Runner's Beginner Guide: Part 1: Getting Started


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Are you wanting to get into running but you are not sure how and where to start? Below you will find a really simple and easy guide to get into running without causing serious harm to yourself. Did not think running could do harm to your body? Well it can if you just start running without a plan. I’m one that can attest to that because I went about all wrong when I started.

You may have all kinds of questions when you want to start running. You may want to know how far and how fast you can run. There may be other questions you may have but have no worries we will try and address all of them for you.

Running Is A Great Exercise Activity For All Ages And All Fitness Levels

First of all running is a great activity for anyone to try regardless of how old you are or no matter what kind of shape you are in but it’s still safe to always consult a physician before starting any exercise program. Secondly, running is absolutely free. Other than the shoes, race entry fees, clothes and other running accessories, running is absolutely free. You can run to your heart’s desire for absolutely no cost.

Getting A Running Plan Together

First of all, you need to plan a schedule so that you are able to set aside ample time to devote to your new running program. You get a lot out of running by just scheduling 30 minutes a day a few times a week. This includes warm up time.

When starting your running regime, it’s best not to over do it at first. This being said, you need to take it slow at first. Meaning that you do not need to run too fast or too far when you legs are not conditioned to it. This is considered by many to be the #1 cause of injury for runners.

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Getting Started Running

Some people would suggest running 10 to 20 minutes a day for approximately 3 days a week until you can increase your time and distance. That is O.K. if you have been doing some kind of aerobic conditioning but could be a stretch for someone that is really out of shape. If that is the case 5 minutes max is all you need to do on your first run.  Do not worry about distance.

Example for an absolute beginner  or someone that is out of shape

Week 1:

Monday: 5 minute run

Wednesday: 7 or 8 minute run

Saturday: 5 minute run – 5 minute walk – and another 5 minute run

If you are more intermediate runner and have run occasionally then you can start by running for 10 to 20 minutes at a time depending on your level of running. Do this approximately 3 times a week.

Example for an intermediate (someone that has been doing some kind of aerobic exercise previously and may have run occasionally but not on a consistent basis)

Week 1:

Monday: 10 minute run

Wednesday: 15 minute run

Saturday: 20 run

It’s best to gradually increase the amount of time you’re running. It’s also best to increase the intervals of the number of days you run as well but not until you feel comfortable in being able to complete your current level of training. If 10 or 20 minutes is too long, do not be too proud to take walking breaks like shown in the beginner example above. You can even begin by running for 4 minutes and walking for 1 minute, until you complete the 10 or 20 minute time frame. As your legs and body gets stronger, eliminate the walk breaks.

As stated before, do not worry about distance (how many miles you are running at first). A beginner needs to focus on the number of minutes they are running instead of distance. Slowly you will begin to increase your running distance in the same amount of time and you will be pleasantly surprised.  When you reach this stage you will know that it’s time that you will want to increase the time and length of your running workout.

What Do You Need For Running?

As stated previously, a big advantage of running is that so little equipment and costs are required. There is no doubt that most important investment a runner should make is in pair of running shoes. Not just a pair but a good pair of running shoes. We are not talking about getting the best looking pair of shoes from Academy Sports or Foot Locker. We’re talking about a pair of authentic and high quality running shoes that are made for your foot and your stride. Running shoes should be purchased at specialty running stores. At these stores, running specialists can recommend shoe models based on the way your foot strikes the ground surface. As someone that got fitted for shoes and the “so called specialist” only watched me walk barefoot, I can tell you that is total crap. Make sure a specialist watches you run in the shoes. A lot of people walk completely different than the way they run. That is the case for me. Oh, by the way, that pair of shoes I got fitted for by the “so called running specialist”, helped cause shin splints. The shoe was totally wrong for me. So I recommend making sure the specialist do his or her job properly.

Will You Be Sore From Running As A Beginner?

You can expect for your legs will be sore starting off. Remember, you have been doing no running and now you will be putting your legs into a new kind of stress. However, if you keep up your new running routine, that leg soreness will be less and will last a shorter amount of time.

WARNING: If you feel acute / severe pain anywhere, stop running. Wait a few days to make sure that your legs have recovered from the pain. This is very important to help reduce and hopefully prevent running injuries.

One of the most common sports injuries from running is shin splints.  These usually occur when you over-train or wear shoes that do not fit your foot properly. This is why visiting a specialty running store is so important. As I talked about before, I got shin splints early on because of shoes that did not fit me correctly and overtraining. It’s important to be aware of the difference between exhaustion and being injured. Make sure you pay attention to your body and don’t over do it early on.

WARNING: If you have never run a race like a 5K before, please do not let that be the first time you start your running program. There are some people that talk their friends into running a 5K when their no-running friend has not run any real distance to speak of before. This is dangerous and can cause injury. About Running suggests that unless you have run at least 2 miles before, do not even consider running a 5K. If you do take it real easy and finish slow.

Stretching Is A Must For Running (Before And After)

One thing that a lot of beginners overlook is stretching. It’s very important for people to stretch before and after running. Stretching is so important because it loosens up the muscles and ligaments that are used primarily for running. Stretching simply helps prevents injury. Stretching also helps prevent shin splints. Beginners usually get the tight calf syndrome because they do not stretch properly before a run. Tight calves can also cause shin splints because the runner uses their legs differently because of the pain in the calves. I for one can attest to this fact. I actually stretch for 5 minutes, walk for 5 minutes, and then run slowly 5 minutes before I ever start my running course (stretching between each segment). It may take 15 minutes more but I am not getting the soreness that I used to get and my legs do not tighten up early on in my runs. They feel fresh and and I can run even farther because I warmed up properly. So please take the time to stretch properly before each run.

Summation

There is no ONE WAY to begin running. There are quite a few good ways to begin a new running program. Some may be more advanced than others like in the examples showed in this article earlier. The best key and advice to a beginner is to start slow and gradually build up your running time and distance and all of the other things will take care of themselves.

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