How to start running
A BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO RUNNING: PICKING RUNNING GEARS, TREATING INJURIES, AND TRACKING PROGRESS
It’s great to see that you’ve taken an interest in running as a form of exercising. Watch out though, running isn’t just running in a park till you sweat and run out of breath. It also isn’t an open dress code to choose the first clothes and shoes you see in your closet. Follow our beginner’s guide to make your running journey as efficient as possible: plan your runs and meals, pick the right gears to wear, take care of your injuries, and keep track of your progress.
1. why are you running?
Before we dig deep into your running routine, we have a question to ask you: Why are you running?
The reason you’re running will determine how you want to train. There are several ways to train, and each training serves a different purpose. If you already know your purpose, then skip to Point 2. If you’re stumped, then read on. Actually, continue reading even if you know why you’re running. You might revisit or add more to your answer(s).
There might be around 1 billion answers to the question we asked you above. Here are some common answers.
A. "i want to improve my productivity."
That’s a wise choice. Aerobic exercises like running are excellent in enhancing brain performance. If you have a tight schedule and need the energy to go through it, jogging will help. By running every day, many brain-derived proteins release to improve brain function, such as thinking, learning, and decision-making.
In fact, the Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, and Virgin founder Richard Branson are among the many public figures and entrepreneurs who add some running to their daily itinerary. They've all stated that jogging, for them, is essential to gain productivity and energy to do anything well.
b. "i want to boost my energy."
Running, going hand-in-hand with a healthy diet, is a great way to lift your energy levels. As you’re in motion, your body releases feel-good hormones called endorphins. The more the endorphins, the more your energy levels get boosted. This, in return, improves your sleep, mood, and concentration.
c. "I WANT TO LOSE WEIGHT."
You decided to start running to get in shape and shed a few pounds or so. Sure, running will help, but it isn’t enough to lose weight, just like any other exercise. Exercising burns calories, which means you’ll get hungry when you lift your feet off the ground.
We recommend linking running to your diet and fueling your body with nutrient-dense foods to ensure weight loss. Foods with vitamins, minerals, and complex carbs give you the most nutrition while maintaining your calorie limits.
d. "i want to feel good about myself."
Set up a running goal or enter a 5K marathon and finish them. If you reach your running goals, you’ll give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done. Running helps boosting confidence and self-esteem.
If you set up a running goal, you'll uplift your confidence.
e. "i want to stop feeling stressed."
Running helps you cope with stress. Just like Answer C, running boosts your mood thanks to endorphins. They’ll make you feel happy and helps with anxiety and depression.
2. pick a good running training plan
First-time runners: never start with fast runs. Pick a good training plan that can gradually help you get the hang of it. Your body needs time to adapt to the forces and stresses required for running. Any overexertion can put you in exhaustion and pain and affect your goal.
You can begin with the Run-Walk Method. This method helps you get less tired and decreases the likelihood of getting injured. With time, you’ll have the suitable capacity and strength to endure intense runs. For beginners, run for 10 - 30 seconds and walk for a minute or two. Repeat these intervals for the rest of the jog. As you become more experienced, you’ll run more and walk less.
As a new runner, go for a run at most 3 times a week for 20 to 30 minutes to give your body enough time to rest. The cardiovascular system adjusts your bones and muscles to get your body ready for other runs. Make sure to implement the Run-Walk Method (table below) to strengthen your runs with time.
By following the Run-Walk Method, you'll strengthen your endurance in running in no time.
If you’re a non-beginner and looking for ways to improve your training and boost your speed, then aim to do exercises that build power into your legs. Some lunging, squatting, and deadlifting should get you to run faster than the Road Runner itself! Find our suggestions below:
Before you run, do some exercises that help improve your speed.
If you love marathons, follow a training plan that involves running long distances. For more training and nutritional plans, you can visit online resources like the Marathon Training Guides. We also recommend visiting an expert to examine your body and assess the right training for you.
3. Pick the right running gear for you
Get some running clothes and gears that are specially made to help you when you run.
