A Few Beginner Running Tips
First of all, let me be one of the first to welcome you to the running community! Your choice to take this huge step (no pun intended) will yield many benefits in your life. If you’ll stick with it and give running a chance, you’re going to eventually find yourself being ‘bit by the running bug’ as it’s been called. The rewards you’ll reap are not just physical (more energy, weight loss, etc.) but also mental, emotional and social. Every runner, no matter their level, was a beginner at some point. For me, I picked running back up in the spring of 2008 and I can honestly say I have seen my passion for this sport increase each year.
Here are 5 beginner running tips to help get you started…
- Set Aside 30 minutes a Day for Running – We runners have to be intentional about including the run in our busy day. If not, we can easily fill the day with other “more important” activities. Imagine if you were scheduled to run with your boss? How likely would you be to cancel that running appointment? Get into the habit of treating every run like that. Speaking of habits, you’ve probably heard that it takes 21 days to form a habit. In reality, to truly make running a healthy habit, some studies reveal that it could take double that amount of time. Becoming a better runner takes time and consistency.
- Walk if You Have to – We have some friends in our local running community who like to mix in walking with running. Studies have shown this can be a positive mental lift for those getting started. If you find yourself struggling to maintain a running stride, try running for 3 minutes and then walk for 1 minute to catch your breath. As your fitness improves, you can increase your running to 4 minutes and then walk for 1 minute, increase to 5 minutes then walk 1, etc. Eventually, you’ll be able to run for 30 minutes without taking any walk breaks.
- Find What Works for You – Many runners run all seven days of the week. Others may run twice. Perhaps you might be able to aim for every other day. My brother-in-law has been running three days a week – two weekdays and one longer run over the weekend. Since he began, he’s continued to see huge improvement in his 5k time and he just completed his first half-marathon! Ultimately, find a schedule that allows you to be consistent week in and week out. Aiming for two runs should be the minimum amount you settle for.
- Join a Local Running Club – My wife Shelley & I have met so many new friends through local running clubs we’ve been part of. Not only does our membership give us certain benefits like discounts for races or local businesses, but we also have access to weekly group runs and running communities that give us encouragement & motivation. Visit www.RRCA.com (Road Runners Club of America) for a listing of running clubs in your area.
- Sign Up For A Race – Nothing motivates me to train consistently like coughing up the cash and signing up for a race. When you put your money where your mouth is, you’re now committed. As a beginner, try finding a local 5k (3.1 miles) that’s 9 to 10 weeks away in order to gain some fitness beforehand. You won’t be setting any records in this race but it’s important to set a goal. What is that goal? You have to decide. It may be just finishing. It might be to run the whole distance without walking. Whatever your goal, make it something that requires a moderate level of effort to achieve but isn’t unrealistic at the same time. As a beginning runner, you’re trying to build confidence in the early stages. Soon enough, you’ll be setting loftier goals that require greater intensity in effort to attain.
We have a local car dealership that has the following motto in many of their advertisements: “Our goal is to make you a customer for life!” As you begin the wonderful, simple sport of running, my hope would be for you to become a Runner For Life.
Let’s enjoy this journey together…one stride at a time!