How to Start Running

“What should I think about and any tips for a beginner (runner)?” That is a question I received today. I will share my insights and would love to know what has worked for you. I have also found the following tips work well when coming back from injury with a few nuances.

When beginning to run be careful not to get too caught up in having the right gear including watches, shoes, socks, calf sleeves, head bands, electrolyte drinks and the list goes on… The biggest thing is to get out and go! Here are four things I would recommend to get going:

  1. Be consistent! You have to create the habit of doing this regularly or it won’t stick and you won’t improve. I wrote a blog, Developing & Deconstructing Habits, that may give you a few ideas about developing a habit to run.
  2. Build your runs (duration/miles/pace) slowly
    Example:
    • Day 1 – Run/Walk for 10 minutes (start with what you feel comfortable with…easy pace and maybe walk 1 minute, run 2 and repeat)
    • Day 2 – Walk for 30 minutes or some other activity
    • Day 3 – Run/Walk for 10 minutes (same as day 1)
    • Day 4 – Walk for 30 minutes or some other activity
    • Day 5 – Run/Walk for 10 minutes (same as day 1…maybe run a bit more than walking from the previous days)
    • Day 6 – Walk for 30 minutes or some other activity
    • Day 7 – Run/Walk for 15 minutes (same pattern as prior Run/Walk days)
    • The pattern here is to start running for 10 minutes every other day 3 times, then go to 15 minutes, 20 minutes, and so on. This is a great way to build time and miles gradually.
    • I use this routine when I’m coming back from injury and it has worked great. At any point if I am feeling pain I will not move on to the next time interval and if it continues to persist I go back to the doctor.
    • Dynamic stretch (not holding a stretch in one place) before running and static stretch (holding a stretch) after running
  3. Join a run group or find a friend to run with
    • Sometimes a group or a friend will provide the accountability partner you need to keep you on plan
    • It’s a great way to catch up with someone and make runs enjoyable; if they aren’t enjoyable eliminate the friend (ha!)
    • Try a mix – I love running with groups, friends, and solo (enjoy sounds of nature or listen to a podcast, book or music)
  4. Consult with and/or hire a coach
    • If you need structure and/or professional guidance, a great thing to do is find a coach that fits with you
    • You don’t know what you don’t know so working with a coach can keep you healthy while providing the guidance you need

Added note about gear when you get into a bit:

  • Shoes – read the blog – How to Choose Your Next Running Shoe
  • Watches – reach out to at least three runners who have been doing it for a while to gather inputs
  • Socks – ask the running shoe store associate for options that fit the shoe you will be running in. I run in three different types depending on the shoe and a lot has to do with thickness to fit the shoe appropriately
  • Electrolyte drinks – consult with a coach or experienced runner. There are several types of tests you can do to identify what works best. There are so many factors here to consider but to begin running don’t worry about it. Less than an hour of running you really don’t need to drink anything if you were properly hydrated going into the run.

I hated running most of my life. I always ran to train for another sport. Now I am in love with running and how much it has done for me mentally and overall health. I love it and strive to learn about every aspect. I became a Certified USA Triathlon Coach a few years ago so if you need any help reach out to me via email at alangraff@thehealthygiraffe.com.

– Add Health to Your Life

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