Don’t pick out any clothes in your closet to run in. Choose items that provide moist absorption, comfort, and protection to run with ease. You can find out all the information you need to choose the right gear right here.
If you already own some running gear, like shoes, make sure they’re still good enough to run in. You can also revive your old running shoes if you’re so used to them. If you don’t own any running shoes, we have some tips on how to buy the right one right here.
Although it's not a running gear item, it's crucial to have a bottle of sunscreen. Get it with high SPF to avoid getting severe sunburns after long runs.
4. Fuel your body with the right food and water
Always fuel your body before and after jogs.
Fueling your body before and after jogs is vital to keep your energy levels up and stay hydrated.
Before you run, eat foods that are high in carbohydrates. Carbs are the most acceptable source to build energy. Eat fruits, vegetables, rice, pasta, and bread at least three hours prior. When you finish your training, your body will want food to restore your glycogen levels, muscles, and electrolytes. Protein is the best source to give you energy and repair damaged tissue after your training. Go for beans, eggs, fish, and whole grains.
A big concern that new runners have is when to quench their thirst. Relax, you mustn't worry over this.
Drink at least two cups of water before your session to avoid getting cramps. While you’re running, drink small quantities of water (296 milliliters (10 ounces)) every 15 - 20 minutes. When you finish your run, drink at least 236 milliliters (8 ounces) of water half an hour later.
For setting up a diet or rigorous training for marathons or triathlons, consult an expert to give you the ideal schedule you need.
5. TREAT YOUR INJURIEs
If you’re willing to run, then you’ll have to welcome pain with open arms. It’s inevitable since your body is adjusting itself to handle the force required for fast motion. Don’t let pain get in your way, we’ve got just the way to treat injuries.
Leg cramps are common and harmless injuries that cause your leg muscles to tighten when you’re jogging. Treat them by stretching or adding a warm towel over the injury.
Another harmless and normal injury you can get from running is side stitches. When you run, your lungs move downwards and your abdomen pushes your diaphragm upwards. The lungs pinch your diaphragm, causing painful side stitches from less blood flow and spasms. When this happens, rest and take slow and deep breaths. This eases tension off your muscles.
One of the painful injuries people get from running happens in their feet. Pain intensifies every time your toes and heels touch the ground. This can make you get plantar fasciitis, a pain in the heel and midfoot. Make sure you’re wearing the right shoes and socks to soothe your running. Heal your feet by massaging them every day.
Heal your feet after runs with some massages.
We remind you once again to run a few times per week. Let your body adapt to the sport so you can avoid serious injuries. If your injury is severe, visit a doctor.
6. keep track of your running progress
Figure out the training you need and keep track of your progress. Credits: MyFoodDiary.
When you’re running, it’s essential to keep track of your running progress. For instance, keep track of your pace: the time it takes you to run every kilometer. This helps you know what’s the proper training needed for your body.
For new runners, focus more on time than the distance. Every time you add more time to your runs, you’re building up your cardiovascular system and endurance. Follow the Run-Walk Method in Point 2 to balance between running and jogging.
If you’re an experienced runner, improve your pace by wanting a new speed goal. Start your jogs by running slowly. Go for a high-intensity rate for about 5 minutes. Then slow down to recover. Repeat this pace once or twice a week to reach your speed goal.
Consult a personal trainer should you need more help in figuring the right pace you need. If you go beyond it, you can end up with tiredness, motivational loss, or injuries. You can also use smartwatches and special workout applications to help you know the pace your body needs for running.
We hope this article motivated you to take on running. Begin the new activity by 1. Asking yourself why you want to run, 2. Picking a suitable running plan, 3. Choosing suitable running gears, 4. Energizing your body with nutritious food and water, 5. Taking your injuries seriously after runs, and 6. Keeping track of your running progress.
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Elio is a content creator at Sikasok. He enjoys writing, reading, binge-watching, and jogging. Elio loves being creative and staying updated with the latest news and trends.