If you have ever thought about taking up running as part of your exercise routine but you're not sure where to start, then the following 13 tips will help you hit the pavement safely and successfully.
1. You must invest in a good pair of running shoes
Go to a running store and get fitted for the right size and style.
2. Slow and steady
Add miles to you plan gradually and never increase your weekly mileage by more than 10% over the previous week.
3. Warm-up and cool down
Walk three to five minutes at the beginning to get your body warm and at the end to cool down.
4. Take walk breaks
Some people find using the method of run/walk to work best. Example: a beginner might run one minute and walk 30 seconds, then work up to running for five minutes and walking for 30 seconds.
5. Running outside is harder than the treadmill
The treadmill is a great way to train, but just remember that you must also get time outside. Change the incline on the treadmill often, to simulate outdoor running
6. Try a track workout for a bit of variety
Example: run three times around the track to warm-up and then for each lap you run, do 25 walking lunges, 25 jump-squats, and 25 high-knees. If you are lucky enough to have stadium stairs, run a lap and then do a set of stadium stairs. Repeat for 30 minutes.
7. Mix in cross-training that includes strength training
Incorporate full-body workouts with a special focus on lower body and core (gluteus muscles, hips, abs, calves).
8. Use a foam roller after every run
Lots of rolling out your IT band, glutes, calves, hamstrings, and quads. Stretch, stretch, stretch. This is probably the most important part of training.
9. Rest days are essential
If at all possible, try not to run two days in a row. Once you are more experienced and your body is stronger, you can run back-to-back days.
10. Keep a training log
There are great apps and paper log outs that track your mileage, pace, and progress.
11. Eat - but don' t overeat
Many people give themselves the green light to eat whatever they want when they are training for a run. The reality is, you don't need as much food as you think you need. The rule of thumb is that 1 mile burns 100 calories. That means that a three-mile run is needed to burn off that maple bar, or in my case, six miles to burn off the two maple bars I eat!
12. If you are running first thing in the morning, try a piece of peanut butter toast
You don't want to overload your stomach, but you also need some fuel to keep you going. If you are running later in the day, try to eat one hour before you go running. Protein and carbs must be consumed within the first 45 minutes after your run.
13. Pick a short race to sign up for
Many people find a 5k to be the best first run to participate in.
Sara Lindburg has a B.S. in Exercise Science and an M.Ed. in Counselling. A 41-year-old wife, mother, and full-time secondary school counsellor, she combines 20-plus years' experience in the fitness and counselling fields and she has found her passion in inspiring other women to be the best version of themselves on her Facebook page, FitMom. Her inspiration for writing comes from her 6-year-old son, Cooper, and 8-year-old daughter, Hanna. Follow Sara on twitter.