Five Running Tips for Beginners

My First 5K

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One of the reasons I enjoy running is that it is an enjoyable, low-maintenance sport.  However, you need to start carefully or it is pretty easy to get off to a bad start.  Injury and being too exhausted top the list of reasons many quit.  But it doesn’t have to be that way.  Yes running is work, but if you follow a couple of key tips, you can get off to a good start.  To get the most out of running, it is important that every beginning runner knows everything about the sport and is prepared enough for it. Following are some running tips for beginners that help you get off on the right foot.

Running Tips for Beginners:

1. Consult with your physician. Remember that running is an intense physical activity and requires a great deal of your strength. Therefore, it is wise to ask your doctor if your body is up for the challenge. Your physician will consider your age, weight, fitness level, and special conditions (breathing or heart problems) to derive a sound decision. Having accurate information on your body will also help you in choosing a running program.

2. Set attainable goals. Do you want to lose weight? Or lower your cholesterol level? Or join a marathon perhaps? Whatever your goals are, make sure to see them through. To keep you motivated, it is helpful to have a time frame.  If the goal, however, is not met at the appointed time, it’s okay. Don’t fret, but continue to try working on it. The key here is to avoid stressing yourself over a goal your body is not ready for.

Start slow, but keep your goal in sight.  When I first started running my goal was to be able to run three miles.  Once I gained confidence I decided to enter a race.  I spent three months working towards that goal.  Halfway through I committed myself to running a marathon in two years.  Success built upon success.  I eventually ran that marathon, a year ahead of my planned schedule.  I blame the movie, the Spirit of the Marathon for all my running insanity!

3. Have a running program. Three things you need to consider in selecting a running program:

  • age
  • fitness level
  • goals

These three will determine the distance you can handle. You have to realize, however, that as a beginning runner, you are not expected to run a mile. In fact, you won’t do much running at first. Especially if you are untrained, running a distance may make you an easy target for injuries.  A Run, walk program, which includes alternate walking and running for a particular time, is ideal for starters. As you progress week by week, you can increase the time for running and decrease the time for walking.

In the beginning I used the Runner’s World Smart Coach tool to create a training plan.  I did this for my first 5K as well as the several races I ran.  The plan helped me work towards distance goals, as well as establish a schedule of when I ran.  For me it was important to set aside certain days of the week as my running weeks.

4. Make a running log. Detailing all the basic information on your run, a running log will serve as a record of your progress. You can write the type of workout for the day, time, and distance. For instance, Day 1, you did a tempo run for 20 minutes, 3 kilometers. Day 2, you had long run for 45 minutes, 8 kilometers. If you want your log to be more detailed, you can also record your weight and pulse rate.

I like looking back at my log to see how I’m progressing.  Lately I’ve noticed my pace isn’t improving, and I’ll need to adjust my training intensity to continue to improve.  I also like to log significant weather, such as whether it was hot or humid.  this really helps me understand how weather condition affect my pace.

5. Check your pace. This is perhaps the most important among the running tips for beginners. This is because many beginning runners injure themselves by breaking into fast running too soon. As a beginning runner, your goal is not speed, but increasing your running time. Maintain your running at a pace that enables you to keep a conversation; anything more than that is not advisable. When you go for slow, easy running, you are actually building your stamina, which will eventually enable you to run faster and longer distances.

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