If you follow me on Instagram, then you will know that I’ve recently picked up a little bit of running. I’ve never been able to run before, because I have struggled with asthma my whole life. Since I made diet changes last year to eliminate dairy, refined sugars, and most grains, I haven’t had as much asthma trouble. In fact, I’m even able to run a mile now!
Just a few weeks ago, I stood at the finish line with my best friend as he completed his first half marathon. I’m not sure I’ll ever become that committed to running and reach a goal like that. However, he was hugely inspirational to me during the last few months of training. What his training time taught me is that you must have a plan.
I thought it would be a great idea to bring on a running pro to share some of their tips on how to get started with running. Check out what Dan Chabert from Runner Click has to say-
It’s never too late to become a runner. There’s no particular age or time to start enjoying the multiple benefits this sport offers. Kids, teens, adults, and even seniors are equally capable of joining the running community. As long as you have no active injuries or health conditions, running will improve many aspects of your life.
Now, given that you’ve made the smart choice of becoming a runner, you’ll want to know where to start. Luckily for you, I have compiled a list of tips that will help you optimize your performance and results.
1. Track your progress
The most rewarding part about running are unquestionably the results. Seeing your efforts generating results is a great source of motivation. Measuring progress is the running equivalent of receiving a paycheck; you can’t help it but smile when you see it.
Having insight on your performance allows you to measure your growth. At the end of the week, go for as long as you can and write down the miles you run. When the end of the next week comes, you’ll have something to look up to. Your own mileage.
2. Footwear does make a difference
Running shoes are called running shoes for a pretty obvious reason. They serve a particular function, which is running. That’s a no-brainer. Yet, I continue to see people running with casual shoes that will deliver nothing but heel bruises. Don’t get me wrong here–I’m not telling you to buy $200 running shoes. Take care of your feet, and they’ll take care of you.
Keep in mind that expensive shoes are expensive for a reason; they’re awesome good. Though, an average sneaker does the trick. A proper running shoe features cushioning, flexibility, shock absorption, breathability, and comfort.
3. Don’t rush it
Progress won’t come in the first week. Triplicating your mileage every week won’t bring you three times more results; it will lead to no results instead. Too much of anything will kill you. The human body needs rest to adapt to the changes introduced into it through exercise.
There should be at least a one-day break between your running days. Make it two if you’re going to increase mileage considerably.
4. Consistency is key
Consistency is one of the bases in every single discipline, not just running. Intensity is important, but consistency goes first. Don’t fear the guy who does 100 miles in a day; fear the guy who does 1 mile every day, for 100 days.
Think of it like that guy in every gym that goes nuts the first day and then disappears. Don’t be that guy. You don’t have to be the fastest one, nor the one who runs the longest. You want to be the one with the most discipline and consistency. Anyone can give their top effort for one day. The key lays in keeping a consistent effort.
5. Avoid monotony
Running will become a routine if you allow it. The last thing you want is having to push yourself into running because you’re bored of it. Running, like everything in life, goes much smoother when you’re enjoying it.
Don’t run around the same space every single time. Instead, try different surroundings, or even various types of running. Trail running is an awesome alternative if you’re looking for something new. Possibilities are limitless when it comes to running. Any open space works, why would you stick with just one? Try the forest, the mountain, the beach, the park. Just try it all.
6. Get a running buddy
A running partner is one of the best methods of making running more enjoyable. When you surround yourself with people that are into running as much as you are, everyone improves. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t hang out with non-runners. I’m just saying if you hang with fit people, you’ll contract fit habits.
Running buddies also give you a bit of a personal challenge. It might be hard to find motivation on your own, but other people can spark it for you. You’ll get to share the experience with someone, and of course, a competitive thought will make you both more motivated.
7. Challenge yourself
One of the most important points in progress are self-challenges. It’s okay to start slow, but you’ll eventually need to step the game up for more progress. Challenging yourself is another smart way to size your advancement. Are you comfortable doing 5 miles? If you are, go for 6 miles next time.
Don’t make it just about mileage. Throw the speed factor in the equation as well. How long can you go without stopping? How consistent are your gaits during the first mile? How fast are you able to perform for a mile?
These are aspects that you should constantly challenge to improve.
8. Join a half-marathon
Talking about challenges, we got this one option called half-marathons. Now, I’m not telling you to go out there and attempt for a gold medal. It’d be marvelous if you did, but don’t look for the first spots on your first shot. The half-marathon idea combines the concepts of challenging yourself, avoiding monotony, and even having a running pal.
Go up to your friend and drop the idea on them. If they’re as passionate as you are, they won’t think twice before joining. Weren’t you able to make it? Doesn’t matter. You’ll prepare better, and try again. Don’t try to race, keep in mind you might be facing some elite marathon runners.
Did you complete it? Start preparing for a full marathon. Once you complete your first one, you won’t want to stop.
9. Perform yoga
Yoga is a much-underestimated activity. Most runners don’t think of yoga as a serious practice, not having a clue of how wrong they are. Yoga is arguably the best complementing activity for athletes, along with weight training.
This practice relieves tension off your muscles and improves both flexibility and joint functionality. In other words, yoga drastically reduces your chances of getting injured while running. When combining yoga, strength training, and running, you’ll reach your greatest aerobic capacity.
A lot of runners would be surprised by the amount of healthy features and benefits that yoga delivers.
An entrepreneur and a husband, Dan hails from Copenhagen, Denmark. He loves to join ultra-marathon races and travel to popular running destinations together with his wife. During regular days, he manages his websites, Runnerclick, That Sweet Gift, Monica’s Health Magazine and GearWeAre. Dan has also been featured in several popular running blogs across the world.