I have some friends that barely started running or think about starting. So I am typing this over and over again lately, I’ll just direct them to this post from now on :)
Only two small notes, i followed this beginner program and i would put more emphasis on stretching at the end of the run, it is VERY important. Otherwise, this guide is perfect!
Running can be a blast. It’s a great activity for getting into fitness; you can do it with a partner a group of friends or alone; you don’t need to pay club fees or spend time going to and from a gym; it’s a great calorie burner and a fantastic stress buster; it’s a great time to clear your mind or psych yourself up for the day; you can run to lose weight or to maintain fitness; you can run casually or get really competitive … and all of this is good.
However, running can be hard to get into. This is true if you’re unfit, but I also know many fit people who bike, do yoga, go to classes at the gym, horseback ride, or swim, who’ve had a hard time getting into running. I think that many of them made the same mistakes getting started - too hard or too fast - which ruined their running experience.
So here are my tips for absolute beginners to help you get started. I would also LOVE to hear YOUR tips too, please leave them and I’ll add them:
- When starting, don’t plan on running the whole time from day one. In fact most beginner running programs emphasize running AND walking, and gradually increase the time spent running over a period of weeks.
* Try this beginners program at Runners World
* Or try the C25K (Couch to 5K) training program
- If - during your run - you have pain or muscle soreness, then you are going too hard or fast. Slow down or walk to let your muscles recover.
- If you feel out of breath (and you probably will), slow down. When beginning running, you shouldn’t be aiming for any speed goals, so take it easy. If you are running with a friend, you should be able to have a conversation while running.
- When starting, don’t focus on distance, instead focus on going out for your run/walk for a set amount of time, say 20 or 30 minutes.
- Be patient. I know you probably want to be able to run 2 miles TODAY, but caution and patience will keep you on the road. Going too hard too fast is likely to lead to injury. So be patient or be a patient! I don’t know about you, but I’d rather spend time outdoors than dealing with shin splints (tips to avoid shin splints here).
- Before each session, start with a five-minute brisk walk or jog to warm up. If you want to stretch before running, dynamic stretches are good.
- Technique - aim for running s-m-o-o-t-h-ly, not bouncing up and down. Here’s an excellent video on running form:
The How 2 Run Fast blog has another good tip. Run Silently. Hey says, “If you have loud footsteps, make sure you aren’t overstriding, landing on your heel, and “slapping” the ground with your feet.”
- End your session with a 5 minute walk to cool down and stretch.
- After you’ve finished, try to avoid sitting back down immediately. Do stuff around the house to keep active and keep blood and oxygen pumping through those hard worked muscles.
- Track your progress. I love DailyMile, but there are lots of other great sites for recording your runs/workouts. I get great satisfaction from reading my progress.
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