So you’re ready to become a runner. Good news: you’re already a runner. There are no requirements or pre-requisites for new runners. Everyone can do it. In this article we’ve got 5 tips to help you get started with running in a smart, sustainable way so that you’re in it for the long haul!
Finding a beginner running training plan is going to be a huge help as you become a runner. For starters, it takes the planning and the guesswork out of your training. All you have to do is show up every day and do what your plan tells you to.
In addition, your workout plan was created for beginners, likely by someone who knows running and the body well. It is strategically designed for incremental, sustainable improvements. And beyond that, it is designed to help you avoid injury.
As for how to choose a training plan and/or a running coach, it depends on your goals. If you’ve signed up for a race, or if that is your goal, use that as a guide. If you are working towards a half marathon, try to find a half marathon training plan. For a 5K, find a 5K race training plan.
If weight loss is your goal, consider finding a plan that also includes a nutrition guide. You can choose your plan based on your specific goals.
Now that we’ve found our training plan, we need to stay accountable. An easy way to hold yourself accountable to your running schedule is to simply tell someone about it.
Tell a friend that you’ve taken up running, and even tell them which days your training plan has you running on. This way, they can periodically check in and ask how it’s going. Just having someone know about your training will make you more likely to show up and get after it.
If you don’t want to share your running goals with friends or family, try joining a running group. This can be in person or online, but it is a great way to connect with like-minded people who are also new to running.
You guys can encourage each other, commiserate when necessary, and share tips you’ve found helpful along the way. Facebook running clubs are a great way to do this online. If you prefer in-person connections, just look online to find a local running group. Every group will have beginners, so there’s no need to feel intimidated.
Doing too much too fast is a big problem among new runners. While it is exciting to get going with your new running schedule, be careful not to over-do it.
Your body needs to adjust to the new work it is being required to do. This means you want to introduce running to your body gradually. There is nothing worse than getting started with a new workout plan only to be sidelined by an overuse injury a few weeks later.
To help with this, stick to your plan. If your running schedule says you’re only going for a light jog that day, that is all you should do. When your plan has a strength workout scheduled, don’t skip it for an extra run. In fact, runners need to build strength just as much as they need to build speed and stamina.
At the beginning of your plan, embrace the walk-run. Walk breaks are extremely beneficial for new runners, so don’t be afraid to stop and take a break at first. The more bearable your runs are, the more likely you are to keep going with your training plan.
You will thank yourself in the long run as running becomes a true habit and ritual, not just something you tried for a few weeks.
Again, follow your training plan. Your workout plan will include a warm up, and it is there fore a reason. Warming up is a great way to get your heart rate up before you start running so that your body is not too surprised once you get going.
It is also a way to get blood flowing and get your muscles warm so that they don’t panic and pull while you’re running. Big muscle groups like the quads or the hamstrings especially require a warm-up before they get going on a run.
Also, many warm up drills teach you good running posture in a simple, isolated way. If you take your warm-up form seriously, good form will become habit more quickly. Good running form is the best way to prevent injuries.
On a similar note, your training plan will also include a cool down. Don’t skip this one either. After a run, your body needs to recover from and adapt to your new training schedule. Adding in a cool down sets your body up to recover properly.
After all, if you’re not recovering properly, you are not improving as steadily or as quickly as you could be. Your training plan is set up the way it is for a reason.
Don’t let the runner stereotype get in your way. You are already a runner. Trust that! There are even small things you can do ahead of time to really feel like a runner.
Head to the running store and pick up a new pair of shoes. Running shoes are not only an exciting purchase, but the right shoe will help prevent blisters and injuries as well.
If you’re good with running shoes, pick up a new running outfit. Anything that gets you excited to run and helps you feel more legitimate will motivate you to get started.
If you did find an online group, post a picture/selfie after one of your runs. The positive feedback will keep you motivated, and you’ll definitely feel more like a “runner.”
The bottom line: you can run, and a plan will help you do it. Making running a long-term habit is no easy feat, but it is certainly worth it. With the proper training plan and support, you will feel like the ultimate runner in no time. Welcome to running!