I knew that I just had to start my blog with this post as I’m an actual beginner myself when it comes to running. Researching for this post really made me ’’check myself before I wreck myself’’ although I know how bad it feels to get all excited about running only to get injured shortly afterwards. It sucks. By reading this post, you’ll hopefully be able to avoid my rookie mistakes and start your new running lifestyle smoothly! Oh and by the way, all references to the sites I studied for this post can be found in the very end of the post.
BEFORE YOU START RUNNING
1.LEARN PROPER FORM
This one is important and it’s significantly more useful to learn proper form before you injure yourself than regret not caring about it when you’re stuck at home healing your knees for example. This was a huge part of why I completely messed up my knees last year. Many of us (including me) just see running as something ’’everyone’’ can ’’automatically’’ do without really giving one thought to how it should be done. I will definitely be making a separate post entirely about form but for now, there are a million sites and YouTube videos that teach this. You can find a good article from Runner’s World here. The few key aspects of a correct running technique is having a strong, upright posture and not ’’jumping’’ too high off the ground when running.
2.INVEST IN SHOES
The importance of fitting shoes gets bigger the more you run. I think that if you’re not into the habit of exercising regularly yet, there’s no need to pay loads of money to specialists and tests and what not and especially not for super high- tech, latest trend shoes. Your first running shoes should be meant for running in and they should just fit you comfortably. You might want to get them a little bit bigger than you’re normal shoe size since feet do swell when running and rubbing is the last thing you want mid- run.
However, it’s perfectly fine to go all in with specialists and analyzing your running style and all that with your first running shoes if you want to! If you want shoes specially optimal for you but still want to save some cash, this next tip is for you!
3.GET LAST SEASON’S EDITION
Since shoe editions and models rarely change up too much as the new season arrives, you should be well off having a specialist find the perfect shoe model for you and then find the previous edition of that shoe online, for example. Personally, if I invested my time and money in having a specialist help me find the perfect shoe, I’d just buy those shoes. I found this tip on Buzzfeed and just thought it might be handy if you wanted to save the money.
4.REMEMBER TO WARM UP!
I’m personally a bit lazy with this one. I just want to get going and warm up by just walking for a bit before running. That’s not like the worst way to go but if you want to avoid injuries at all costs (I strongly recommend), taking a bit more time to warm up is great. Do some jumping jacks, some low intensity jump rope, butt kicks, knee raises, anything with a bit more speed and impact than just walking. That’ll make sure your body is prepared for the strain running will cause. However:
5.DON’T STRETCH AS A WARM UP
A meta- analysis made by the University of Zagreb, Croatia suggests that only stretching before running doesn’t lower your injury risk and it can even weaken your performance. They analyzed over one hundred studies on the subject before coming to the conclusion that warming up by stretching only should be avoided. While you’re better off warming up another way, stretching post- exercise is recommended!
6.DON’T WORRY ABOUT PACE
Tracking your pace is a fun way to challenge yourself to perform better and keep track of your ’’level’’ of running but as a beginner myself, I suggest you only focus on completing your runs in a pace that feels fairly comfortable all the way through. Don’t be ashamed of walking, every pro runner out there has had their beginner moment as well! You probably have started this habit because you want long- term, permanent results. As a beginner, you’re setting the foundation on which you’ll continue to build as you get better. You wouldn’t want to live in a house with a wonky foundation? Treat your body and health with the same respect!
7.SOMETIMES WORRY ABOUT PACE
Fitness sites are filled with a million people telling beginners to never worry about pace and then there’s New Zealand’s John Henwood, an Olympic track and field runner telling beginners to do just that. His point is legit though and I can totally agree with this one. For beginners, it’s often mentally easier and more rewarding to accomplish a certain time period of running. It’s easier to clock one minute of running and do a number of one- minute sets than to think about distance. If you really want to start running but know that you get discouraged or lose motivation easily, try this. When beginning, it’s all about finding the right stuff for you anyways.
8.PROTECT YOURSELF- ESPECIALLY FROM THE SUN
This is a point that I know I would (and have) completely ignore. In fact, I’m embarrassed to admit sun protection never even crossed my mind! Just remember to either opt for long sleeved shirts if you can or at least wear sunscreen (SPF50 or more). Once you become a regular runner and especially if you do long runs, you’re going to spend a lot of time in the sun so realize the dangers of those UV- rays! It’s a good idea to also wear a cap and sunglasses so you don’t get a headache from squinting like I do.
AFTER YOUR RUN
9.TRACK YOUR RUNS
Achievements feel better to most people when they can be visualized on an app or a piece of paper. This way, you’ll also have another tool to plan increasing duration, speed or time, too. If you’re like me and love to write things in pen and paper, keep a sheet of your progress. If you like journaling, you can start a bullet journal just for this aspect of your life. If you’re more of a tech nerd, there are a million mobile apps you can use!
As a beginner in regular exercising over all, only sticking to the same for of exercise can get pretty boring especially when you’re a beginner and it sometimes feels tough to get going and keep doing it. Cross training is a great way to work your body even more thoroughly and it’s refreshing to mix it up every now and then. You can cycle, go swimming or aqua jogging or even try nordic skiing in the wintertime if the weather in your region allows it!
And there you have it! I searched several sites and picked the tips I personally found best as a beginner myself. Of course the most important thing is to get up and just do it– but with these tips I think starting becomes much easier, safer and most importantly, more fun! Because lets get real, if we don’t find working out exciting or enjoyable even the tiniest bit, chances are we won’t be able to keep up the habit in the long run. So, that being said, let’s all have a great day and I’ll see you next time!