When you start running for the very first time, it may feel like your heart rate raises faster than you can say “is this run over yet?” or that your legs have 50-pound weights attached to them. BUT it will give you a damn healthy heart and a nice pair of legs.
However, you can have the latter without the former if you do it correctly. How to start running you ask?
All you need to get started is the willingness to do so and a good pair of running shoes. It can’t get any simpler than that! West Way Run Crew has developed a community that can assist you from taking your very first steps to stepping up to the start line of your very first race. Ready, set.. let’s go over some running tips to get you started!
Not a runner? That’s OK
Not long ago I wasn’t one either. If you were to tell me 7 months ago that I would run 100km in one week, let alone one month, I would think you are crazy. This has now become my weekly norm – happily and willingly. By no means am I advocating to go out and start running that number of kilometers per week but the point I am trying to make is that we all start somewhere. I didn’t get there overnight; it took weeks and months of training to build up to that amount of mileage.
The beautiful thing about running is that it only gets easier the more you do it and the improvements are very evident during the beginning stages.
For those new to running, start out by doing run/walks three times per week (slow jog for one minute, walk for one minute, and alternate between the two). The goal is to build up to doing more running and less walking each time you go out. Do you hate running? That’s OK. Not long ago, I used to hate it too! Not everyone experiences love at first jog.
Understanding that running is a scenic journey with unlimited possibilities rather than a dreaded chore has helped me enjoy running a lot more (the cute workout outfits help too).
You don’t have to run a personal best every time you tie your laces. It is important to slow down and smell the roses sometimes– that is where the magic happens. Start slow.
Set realistic goals on your runs
The biggest mistake you can make is setting a running goal that is not realistic. Qualifying to the Olympics and running three-minute kilometers all sounds great – but they tend to take years to achieve.
They are both possible, but if you are a new runner, make sure that the expectations you set for yourself are personal to you and your current fitness. While having a long-term goal is great, but it is also crucial to have ‘mini goals’ to work along the way. These mini-goals can act as milestones that bring you closer to your main goal.
If your primary goal is to run a 3km without stopping and you are new to running, you should start with the run/walk as exemplified above. Begin by alternating between a one-minute jog and a one-minute run, your first milestone should be to progress to five minutes of continuous jogging.
You’ll go from five minutes of running to ten to twenty and eventually to a full 3km in no time! Keep setting realistic checkpoints as they can act as a great tool to track your progress towards your primary goal and keep you motivated.
Keep a running log (download a running app like Strava or Nike Run Club)
For me, keeping a running log does more than just tickle the OCD part of my brain. Even before I became a runner, I used to keep a journal of my training, workouts, etc. Yes, journal. Yes, pen and paper. All I’m saying is that I was using Strava and Nike Run Club manually before they were cool, or before it was even a thing.
Personally, it helped me stay accountable to my training, make changes when something was not working as well as it was a way for me to track my progress. Now, since apps like Strava and Nike Run Club became available outside of my notebook, I have been utilizing their capabilities. These apps will give you a wealth of knowledge when it comes to training.
It will help you determine if what you are doing is working by outlining your progress over time. Sometimes the answer is not to run more, believe it or not, it may actually be the opposite. Without a running log, you would not be able to make such conclusions and changes.
It is also useful to track those milestones that we spoke about when working towards a goal. You will be able to see how long it took you to reach your goals. Strava and Nike Run Club are free to download in the app store of your smartphone and are very easy to use. The only information you will need to record is the distance, duration, and if you would like to include, the format of your run/workout.
….maybe this running thing is not so bad after all. Now it’s time to enjoy the unlimited miles available on the other side of your door. I’ll see you there! 😊
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