How to Run for Beginners
I tried to start running multiple times. You can read about my journey to running here to get the deets. Yes, I’m that person that will say things like deets and da bomb to embarrass my son some day. Many of you that are reading this I’m going to venture to guess are wanting to know how to start running. It is the first of the year and time to start something new. Work on those new year’s resolutions that are honestly a carry over from last year because #2020 happened. This is going to be a beginner’s guide on how to start running and do it without getting hurt.
Why start running?
I think the first thing you need to do before starting to run is figure out your why. Why do you want to run. I believe that running just to run or because so and so does is not a good enough reason. While I think it is wonderful and admittedly I am “obsessed” with it. I think that it takes a lot of motivation to get to that point. I needed to find a reason why. I needed to find a reason other than just to lose weight. I think this is the number one reason people start running and I believe it is a recipe for disaster. Dig deep here. Why do you really want to run. It turns out that my “why” for running is the stress relief but also to find a competitive outlet for myself.
Stop here and think, really think about why you want to run. Write it down. Put it in a place that you can go back to and look at when things get tough when you are starting out. This is the reason that will keep you going. Keep you pushing through the hard times of running and get to the point where it becomes something you can’t live without.
How to start running – step 1
Let’s do this in a step by step way. The first step is to get a training plan. There are a TON of training plans for beginners out there. My recommendation is this one that you can download right below from me. Why do I recommend this one specifically? Because I see a lot out there that is a couch to 5k in 4 weeks and that just isn’t a good idea. It is a recipe for injury. If you are completely new to running I suggest taking at least 8 weeks to get to the point of running for 30 minutes straight.
During this plan there are 2 days for strength training. This is something you should start from the very very beginning. Time after time I see runners come into my clinic with some sort of injury and after some digging (or not much at all) I learn that they don’t strength train. This is the number one mistake for runners (of all levels) in my opinion. You can’t just run. That will end up with you getting hurt. This training plan adds in 2 days for a full body strength training. That’s it. Start the habit now and you will set yourself up for success.
You have several options for strength training.
- check out my Instagram on Fridays for a full-body strength training workout geared toward runners
- buy my strength training for runners program here.
- Check out youtube for some great full-body workouts. Literally, just search for “full-body workout” and you will get tons of results. I love Heather Robertson on youtube. She has great music to go along with great (and tough) workouts.
How to start running – step 1.5
Get some medical clearance. If you are completely new to working out. Please please please check with your primary care physician before starting an exercise program. There are numerous silent killers out there that you need to get checked out for before you start an exercise program. Don’t think that you are fine. I have seen 20-year-olds with high blood pressure. This is not safe and a serious issue if it is you. Just go get checked out first and be safe.
How to run – step 2
Warm-up before each run/workout. This is another injury prevention tip as well as something that will make running feel easier for you. A warm-up isn’t walking for 5 minutes before you go for a run. Check out my Instagram for a running warm-up or (again) look on youtube for some great warm-up exercises.
Trust me. Spend the 5 minutes to warm up. I used to only walk before my run for a warm up and it would take me a solid 10 minutes of my run workout before I felt like I got into my groove. Now that I do a quick 5 minute warm up? I feel so munch better within the first minute of my run.
I don’t recommend standing there and holding stretches for your warm-up like we were all taught to do during our high school careers. Static stretching doesn’t warm our muscles up and it can actually cause us to not have as much force/power during our activity as a result. Stick to dynamic moves to get the blood flowing!
Hydrate and Fuel for your Run – Step 3
Hydrate and eat. One of these caused me a lot of struggle early on. I struggled with eating enough as a younger college-age student. To go back to the why section, I chose to run to lose weight and that resulted in me under-eating. This didn’t only wreck my metabolism and cause more disordered eating for me but it also made running that much harder.
If you want a great resource on fueling for running. I highly recommend Anne of Fannetastic Food because she is a registered dietician and also a runner she has a great amount of personal insight and experience.
The second part of this step is hydration. Make sure you are drinking enough water throughout the day and before your run. I like to run first thing in the morning and always start with a full glass of water at a minimum before heading out the door. I also sometimes add in a Bodyarmor drink to get some electrolytes/energy in as well.
Just run – Step 4
Find a buddy and then just go run.
Sounds so simple. It truly is. I think that finding a buddy to run with either in person or virtually is such a help. I have a friend that I don’t actually run with but we enjoy talking about running and also doing races together. This little bit of accountability is huge for me. If you don’t have a friend to motivate you then shoot me a message on Instagram and I’ll help you out!!
Don’t overcomplicate things. That is my best advice. Just get out there and run. Don’t try to beat your distance or time each time you run. You will be far more successful if you do less than what your max ability is right now. It will help you from getting discouraged after a run if you don’t hit your max distance that you have ever run for each and every workout.
Leave me a comment below and let me know what your why is for running!
See you on the road and keep running ~
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