Beginner’s Guide for Running
Want to get started with running? Do you have any specific running goals in mind? Is it to improve your fitness or weight loss? Running is a great way to boost your mental and physical health, burn calories and have many other benefits. One of the best things about running is how simple it is to get started. With a good pair of running shoes, you can step out and get going. Before lacing up your shoes, check out these useful tips for beginners.
1. Just Start
You can spend all your time thinking about running or you can get out there and start. At first, just get on with running and forget about the distance and pace, just set a time goal. A good beginner’s target is to go for 20 minutes, three days a week and then increase the time gradually by 5 mins every week and so
2. Choose the proper running gear
You don’t really need a lot of things to get started with running. But the most crucial thing you need is the right pair of shoes.
Running Shoes: Different people have different foot arches and pronation; hence you'll need to take that into consideration before choosing one.
Clothing: Whether you’re running on a cold or a hot day, choose comfortable running clothes that keep sweat away from your skin and keep you dry.
Sports Bra: This is very important that you choose a good sports bra because running is a high-impact sport and you need good support. Also, a good sports bra helps you restrict chafing and discomfort.
3. Follow the Run-Walk Method at first
This is a great method for beginners and is the easiest way to build endurance. You shouldn’t plan on running the entire distance in one go.
With that 20-minute target in mind, break it down into intervals of three minutes of running and one minute of walking, and continue to alternate until you achieve the time goal. And gradually increase your running intervals by one minute per workout until you can run the entire distance in one go.
4. Focus on Warm Up and Cool Down
For runners, a dynamic warmup is more beneficial because it increases oxygen and blood flow throughout the body and focuses more on muscle movement than stretching. You can try dynamic exercises like jumping jacks, high knees, butt kicks, alternate toe touches, hip circles and so on. After performing these exercises just ease yourself into running slowly and gradually increase your pace.
After completing your workout, take a few minutes to run/walk slowly to bring your heart rate back to normal. Then do some proper static stretching and if required foam roll your legs.
5. Train by minutes instead of km
Building endurance is about spending time rather than covering distance. Of course, you need to build a certain mileage based on your chosen event but psychologically training based on time will benefit you more. If you have planned to run for a certain duration at a certain intensity you are more likely to oblige to the specified intensity, whereas with a distance-based training you might run out of patience and end up covering the distance at a faster pace.
Building endurance is about spending time rather than covering distance. Of course, you need to build a certain mileage based on your chosen event but psychologically training based on time will benefit you more. If you have planned to run for a certain duration at a certain intensity you are more likely to oblige to the specified intensity, whereas with a distance-based training you might run out of patience and end up covering the distance at a faster pace. Training by minutes hence teaches you that patience that is necessary to build sustainable endurance.
Great, your first run went well and it’s time to prepare your body for the next run. But before that, your body needs to rest so it can recover from the first session. Always remember that your body needs time to adapt to new things. To perform at your best and reduce the risk of injuries, it is essential to take proper rest and recover
Follow a training plan that gradually increases the load and which includes enough rest periods throughout the week. A rest day doesn’t mean “no running”, you can replace it with any kind of light exercise if possible. Focus on stretching and building strength.
7. Mix up your intensities
Once you have built your running base, it’s time to include variety in your runs to perform better. A good training plan will include a few easy runs, interspersed with one tempo run, one-speed interval or hill session and one long run each week.
8. Cross Train
Crossing Training plays an important role in your overall fitness routine. It helps to recover the muscles while strengthening other parts of the body by preventing overuse injuries.
Cycling, swimming and dancing are all aerobic exercises that can help you prevent burnout. Initially, it’s not that important as you are building your running base. But once you have built that base and mileage, you should incorporate cross-training sessions.
9. Build some strength and stability
Strength training for runners is as important as warmups and cooldowns. Incorporating strength training in your workouts helps you improve efficiency and form and it also helps in preventing injury. For example, as you build endurance and try to run longer distances your body will need the strength to carry on the form throughout the run. That means you'll need to build a strong core along with your leg muscles. There are plenty of exercises you can do at home without any equipment to strengthen these muscles. Exercises like plank variations, single leg balance, squats and bridges are great for engaging these muscles.
10. Pre-During-Post Hydration and Nutrition
Hydration is the key to nailing your workouts whether you're a beginner or a professional. If you are performing cardio for the first time or after a long break your body takes time to adapt to water loss. So, you'll need to keep hydrating at regular intervals. As a rule of thumb, drink about 300-400ml of water before you start your run and keep sipping water every 15 mins or so during your runs (increase the frequency of sips for runs longer than 80mins) and then have about 300-400ml of water post your run. As pre-run nutrition, you can take in caffeine or carb-loaded electrolytes to spike your focus and energy levels. Since you've just started running your leg muscles will be sore after your runs, it is hence necessary to take in a good mix (4:1) of Carbs and proteins post your run.
11. Find yourself a running club or a partner
For beginners, having a running partner can be really beneficial for keeping the motivation high. Running club helps you find a few if you don't have any running buddies. You can also do group sessions with clubs which have several benefits including endurance/speed building and women's safety.