A couple weeks ago, I posted about shifting my focus after realizing an increase in fatigue and decrease in energy levels caused by the last year of increased mileage. In many ways, my shift in focus was really a way to get back to basics for me. So that got me thinking about some things that I wish I would’ve known when I was just starting out as a runner.
I know that a lot of the readers that I have received feedback from are beyond the beginner stage of running, but it’s also good to be reminded of the basics every once in a while.
Whether you are just starting out running or are getting back into it after a long layoff, here are a few tips that I think can help you get started on the right foot:
1//Start Slow: This can be important for so many reasons. First and foremost, it will help to avoid injury from trying to do too much, too soon. Also, by starting out slow, you will figure out the different things that might work for you – from what you wear to where you enjoy running. Taking your time also allows your body to adjust to running and recover properly.
2//Develop a Plan: Creating a plan for yourself of how many days a week or how many miles/minutes you want to run is a good way to be able to track your progress as you get more comfortable with everything. As time goes on, you can use your initial plan as a building block to add volume or intensity or even some strength and conditioning exercises if you want to.
Knowing how long, how far and how many days a week you intend to run helps you to plan accordingly. Lastly, I think that developing a routine allows you to set attainable goals, which are very important especially when just starting out as a runner.
3//Be Patient: There will almost certainly be some difficult runs if you are just starting out. It’s important to realize that the process could take time depending on what your goals are with running. If you follow tips 1 and 2 by starting slowly and having a plan in place, I think you will find yourself growing more comfortable with each run.
What makes running so great is that if you stick to it and keep working at it, improvements will come. Just keep in mind that they might not happen overnight!
4//Don’t Worry: I think that it’s very common for people to be concerned with how they will look while running. I’m talking mainly about your running form, but I’m here to tell you not to worry about any of that! If you feel like you want to improve your running form or just see if your form is good, there are websites and videos that you can find with a google search that will help you!
5//Sign up for a Race: This one is completely optional, but if you want to have something to work towards, pick a local race, mark it on your calendar and begin a plan to work towards it. This can be a great motivation to keep you committed to your new running plan. There is also a seemingly endless amount of virtual races of all distances that support a lot of great causes that you can do, if you prefer that.
If you’re looking for 5k training plan for beginners, one can be found at https://www.run2relief.com/plans. It’s completely free (you just have to create a log-in) and will help get you to the start of a 5k race!
6//Have Fun! This one is pretty self-explanatory, but the best way to make a sustainable change in your life is to have fun with it!
In the comments below, please share something that you know about running now that you wish you knew when you started. Also, if you know anyone who is just starting out running or thinking about giving it a try, share this list with them!