try it, change your course from day to day and explore, try running trails, join a running club, set distance or speed goals and research training plans, take trips to local attractions just to run (like parks and nature preserves), or sign up for a race.
Also, consider keeping a training log.
Do more than log your times and mile, but remember to write down how you feel.
You will be able to look back and enjoy your improvements
Top 10 Running Tips For Absolute Beginners
“It’s never too late until you believe it is!” This saying certainly applies to running.
Regardless of your age or fitness level, the road is always paved for you to start your amazing running adventure.
This comprehensive article is packed with essential tips every aspiring runner needs to know.
Tip 1: Visit a Physician
Better safe than sorry! It’s always recommended for new runners to check out with a physician especially under the following conditions: breathing problems, overweight, heart problems, chronic fatigue, above forty, and if you have no running background whatsoever.
Tip 2: Start with a walk/run program
“Too much too soon” is a big NO unless you want to quite within weeks because of fatigue, injury or both! “Slowly but surely” is how all successful runners began their running journey.
You must incorporate walking into your running routine especially if you’re an absolute beginner. In doing so, you’ll reap all the healthy rewards of walking while slowly and steadily building up your pace and, in the mean time, reducing the risk of injuries.
Tip 3: Check your heart rate regularly
Most beginning runners are so keen to monitoring their weight but they often forget to check their pulse.
As you probably know, Running is mainly a cardiovascular activity. It actually trains your heart to pump more blood to your body with every heartbeat.
As a result, you would eventually need less beats to work for you.
It’s highly recommended to check your pulse regularly and monitor your improvement.
The ideal checking moment is just after waking up. Here’s how you do it: Count your heartbeats for ten seconds.
Then, multiply the number by six to calculate your total pulse per minute.
If you’re running regularly and within your fitness level, you should notice steady improvement in your heart rate.
Of course, it wouldn’t happen in a day or two but you should see measurable results within weeks or months in some cases.
It’s very important to remember that if your heart rate increased by five to eight beats per minute one day than the day before, chances are high that you’re overdoing it.
In this case, it’s advisable to take a rest and check the pulse again the next day.
Once it’s back to the old level, you could start running again.
Tip 4: Keep a running log
Most experienced runners assert that keeping a running log is by far the best way to keep track of their progress.
The good news is: You don’t even have to buy a running log. Simply make up your own on a paper or computer spreadsheet.
Your running log should include basic information about your runs including: time, distance, type of workout, weight and pulse.
It goes without saying that you will become extremely motivated to feel that all your effort is paying off, as you see your mileage increase while your pulse and weight decrease thanks to running.
Tip 5: Listen to your body
It’s never too late until you believe it is!
You could become your own coach once you learn to listen to your body.
Muscle pains and tiredness are perfectly normal running pains.
However, beware if during or after the run, you start to feel dizzy or experience pain in the chest area, the legs, or the back.
In this case, you must stop running immediately and start walking or completely resting.
Later on, you’d need to decrease your training load or even stop when necessary until the pain is ceased.
If still in pain after all, you must check with your physician.
With experience, you’ll understand you body signals and learn when to keep going and when to stop.
Tip 6: Lower Your Intensity
Don’t fall into the trap of starting at a too high intensity.
Paradoxically, the slower you go when you begin, the faster you will become in the end! “Base building” is by far the most essential part of your running.
This will result in easy running in the future.
Low intensity running for beginners is an excellent aid in avoiding overtraining.
If, at the end of your workout, you would tell yourself: ’I could’ve gone a bit longer’, it’s a clear indication that you’ve been running at the right pace.
Tip 7: Maintain regular workouts and healthy diet
To ensure maintaining steady progress, it’s far much better to run three to four times a week for thirty minutes than two run once a week for two hours.
It’s very important to ensure that you follow an effective running schedule that takes into consideration slow yet regular build-up.
It’s important to maintain a healthy diet if you strive to make the most out of your running.
Poor eating habits could easily sabotage your effort and hinder your desired progress.
Tip 8: Warm up then cool down and incorporate Cross-training
Warming up is an excellent way to send your body a clear message that you’re about to become physically active.
This way, your heart and legs could adjust properly.
This’s how the ideal running warm up works: Start in a brisk walk followed by easy running for couple of minutes or so.
When you finish your running, take a few of minutes to cool down by running very slowly and walking in the last minutes of your workout. Finish with a stretch.
Maintaining warm-ups and cool downs greatly helps in reducing muscle pains which, in turn, improves your overall recovery process.
Cross training refers to other wonderful exercises that you could easily add to your running routine. They include swimming, biking, hiking, Pilates…etc.
The beauty of cross training is that it helps increasing your fitness level while giving your running-muscles a break.
Tip 9: Live, Eat and Breath running!
If you aspire to become a good runner, surround your life with everything related to running. Become an obsessed running fanatic! Subscribe to a running magazine and occasionally pay a visit to a running store to find out about the latest running trends.
Find a local race and set a goal to compete in it. This will motivate you to keep up with your training plan.
Tip 10: Set goals and celebrate your successes
I couldn’t think of a better ways to keep motivated than setting attainable goals for yourself. Try to set S.M.A.R.T. goals which are:
Examples of S.M.A.R.T. goals include:
- Running at least three times per week thirty minutes each
- Losing ten pounds in three months.
- Finishing a local 5K race which will be held twelve weeks from now
- And so on…
Give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done. Celebrate your successes and get ready for the next challenge. What are you waiting for?! The time is now. The place is here. Just do it!.