Are you a new to running? Or, perhaps you’ve been running for a while but are looking for some technique tips? Whether you’ve decided to start running to improve your fitness, as a hobby, or to meet other like-minded people, check out these useful running tips for beginners. Start off right and you’ll be unstoppable!
Where To Start?
As a new runner, no matter how old you are, don’t try to do a 10 mile run on your first go! You want to start slowly, let your body get used to this new exercise and work your way up. We wouldn’t advise doing more than 3 kilometers on your first run either.
However long you decide to go for, break it down into intervals instead of doing it all in one go. Perhaps you could jog for 30 seconds, then walk for 30 seconds. If that feels to easy/difficult, amend the timings to suit your fitness level.
One great thing you can do to help you at first is to download the Couch To 5K app. It’s free to download and use and you get given a coach to help push you on your runs. They can also help you to stay focussed with challenges to meet along the way and positive messages throughout. It’s as though they are right there with you, giving you a helping hand when you need it most.
Run the first few sessions without any goals or expectations, just see how you get on and go from there. If you set yourself crazy goals you won’t ever reach, you’ll lose motivation to keep trying.
Don’t Over Do It – Start Slowly
Your body needs time to get used to the new stresses and strains running puts on your body. Many beginner will start out jogging way too fast, or even try to sprint! However, by doing this they will pay the price within minutes! Things will start to hurt, your heart rate could rocket, you’ll get out of breath and could even hurt yourself.
Frustration, overexertion, pain or even injuries are just some of the consequences. Therefore, start running at a moderate pace (i.e. where you can easily hold a conversation). “Even when you feel like cutting loose, you should maintain the same pace for the entire distance. Only those who give their body time to gradually get used to the new demands will have long-term success.”
Give Yourself Time To Recover
Your first run may have been amazing, and you really want to get back out there. However, you should wait at least a day before going for another run. Your body needs time to rest and recover from your first session.
If you don’t give your body this time to heal and adapt to your training, you could end up with injuries and even things such as shin splints which can be very painful, and hard to get rid of.
Take Smaller Steps
Running is a lot more technically challenging than most people are led to believe. If you don’t have the correct technique, you’ll find you’re making it much harder than it needs to be. The only thing you’ll do is waste a lot of your energy!
Try to run with a relaxed posture. You don’t need to tense your entire body to be able to run well. In fact, this could hinder your progress. Short, meaningful steps are a lot more effective for beginners than long strides are. The longer the stride, the more your feet touching down will act as a brake. Slowing your momentum with every stride.
Where To Go Running?
Many newbie runners wonder what kind of surface is best for running on. Grass, pavement, beach, road, running tracks…etc. This really depends on a few aspects – the person, the workout and the weather.
- Pavement – ideal for faster running, or sprinting. However, note on this surface there is little to no cushioning for your joints.
- Grass – a much softer surface that will provide more cushioning for joints. However, watch out for holes, tree roots and bumpy ground under foot.
- Beach – a much harder surface to run on, making your workout feel so much more difficult. However, beach running can easily overwork your calf muscles.
- Track – a softer surface giving you more joint support. An all weather option. However, it does puts a lot of extra stress on your Achilles tendon so take that into consideration.
- Treadmill – will allow you to train all year round with a good amount of cushioning. However, treadmill running is easier than road running. You will always be able to go for longer on a treadmill than you would the road.
Use A Cross-Trainer If You Have Knee Pain
Running places a lot of stress on your joints and spine so take it easily, especially to begin with. However, perhaps you could mix up your sessions for the first few weeks at least by using a cross-trainer at your local gym. This will give your joints extra time to recover and adapt.
We hope you feel informed and empowered to start your running journey! Please do get in touch if you have any questions.
The Fitness Focus Team.