Today is National Running Day!!!
In honor of this important event, I thought I would outline my top five tips for those who are just beginning – or thinking about beginning – a running routine. If you read my exercise story, you know that I only began running consistently about nine months ago, so in many ways I’m still a beginner myself! But I’ve come a long way in those nine months, and I think a big part of the reason why is that I followed these strategies.
1. Start with a run-walk combination.
I definitely didn’t just wake up one morning, decide to start running, and hit the pavement for 30 minutes straight. No, I eased my way into it by alternating between jogging and walking. At first I started with 4 minutes of walking to 1 minute of jogging, and then just increased the jogging from there when my body felt ready. Using a run/walk method helped me to feel strong during my workouts; if I had gone straight to running only, I would have felt weak and tired…and probably would have hated it.
2. Forget comparisons.
Have you ever read about a blogger’s latest run or race and found yourself thinking, “Wow, I could never be a runner like that!” I certainly have! But we have to remember two things. First, everyone starts somewhere. Regardless of how fast or fit a runner is, she was a beginner once too. Second, running is always relative. You’re amazed that someone could complete a 5K, but that person is in awe of someone who finished a half-marathon. And that person is blown away by the woman who’s training for her third marathon. We are all looking up to another runner who is faster or has more endurance, but comparing ourselves to others is pointless. Focus on you, on your successes.
3. Wear the right shoes.
Ok, so I didn’t actually follow this piece of advice, but I wish I had! Wearing the proper footwear makes such a difference; it will decrease your risk of injury and make running feel more comfortable. It is definitely worth it to go to a specialty store and get fitted for sneakers that are appropriate for your feet and gait.
4. Sign up for a race.
The idea of participating in a race might seem intimidating, but the truth is that races are FUN. They provide motivation by giving you a specific goal to reach, and the adrenaline that comes from the experience is addicting. I absolutely love the atmosphere at races; the runners encouraging each other, the spectators cheering, the fun swag, the refreshments at the end – it’s great!
Active.com is a great resource for finding races in your area. And the Couch-to-5K running plan is a wonderful training guide that will have you successfully completing a 3.1 mile race in just two months.
5. Minutes, Not Miles
In one of my first blog posts, I explained why I was focusing on the number of minutes I was running instead of on the number of miles. Focusing on mileage or pace can be really intimidating at first. I think going by minutes makes the experience feel more manageable. You can say to yourself, “Today I will run for 20 minutes,” without a worry or a care about how far or how fast you’re going.
If you’re new to running or are considering starting up, I hope you find these tips helpful!
If you’re a runner, do you have any other tips to share? How did you get your start?
If you’re not a runner, are you/have you considered giving it a try? Why or why not?