“Find the Love in Running.”
Have you ever wanted to start something new? That familiar feeling of excitement and eagerness to just get started, until it comes to actually doing so and you realize that you are unsure of where to begin? Well you’re definitely not alone because anything that is everything to do on this earth comes with a learning curve. While the act of running is something most of us learn at youth, the art of running is something that is not. What do I wear? How often should I go? How do I set a reasonable goal? Learning trial by error can be a good way to figure things out, but why do that when I am here to supply you with 4 crucial tips for beginner runners that are sure to get you moving in the right direction!
Like with anything, it is very important to set short and long term realistic goals for yourself. You want that 100 miler? Well you’re going to have to build up. And to help with that it is going to require goal setting. For example at first make the run a small half hour run and set a distance or time goal for the day. Apps like Strava are great tools to aid in tracking pace, distance, routes, and times and whatever level you may be on this information is useful to set new goals and monitor progress for future runs. (I will include a link to Strava at the end of this post) Another good way to create motivation is to sign up for a race at the beginning of your running journey. Whether it is a half marathon or a 5k, having a race or an event two months out from your start date is a great way to get started.
Use the Right Footwear
Using the right shoe makes a massive difference. As a cross country and track coach I can say one of the single largest cause of injury is people running in old shoes. The best thing you can do is go into a specialty running store and be fitted for a running shoe. Running shoes have an EVA compound which is the cushioning inside the shoe, over time that EVA wears down allowing your bones and joints to take the shock of your steps rather than the shoe. People find it hard to believe but it is not surprising for a veteran runner to rotate through a pair of shoes every two months. The big fallacy is that when the shoe finally looks worn down, then it is, when in reality the EVA can lose its spring long before the shoe has shown any sign of wear and tear. Aches and pains can be common when starting something new in any type of fitness, but it is important to be wary of what is normal and what isn’t.
Stay consistent. One of the most important things you can do at the beginning of your running journey is to stick with it. I have found that the type of training routine that entry level runners follow has a direct impact on the level of enjoyment which translates to consistency. Going hand in hand with goal setting it is important to be realistic about your routine, you need to not overload yourself to the point of discouragement, the flip side to that is not doing enough; try thirty minutes a day or thirty minutes every other day utilizing your daily or weekly goals and Strava to build a database of numbers as well as create that competitiveness within yourself during your training regiments. A good routine to create consistency that I have found is what I like to call the “hard, easy” routine. This routine involves walking thirty minutes one day and running thirty the next. This builds stamina and endurance and over time your easy days will involve running and your hard days will involve running further, or for a longer period of time. After all, with monitoring your results you know what must be done to improve.
Give it Time
Remember to give it time, the ultimate goals is to learn to love running. At first you will have the aches and pains and that of course is natural. Preventing injury is one of the most important things to create longevity in running as well as finding a passion in fitness. By finding joy in satisfying goals and achieving new times and distances you will learn to love to run. Choosing what style is right for you is also crucial, for myself I prefer trails and running in groups which creates joy for me during my runs. You have to remember that goals are meant to be worked towards, and that process is enjoyable.
While there are many things that can be suggested when beginning your running journey, these tips are what I’ve found to create the most enjoyable and productive running experience. By goal setting, using the right footwear, staying consistent, and being patient with yourself while trusting the process, you will remove the anxiety of being an entry level runner and be well on your way to your first completed race!
What tips would you have to give to entry level runners? Leave it in the comments and we can discuss your thoughts!