Whether you’re looking to start running as part of a New Year’s resolution or just to get in shape, if you don’t have much (or any) experience, the whole thing can seem pretty daunting. How far should I go? How fast should I be going? What do I eat/drink before and after?
Don’t worry, there’s no reason to feel overwhelmed. You would be weird if you didn’t feel a bit confused heading into this. After all, there’s a lot to cover and this is all new to you. But the good news is we’ll answer all those questions and more in this article. Read on!
Stay hydrated. Always keep a water bottle handy during a running session. Not listening to this tip can be a fatal rookie mistake. It’s a common misconception that you can’t drink water while running. In fact, you should drink small sips of water while running to prevent dehydration.
Also be sure to drink plenty of water at least two hours before your run so your body can process it. Many people try to avoid hydrating during their run by chugging water immediately beforehand, which leads to an awful full feeling during your run that even experienced runners can’t overcome.
Fuel up! In addition to staying hydrated, you should make sure to take in around 200 to 400 calories about 1.5 hours before you begin your run. Look for something with plenty of complex carbs and protein as well. This will fuel your body while still giving it plenty of time to digest.
Digestion stops or slows massively while you’re running, so eating just before a run will do nothing but make you feel heavy. Not eating at all will leave your muscles fatigued, causing you to feel labored and achy during your run.
Following your run, it’s essential to eat another small bit of something. This will give your muscles the nutrition they need to rebuild after your workout. Aim for something with a 4 to 1 ratio of carbs to protein, within 30 to 45 minutes after finishing.
Comfortable shoes are important. There are a few things in life that you should splurge on, and quality running shoes is one of them. Wearing the wrong shoes causes many different problems for runners. You could pull a muscle or develop some nasty blisters if your shoes aren’t suitable. So save yourself some heartache (or should we say foot ache?) and don’t skimp on the shoes.
Make a plan. Don’t push yourself too hard, and don’t be afraid to go slow when you’re first starting out! A good plan for new runners is to start out with intervals of a 1-minute run followed by 5 minutes of walking. Repeat 4 more times for a total of 30 minutes.
As you progress, gradually increase the amount of time you’re running and reduce the time you walk by that same amount. For instance, in your second week, you may feel ready to do 1.5 minutes of running followed by 3.5 minutes of walking.
Just be honest with yourself. Don’t try for too much too soon, but don’t be afraid to push yourself when you’re ready. Within just a few months you can go from a non-runner to running 30 minutes non-stop. Imagine that!
Don’t shy away from the challenge. If you’re serious about getting fit, don’t give up when it starts to burn! Results will take time to manifest. This is one of the most important tips for beginning runners. If you want to meet your running goals, you have to continuously overcome the challenge. Too many rookie runners quit before they’ve even started. Don’t be one of them!
Set goals. Why do you want to get fit? No matter what your reason is, you should set goals or milestones to reach along the way. One goal might be to run 5k without stopping to walk, or you may be even more ambitious and shoot for a 10k. This will make you want to continue and build a steady running routine. Just be sure to set small, realistic goals along the way to your big goals so that you stay motivated.
Create a rewards system. You might think that the toned body you’re working toward is reward enough for your efforts. In the short term, though, you might lose motivation on a certain day. To avoid taking that dangerous plunge, you should set up a rewards system for yourself.
You might treat yourself to some new running gear when you meet a smaller goal, or a night one with your special someone. Just make sure the reward is proportionate to the goal.
Grab some friends and go! You know the old saying – the more the merrier. Running in a group can help boost your self-confidence. You can also motivate each other when things get tough. And, if any of you fail to meet your goals, you can hold each other accountable. You’ll want to run if you know other people are counting on you. If you don’t have any friends that run, search online for a beginners’ running group.
I hope this has given you the answers you’ve been looking forward as you start your running life. It’s a great activity with numerous proven health benefits, and a fantastic way to spend time with the people you care about most. Good luck, and happy running!
BTW, don’t forget to pin this in case you need a refresher later about how to progress your routine, what to eat to fuel yourself, etc.