A Beginner’s Guide to Running
Every master was once a beginner. Every pro was once an amateur.
You’ve seen your friends and colleagues sign up for various runs all year around and finally you’ve decided to cave and give it a shot. Congratulations! You’ve made a life-changing decision that will transform your health forever.
Those who have a successful run the first time tend to do it again and those who managed to go all the way in the first go, aren’t as scared to give it another go.
See running is different for everyone. For the athletic-types, each run is a chance to beat their best time and for others it’s the time to clear your head, soak up some sun and simply get your heart racing. There are few things that clear your mind the way running does.
There’s something about seeing the surroundings change around you with every step and pacing towards the finish-line that provides your mind with clarity and enhances your thought-process.
Yes you can!
Despite what your brain tells you about your ability to run, you should know that you CAN do it – everyone can. Running is one of those activities that we’ve never been taught. We’ve been doing it as toddlers; if you were able to do it then, you can still do it now.
All you need is some willpower and some changes to your lifestyle to ensure that your body can handle it.
1. Give yourself time to get in shape
For you to come out of a run with minimum body-ache you need to prepare yourself well in advance. Even regular runners go through a couple of weeks of preparation before a run. If you’re someone who’s spent most of their time seated at a desk or on a couch then give yourself 6-8 weeks to prepare.
Build stamina & endurance
You absolutely have to allocate time for a good workout at least 5-6 times a week. Aerobic workouts will help you build stamina and endurance that is needed for you to keep going steady during a run.
Cardio workouts will improve your lung capacity and heart-rate so you won’t be left gasping for air. Strength-training will build your major muscles.
Strengthen your muscles
Know that the first few days of training are the hardest. Your muscles have pretty much been dormant this whole time, you need to recharge them and make them stronger. The first days of workouts will leave you feeling sore – remember this is the reason you’re working out now.
Going on a run without the necessary training will leave your entire body sore and you panting at the finish like (if you make it there).
2. Strengthen your core
Yes you need your legs to be strong in order to keep them moving on the track but your core is what carries your upper body. During your preparation you need to be focused on strengthening your core. Our torso is the center of our body; unfortunately due to the demands of our lives, we tend to neglect it.
We’re left with a sagging belly, a weak lower half, hunched shoulders and bad posture – all of which are awful for running. A weak core also makes us susceptible to injuries. Core work will enable you to keep up your pace by preventing you from getting tired easily and helps you maintain efficient running form.
Core workouts can be demanding for those who’ve been inactive. Instead of avoiding them altogether, begin by exercising your core gently and then go to more intense exercises.
3. Morning jogs
Once you’ve spent a couple of weeks tightening your muscle, you should be able to go for jogs. Make it a point to jog every day for 30-45 minutes. Morning jogs are a perfect way to kick start your day.
4. Eat right
There are all sorts of products out there that will claim to make you a better runner. Recreational runners will do just fine with a decent diet plan. Switch your greasy, heavy proteins and carbs for more digestible carbs. Get into the habit of eating healthier meals.
Have more meals, of small portions that consist of vegetables that will fulfill your nutritional requirements without causing bloating and acidity.
5. Get the right gear
You’ll be surprised how much a difference the right gear makes when you’re running. Invest in proper running shoes.
The right shoes will provide your feet with the support you need as you run. They will also cushion your feet to reduce the pressure on them as you hit the ground.
6. Run on the treadmill
As your body gets stronger you can now begin sprinting on the treadmill. Set yourself a goal to beat every couple of days. When you set yourself goals, you’re that much more determined to become better.
7. Make running social
To prevent yourself from getting intimidated in your first run, bring some buddies along for motivation. Not only will they be your cheerleaders but they will also serve as a distraction.
Running is something everyone can do, all you need is physical strength and the willpower. As a beginner you just need to gather yourself mentally and begin strengthening your body. You’ll notice the improvement in your physical health with each run and once you do a few, you’ll want to do it for life.
So what was it that made you start running? How did your first run go? How did you prepare for it? Has your running experience changed with time?