Starting running seems simple enough, you just go out and run, right? Not exactly, it is a little more complicated than that. You need to have a plan in place otherwise mistakes and injuries can happen all too easily. The following will walk you through a plan and provide you with the proper tools to get started.
Mistakes Happen if you Don’t Have a Plan
If you get too excited and just start running, you are likely to experience runner’s knee, shin splints, ITB syndrome, or other injuries that make it uncomfortable to continue your exercise regimen. These are some of the most common running injuries, so to avoid them you need to have a plan in place so you know how much your body can handle.
Another common mistake new runners make is running the same way at the same pace over and over again. It is important to change up the terrain, elevation, and cross-train to avoid stress injuries. A plan can help you do this, but it also important to listen to your body to know what it likes best. For example, if you get too sore after running on the road, try running on well-groomed trails. It might be easier on your joints because you are not landing on the hard asphalt.
Want to just start running without doing anything else? This is another recipe for injuries. Combine your running plan with strength training to avoid injuries. A strength training workout doesn’t have to be done at the gym as it can be done with your body weight at home.
Where do You Start?
Start with a schedule that you can stick to. You will need to devote at least 30 minutes a day, three to five times a week to your new routine. Set that time aside and don’t waver from 30 minutes, even if you want to go further.
Start by walking for five minutes and then go ahead and run until you are out of breath — this can be 30 seconds or one minute. Walk for a couple of minutes to catch your breath and then start running again. Keep up this interval until you hit the 30-minute mark. Eventually, your intervals will get longer and longer until you can run a full 20 minutes — plus five minutes for warm up and five for cool down, for a total of 30 minutes.
What do You Need?
To start running all you really need are a good pair of running shoes, but this is also where the planning comes into place. You need the right type of shoes for your feet and body type. Without the right shoes, you risk the chance of injury and losing all the progress you have made. Check out the running shoe finder to start finding the right shoes for you.
If you want to track your progress, you will need a fitness tracker. As you progress, you may want to invest in higher priced watches to track your heart rate, recovery time, routes, etc. There are many options out there in varying price ranges to suit your needs. This is not a necessity, but a nice option to have as you time your runs.
We touched on strength training earlier, now let’s talk about what that looks like. As you strength train, your muscles will build more endurance and will be able to support your joints better. Overall, this will reduce the number of injuries, but help you improve your running form as well.
Strength training also helps burns fat. Adding strength training to running can help you to lose weight faster. Some common strength training exercises you can do at home include:
- Calf Raises
Make Some Goals
Now that you have a running plan and know where to start when it comes to strength training, it is time to make some goals. After all, what is the reason you are running? This is a good question to think about as you set smaller goals and work towards larger ones.
If you are not sure what goals to set, try setting a goal to run a 5k. Once you complete a 5k, race against your previous time. Maybe move up to a 10k or a marathon as you complete your goals. It is important to make the goals achievable and the things you can accomplish in small steps.
It’s Easier Than You Think
Don’t push yourself too hard when you start out. By taking it easy, your body will adapt to running, and it will get easier over time. Progress may be slow, but soon you will start to notice you can run longer and longer stretches without getting out of breath. Once running becomes a habit, you will not be able to imagine how you lived without it. The goal is to keep at it no matter how fast or slow you go. Best of luck!
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