If you’ve never been running as a form of exercise before, it can feel a little daunting.
After all, what if your technique is wrong? What if you struggle to run that far? And what if you push too hard and cause yourself an injury before you’ve even begun?
That said, it’s worthwhile learning how to run properly. It’s free, you can do it anywhere and it burns more calories than many other workouts.
Need help getting started? Not to worry — read on for our 5 handy tips for beginners so you can look and feel confident on your next run.
1. Build Up Your Fitness Level
First things first, it’s important to build up your fitness levels before you start running.
If you just dive in straight away, you might find it too tiring, which can kill your motivation. Not to mention, your body has to get used to the stresses and strains of running.
According to NHS UK, you should start by going on long walks.
Struggling with this because you feel out of shape? Are you recovering from an injury? Or are you concerned about a pre-existing condition? Consult with your doctor before you even begin.
2. Grab Some Running Shoes
You don’t need any equipment to run, but a good pair of running shoes will help support your feet and improve comfort. A sports bra is also a must for reducing breast pain.
Visit a specialist running retailer who will assess your foot shape and find the right pair of shoes for you.
And given that the structure of running shoes weakens over time, you should replace them every 300 to 400 miles (482 to 644 kilometres).
3. Run in Intervals
Running is quite technically-challenging, which means you need to have the proper technique to avoid frustration, overexertion, pain or injuries.
Ease yourself into running slowly by increasing your pace and distance gradually each time you run. Follow this pattern:
- Start with a gentle five-minute warm-up, consisting of quick walking, knee lights, marching on the spot or climbing stairs
- Alternate between running and walking, i.e. five minutes of running then five minutes of walking
- Increase each running interval by one minute per workout until you can run the entire distance
- Increase your pace as you become fitter with each workout
Try to take short, easy steps as opposed to long, powerful strides that act as a brake. Why? Well, this will slow your forward momentum with every step you take.
Also, listen to your body and don’t push yourself if you’ve had enough. Needless to say, you’ll have more energy on some days than others.
4. Cool Down After Each Run
Make sure you give yourself a few minutes to cool down post-run by slow-walking and stretching.
Then leave at least a day before you attempt another run. In other words, your body needs to:
- Rest and recover from the first session
- Adapt to the new demands on the cardiovascular system
- Prepare your bones and muscles for the next run
Running one day and resting the rest can help beginners build up their training without experiencing overuse injuries.
5. Come Up With a Consistent Training Schedule
Lastly, keep in mind that it makes more sense to run twice a week every week than six times in one week and then nothing at all for three weeks.
How come? Well, consistency will help your body to develop the coordination it needs to perform the movements with every mile or kilometre that you run. Ultimately, this will make you a better runner.
Mixing Up Running Tips for Beginners
Running is tough for any beginner. However, it does get easier if you persevere.
Need some help staying motivated? Plan your runs, set challenges and/or train for a race, such as a 5K.
Either way, try to enjoy your training by mixing things up. Varying your distances, routes and pace and it won’t be long before you’re a running pro.