If you are looking to get back in shape, running is one of the best activities you can do. It is a great full-body workout with numerous benefits extending beyond physical fitness. However, it can be a bit difficult for some people to get started.
There are many tips on how to start running for beginners, including some methods and advice that can serve as motivation and get you started on the right track.
If you’re unsure where to begin, our advice for new runners leverages newer technology while drawing from a collection of techniques utilized by experienced runners. The ultimate goal is to remove any obstacles associated with running for beginners and make the process easier and more exciting.
With that, let’s cover some of the best things beginner runners can do.
Measure Time, Not Distance
Often, when people plan a new running workout, there is a lot of emphasis on distance. Running a certain number of miles (or kilometers) is pretty standard practice. However, this can often be a daunting task for beginners who are struggling to get started.
The most important thing is to get used to moving for an extended period when starting out. You don’t need to worry about running great distances right away or be concerned about how fast your average pace is.
Start by running for 10 minutes without stopping. Don’t worry about your speed or distance – focus on the act of running itself. Slowly work your way up to longer time increments (15-20 minutes). This can be a great way to ease into running and familiarize yourself with the repetition that goes along with it.
Warm-Ups and Cool Downs
While not the most glamorous part, it is vital that you consider warm-up and cool-down routines as a new runner. These routines involve static and active stretches, slow recovery jogging, and mixing in rest between runs.
The last thing you want when beginning a new hobby is to suffer any type of setback. There is nothing worse than debilitating soreness that lasts for days. Pain can put you off running and stop you on your journey of progression. Making sure your muscles are loose and activated is crucial to avoiding an injury during a run and helping your body recover afterward.
Be sure to set aside 5-10 minutes before and after a run to stretch adequately. Your body will thank you!
Download a Running App
Technology can be a handy tool for new runners. There are many running apps you can download directly to your phone that can help you start.
Some benefits of running apps involve
- Tracking your workout
- Providing useful running statistics
- Planning new workout routines
- Monitoring your progress over time
Running apps can be both fun and engaging. You can use helpful app features to motivate yourself by trying to eclipse your previous running times, extend your running distances, or try to burn more calories. You can also use apps to tailor specific runs that best suit your training needs with plans that vary in degree of difficulty.
Some of the best apps include Strava, MapMyRun, and Runkeeper, but there are plenty of options to peruse and a lot of free options you can test out.
Find a Running Buddy
Another great tool to start running for beginners is finding a partner. The buddy system is a fantastic way to make sure you stick with your new hobby by having someone that will hold you accountable.
Believe it or not, running can be a great social activity, and having someone join you for runs can make working out much more engaging. A partner can push and motivate you to reach new heights while creating a more fun and interactive experience.
As you progress, you can take this to the next level by joining a running group or a full-scale community participating in group runs and events.
Participate in a Race
If tracking your own progress isn’t enough, joining a race is another great way to build enthusiasm for running. This can help you establish your personal goals and motivate you to stick to your workout plan as you prepare.
You can race many different distances, including 5K, 10K, half marathon, and full marathons. Each length comes with its own set of unique training plans and running strategies.
If you are the type of person that likes to plunge into a new activity full tilt, then joining a race as a new runner is a great option to consider.
Incorporate Running Into Your Wider Fitness Goals
The primary motivation most of us have to start running is to get in better physical shape. As previously mentioned, running is a great way to do just that. However, it is far from the only method. One helpful way to increase your physical fitness is by incorporating running into a more extensive overall workout regimen that encompasses a diverse range of activities.
Some beginner runners might come in with pre-existing hobbies such as team sports, swimming, or biking. If that’s the case, running can be an excellent addition to your existing routines and help you in your quest to reach peak physical performance.
If you are starting a training regimen from scratch, incorporating another fitness hobby to support your running workouts will help you get in shape and make sure your training routine stays fresh.
The end goal is to create a nice balance in your routines and not solely rely on running for your physical fitness. This will help to prevent burnout and provide a more well-rounded workout regimen.
Start Running Today
If you are on the fence or unsure how to begin running, the best thing you can do is take the plunge and try it out.
The critical first step is getting out the door and giving it a go. From there, you can utilize a number of the tactics on this list to motivate yourself, maximize your fitness levels and make running more fun and engaging.