Getting into running for the first time? Here we’ve provided some of our top tips for getting the most out of your training.
Don’t Forget to Warm Up and Cool Down
It’s important that you warm up for at least 5 minutes before you head out on any run. Not only does it help to prepare your muscles for the upcoming activity and reduce the chance of them feeling tight, but it also slowly raises your heart rate to minimise the stress placed on your heart when you start your run. Popular warm up exercises include brisk walks, light jogs and any other dynamic stretches.
A cool down is something that gets overlooked by many taking to running for the first time, but it is actually just as crucial as warming up. Ending your run with a slow walk or jog helps to remove lactic acid from your muscles and gradually decrease your heart rate and blood pressure to resting level, which helps to avoid dizziness and fainting.
Wear the Right Running Trainers
It’s absolutely essential that you own a good pair of running trainers designed and manufactured by a reputable brand. Wearing the right shoes is key to ensuring comfort while you run and can go a long way to preventing injuries, particularly in and around the knee.
There’s a wide range of trainers available to purchase, so we recommend visiting a specialist running retailer – their experts will be able to assess your feet and running style and find the most appropriate pair for you.
It’s also worth noting that the shoes’ structure and cushioning will deteriorate over time as you run more miles, so be prepared to purchase more pairs in the future. Experts advise replacing your trainers every 300 – 400 miles, so how frequently and far you run will affect how often you need to replace them.
Plan Your Runs
As a new runner, there’s bound to be plenty of days when you just don’t feel like exercising. Sometimes staying indoors and putting on a film can seem much more appealing than heading out for your morning run, especially during the cold winter months. However, cancelling your runs on a regular basis can soon become a bad habit, and one that is hard to get out of, so a handy tip we advise is to schedule your runs.
Put in your diary the date and time of your upcoming runs and treat it as if it is a doctor’s appointment you just can’t miss. This way, you’ll have made your run an integral part of your day and be much more likely to find the motivation needed to get your running gear on.
Entering a virtual challenge can be a useful method for making sure you stay committed to regularly running. They task you to run a specified number of miles throughout the month in however many runs you require, and if successful you’ll receive a prestigious medal as a reward for your hard work and dedication!
See more: What is a Virtual Challenge?
Gradually Build Miles
As a new runner, your body isn’t acclimatised to running for long periods which is why you should gradually build your miles up over time. You need to ease yourself into the sport by slowly increasing the miles you cover and pace you run at, otherwise you’ll be at a significantly higher risk of developing an injury. A good rule of thumb to stick to is to increase your mileage by no more than 10% each week.
If you really want to do more exercise, you could perhaps supplement your running with cross-training activities, such as swimming or cycling.
Importance of Rest
Rest is a vital part of your workout as it gives your body time to recover and rebuild. Whenever you take part in any type of physical activity, you create little micro tears in the muscle tissue (which is a completely normal muscle-building process), and resting allows your body to repair itself before your next run. If you fail to properly rest, your body won’t have had sufficient time to fully repair, which in turn causes you to feel sore and tired.
When you first start to partake in your running programme, we recommend having at least one rest day in between your run days.
Set Yourself Goals
It doesn’t matter how experienced or competent at running you are, setting yourself goals will help to keep your motivation levels high throughout your training. They can be as small or as simple as you like, they just need act as an incentive and push you on to improve your performance.
Here are a few examples of the types of goals you might set yourself –
- I want to run 1 mile in less than 10 minutes before the end of the year.
- By the end of the month I want to have ran 20 miles.
- This time next year I want to be able to run 10 miles without stopping to catch my breath.
Don’t Worry About Pace
For those getting into fitness for the first time, the last thing you should worry about is the pace you run at. Instead of putting too much pressure on yourself to achieve certain times, run at a leisurely and comfortable pace. Focus more on building up your endurance, strength and confidence before trying to increase your speed.
Running Challenges for Beginners
Entering a fitness challenge can be extremely beneficial for those only just getting into running. Here at Race at your Pace, every month we run a variety of awesome virtual challenges that are the perfect introduction into running for those getting involved in the sport for the first time. A range of distances are available, allowing people of all abilities to take part regardless of experience and endurance level.
See more: Diet & Nutrition Tips for Runners
See more: How to Prevent Running Injuries