When you start running you want to have everything under control: you have bought some new shoes, you have selected the kit that you like the most, you have got a training plan to start running or a coach and you may even have done it with a heart rate monitor. It’s hard, it’s hard for you to start, but you’ve been aware to go out at least 3 times a week. Looks good! But starting running with continuity entails many other situations that you probably have not foreseen and that are beyond your control. You need to take note of the fundamental tips for beginning runners!
Start your first year running (constantly and conscientiously) and here you have our …
Key tips for novice runners
1.- Do not get injured
I always say it. The best thing to progress is to train, go out 3-4 times a week and vary the workouts. But that is only possible if you do not injure yourself. Falling into the injury hole is easy if you’re not careful. Strengthen the whole body from day one, rest, do not always train, do technical exercises and wear appropriate footwear. You will appreciate it!
If you want to learn to run without injuries and get all the results you propose, besides following this guide you may consider follow the advice of a personal trainer that will help you in the process.
2.- Set goals, but be realistic
One of the fashionable goals today is “I’m going to run a marathon”. A goal that many aim for from day one and think about fulfilling it the first year. Let’s admit it: that’s crazy. Yes, there are people who do it, but many other people end up hurting themselves along the way and do not realize it. The worst thing is that some of those injuries end up being chronic.
Setting goals is paramount to motivate yourself, but they have to be realistic. A good first goal can be, for example, running 30 minutes without stopping. The following can be to do so up to one hour. The next one can be doing it up to one hour. Then we can start thinking about going a little faster and doing a 5K in less than 25 minutes. And then yes, maybe, we could consider finishing a half marathon in our first 12-18 months running. Only after a good base of kilometers should we start to evaluate preparing a marathon. So, little by little.
3.- Avoid the treadmill
Many people start running because they are targeted to the gym and they have treadmills. The treadmill is good for rainy days or to warm up before strength training with weights. Outside of there, the treadmill should be discarded. It is a hard surface and, in spite of forcing us to keep a constant pace, it does not allow our stride to be as natural as it should be, which can lead to discomfort.
4.- Invest in good equipment
Starting to run is relatively cheap. You really only need running shoes, some you will discover very soon that if you want to run in a regular basis you also need the right equipment and use technical clothing. So, you better forget about running with your favorite Rolling Stones t-shirt…
If your budget is tight, the shoes should be the first piece to consider. If you are a woman, you should also invest in a quality sports bra. Next, we should pay attention to the socks, the most underrated garment in running. The rest of the attire is less important but, as we go up the training time, it will end up being necessary to have some quality to avoid chafing and to deal with the sweat that we accumulate.
5.- The first weeks cost but…
Many people will not tell you, but the first few weeks are hard. If you are used to a sedentary lifestyle, you will have aches, you will be tired almost all day and, in addition, you will have many doubts about whether this is for you. Surely you will have pain where you did not have before (go to the physiotherapist if it is strong), you will have more sleep than normal and also be hungrier. Makes you wonder if it’s worth all the effort.
The good thing is that it progresses quickly and you can easily see how each week increases the race time and even the speed and pace. In addition, you can experience what is called the “runner’s high”, that moment of clarity after training in which everything seems to make sense and you have a certain point of euphoria. It is not something that I have invented, it has its scientific explanation.
6.- Walking is not so bad
If you have not exercised in many years, you will have to walk first. And nothing happens if you do it, it’s normal. What you cannot pretend is to go running the first day and want to do it for 45 minutes continuously. That is not normal and we will be forcing the engine, possibly to end up injured. Running slowly is paramount. And if you cannot, because you really cannot, stand up and walk, do it quickly so that the change is not too abrupt and resume the run in a few minutes.
On the other hand, most plans to start running take into account these stops and are based on interspersing running segments with breaks.
7.- Find yourself a training partner
One of the advantages of going for a run is that you can do it whenever you want, without having to book a track or having to meet other people. But looking for a training partner is a good way to motivate and set joint goals.
Ideally, the two of you should have a similar level so that none of you get bored, but if one is slightly better than the other, it will serve so that the one below is up to it. When you have been running for a while, if you like the idea of group training, there are plenty of training groups. Find one that fits your level and ask if you can join them.
8.- Write down your workouts
When you have been running for a few months, you will not remember what you did a few weeks ago. Keeping a training diary is good for putting things in perspective and seeing how you have progressed from the first day. It motivates you to see how a few months ago you were not able to run even 10 minutes in a row, for example, and yesterday you did 45 with changes of pace.
You can do it in the most classic way, with pen and paper, but obviously you can also use many apps that are available to keep and monitor you running activities.
9.- Know your digestive system
About this topic is not usually talked about, but running makes you need to know how your digestive system works: what’s wrong with you, how long before training does your body tolerate that you eat, if you can go running without anything in your stomach, etc. Experiment until you know what works best for you. Anyway, take a packet of tissues with you always. Listen to me.
10.- Do not just run
Training should not consist exclusively of the part in which you run, but of a whole group of activities that lead you to have a stronger body and being prepared for the race. This is linked to point number one, that of not injuring oneself. You will have to do strengthening exercises on rest days or after some light stretching, stretch slightly before and after each outing and do it more intensely on days that do not run, work the race technique to learn how to run better, etc.
+1: Enjoy it
Enjoy every workout, every race, every time you stretch. Find the way to do it and you will have the necessary strength to follow, that at the beginning you do not always have. It is a long road, a process of slow improvement. Get the best out of it!