So you’ve always wanted to get started as a runner yet never managed to assemble a lasting routine. No matter how much you’ve struggled to get started on your life as a runner, there is always hope for anyone willing to reload with some helpful hints that could send you on your way to a sustainable training regimen. Here are five ways to turn that impossible goal of being a runner into a reality.
Don’t Break in Running Shoes
In addition to running too hard or too long at the beginning, another way to derail a beginner can be to use the wrong shoes, which is why picking up the right pair can make all the difference. Contrary to common belief and practice, the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society suggests that you actually shouldn’t be breaking in shoes at all before beginning your training. Instead, a prospective runner should find shoes that are immediately comfortable to both run and walk in, as having to break in a pair is a sign that you don’t have the right fit.
To ensure that you have the right set, an easy way to test new shoes is to try them on at the end of a training session or at the end of the day, when feet tend to be at their largest. It’s also a good idea to make sure that you have the same type of sock (preferably a breathable, athletic-type) and to pick up new athletic shoes from a specialty store, if possible.
Ease Into It
This sounds a lot simpler than it actually is, mainly because it requires patience and determination to slowly build your body into running shape if you’ve never been a runner before. While you might want to immediately jump into full running sessions, the much more effective (and healthier) method is to start with brisk walks and then slowly incorporate just a bit of running into your session in the early going. Once you’ve established some running as a part of your regular exercise, your body will be in a much better position to steadily increase your running.
Some recommendations call for assimilating one minute of running for every four minutes of walking, allowing for a steady base to build upon. Ultimately, even a beginner can improve to a minute of running for every two minutes of walking in a relatively short period of time, sending a runner on his or her way to full running sessions, if desired.
Don’t Do the Stretch and Hold Routine
Another way a beginner can get started on the wrong path is relying upon stretching and holding, which can be great for after a run but is a poor way to get your body ready for a vigorous exercise. In fact, experts point out that such static stretches can actually hinder an athlete’s performance, making it even more difficult for a beginner runner to get started.
Instead, implementing dynamic exercises like standing and alternating bringing your knees up as high as you can, or simply taking a brisk walk, can be the perfect way to help your cells generate the oxygen and energy you need to maximize your workout regimen. Afterwards, a short cool-down walk followed by more traditional, static stretches like touching your toes can be a great method to wrap up.
Although regular exercise can, over the long haul, significantly increase energy, you definitely shouldn’t anticipate the effect happening for a while. For the average body, it can take somewhere between four and six weeks for a runner to notice any positive change in energy levels, and the more likely effect for a beginner is feeling significant drained in the early going. Being able to recognize that it’s completely natural to feel wiped out in the early phases of your new life as a runner can help you push forward to enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Establish an Eating Routine
If you’re planning on just getting up a little early and slipping in a run before work on an empty stomach, you might be surprised at how difficult your regimen is to maintain. The main reason? Your body really needs at least some sort of appropriate snack to get the most out of your training, even if it’s only a quick snack of mostly carbs that includes a high glycemic score (e.g. bread, protein bars). With the right quick snack, you can be ready to roll just 30 minutes after consumption. For larger meals, giving yourself two to four hours before heading out on a run is essential for helping you reach your goals.