Today is an exciting day! One of my goals this year is to share more information about running. I mean my blog is called Recipe Runner, and I feel like I haven’t been sharing nearly enough about all things running. So starting today and every Tuesday I will be sharing all kinds of tips, advice, and knowledge about this crazy thing called running! What better name for this new segment on the blog than to call it, Training Tip Tuesday! For the first edition of Training Tip Tuesday I thought it would be best to start at the beginning and talk about my Top 5 Tips for Beginner Runners.
It’s the start of a new year and for many of us that means incorporating more exercise into our lives. If you’ve ever thought about trying running I’m here to give you 5 tips that I have found to be so important over my 16 years of being a runner. Before we dive in I want to make sure you are aware that I am not a coach or medical professional by any means and before you start any kind of exercise routine you should check with your doctor to make sure this type of exercise is ok for your body.
Tip #1: Be Realistic
So you’ve decided to give this running thing a try. You step outside in your new running shoes, clothes, and watch and feel like you could run for miles. As you start running that first 1/4 mile feels pretty good and you think, “I’ve got this, piece of cake!”. Then suddenly after the 1/2 mile mark things aren’t feeling as good. You’re breathing hard, your legs don’t feel as light as they did when you started, you have a side ache, and all those positive thoughts are starting to turn negative. Before you know it that 3 mile run has turned into a 1 mile walk/run and you are beating yourself up wondering why you ever thought you could do this.
If you are new to running you have to realize it takes time to build up the strength and endurance to do that 3 mile run. Instead of going out thinking you are going to run all 3 miles, be REALISTIC with yourself! Tell yourself I’m going to go out there and run for 3 or 4 minutes, then I’ll take a break and walk for 2 minutes, then repeat the process. Over time those walking breaks will become less and before you know it you’ll be able to do that 3 mile run.
Tip #2: Invest in a good pair of running shoes
Shoes. They are the most important piece of running equipment you will ever own. Yes they can be expensive, but if you are planning to make running part of your life it is an investment you need to make. Please don’t go to a big box sporting goods store to get your shoes. Instead, look up a local running shoe store. These local stores are owned and run by people who are avid runners and can properly fit you with the correct shoe. Having the right shoe can significantly reduce your risk of injury over time.
Tip #3: Build Mileage Gradually and Focus on Distance Rather than Speed
Don’t go out on your first run thinking you are going to run a 5:00 minute mile or run 50 miles over the course of a week. Doing too many miles too soon will more than likely lead to an injury, shin splints being a big one for new runners. Just as packing on mileage too soon can cause injury so can speed. The faster you run the more stress you are putting on your body and mind. Let the distance come first then you can start worrying about speed.
Tip #4: Make Running a Habit
If you want to be a runner it’s going to require more than just going out once a week for a casual run. Don’t sign up for a race and think that doing a few training runs is going to prepare you. You bought those good quality running shoes for a reason, don’t let them sit in your closet and collect dust! Find something or someone that inspires you and use that as motivation to keep with your running routine. Even on days when your motivation is low and the couch is calling your name, lace up those running shoes and get out there. I’ve never met someone who regretted going for a run!
Tip #5: Set Goals
Setting goals is what keeps us motivated. Whether that goal is to be able to run a mile without stopping or sign up for your first 5k race, make goals! Goals give us something to work towards. Running is much more fun and you are far more likely to get out there and do it if you are working towards something. Everyone’s goals are different so take some time to think about what yours are and write them down.
I hope these tips have been helpful in guiding you into the world of running! All of these tips are ones that I have found to be helpful throughout my years of running. Always remember that running is a slow and steady process. If you stick with it you will be amazed at what your body is capable of!