Running for Beginners
So, you’ve made the decision to incorporate running as part of your overall fitness plan, but like so many, you may be unsure where to start. The best part about running as a sport is that by following the right training program and a small investment in the right shoes, anyone can be a runner. The following are tips that will help beginners embark on their new fitness journey.
You don’t need a lot of gear to begin running as a sport, but investing in shoes should be considered. Luckily running shoes come in all price ranges and you can always upgrade if you begin to run more or for longer distances. The best way to choose shoes is by trying them on, in person. Ordering online might save a little money, but you cannot be sure they will fit well or if you like the cushioning and heel height.
As for the rest of the gear, you can simply wear what you are comfortable in, to begin with. If you want a little extra comfort, try moisture-wicking socks that protect your feet from getting too damp, or socks with extra cushioning for greater comfort. Running clothes can also be found with moisture-wicking material to help you stay cool, while some people go for compression fabric for added stability or comfort. Some women might find that a high-quality sports bra is necessary.
While many people might not think of nutrition as part of a beginning running program, your diet can determine the success of your new plan. For beginners, an overall sensible nutrition plan while abstaining from junk foods or highly processed foods, will provide the most energy. The healthier your diet, the more endurance you will enjoy. The following is a basic food guideline:
· Strive to incorporate whole fruits and vegetables into every meal
· Eat a small portion of healthy protein at every meal
· Enjoy a light breakfast, hearty lunch and low GI dinner for the most energy
· If you feel fatigued, try incorporating a protein drink during the day
· Snack of fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, yogurt and seeds if you get hungry
· Drink plenty of fresh water throughout the day
· Try to not eat two hours before your run to avoid side aches and fatigue
How to Start Running
Running for beginners can be easy if you choose. Set up a plan before you begin that focuses on time instead of distance. Go easy on yourself by taking shorter steps, do not go fast, and plan on walking breaks, as there is no need to overexert yourself. Running is a whole-body sport that will condition you from head to toe, so expect to begin slow and allow your body time to adapt. The following steps can help.
1. Choose how many days and what times you will run. Try for at least three days a week and no more than five.
2. Use a wall calendar or other visual means to write out your running schedule. This can serve as a reminder throughout the day so you can move other activities, if needed, and refrain from eating shortly before you run.
3. Be consistent. Try to exercise at the same time every day to quickly establish a habit. Use music for motivation or listen to an audio book, no matter which you choose, do it every training session so you begin to look forward to your time. Reward yourself with a nice hot shower, massage or healthy and delicious snack to teach your brain that exercise is a rewarding experience.
4. Begin with short 15-20-minute runs, and take walking breaks during this time when needed. You will soon be able to run the entire time, so do not push yourself too hard.
5. If you need more structure, schedule walk/run times and follow them. For example, if you plan to do a 20-minute session, begin with 2 minutes of walking alternating with 1 minute of walking. Slowly decrease walking time while increasing running time until you can run at a slow or moderate pace during the entire session.
6. Stretch after your run (or walk) to help loosen your muscles. This will help you avoid injury and stiffness, and will soon feel great after just a couple of sessions.
Tips for Beginners
Cross train for overall body strength, increased muscle mass and to avoid injury. Cross training benefits will be achieved with just two sessions per week. Simply do a home exercise routine using strength training or resistance exercises like squats, planks, leg lifts, abdominal crunches and push ups. Cross training will round out your fitness routine and make running more enjoyable as you become stronger and more fit.
Fitness Apps can help you keep track of your workouts and help you stay motivated. Along with virtual runs and becoming part of a community, most apps allow you to keep track of your heart rate and exercise progression while adding a fun aspect to your training. Using a fitness app likeYes.Fit will help you stay motivated while you train to be a better runner.
Rest and recover. Incorporate weekly rest days because this is when your muscles repair and grow. But not allowing your body to recover can lead to stunted progress, pain and injury. Shoot for at least one or two days each week of relaxation. Enjoy the day and get a message or take a relaxing nature walk. If you feel the need to do some form of exercise, try mild yoga or a gentle stretching session. Activities like these can still add health benefits like increased blood flow while complementing your recovery.
Enter a race. While some goals like weight loss are notable and worthwhile goals, making a plan to run a race can provide a set date with accountability. Your friends and family might enjoy watching you in your first race while you enjoy the accomplishment. And to practice, many fitness apps are loaded with races so you can watch your progress and build your confidence before the real race.
Timing is everything. Schedule an early morning run, as it turns out that running in the morning is easiest for most people. This is because an early session helps you avoid internal chatter that might talk you out of exercising and you can complete your running session before you are too fatigued. And if you stick to your schedule and don’t over train, you will enjoy increased energy throughout the rest of your day.
Running is a fun and beneficial exercise that most people can do. Remember to start a slow and easy pace, pay attention to your body and be consistent. You will see and feel benefits in just a few, short weeks.