Running 101: Taking The First Steps
Good Content from: Team Saucony
So, you want to be a runner? It seems like the most natural thing in the world, doesn’t it? After all, the first thing human beings do after they learn to walk is try to run. But, if you’re taking up distance running for the first time there are a few things you should do to make the experience the best it can be. If you start running the right way, chances are you’ll keep doing and keep enjoying it for a lifetime.
1. Get the right pair of running shoes
Well, of course we were going to say that. But, it also happens to be true. There are several factors that go into determining what kind of shoe is best for each runner. But, finding that perfect pair is going to give you a huge advantage as you begin and maintain a running program. Go to our Shoe Advisor or check out this piece to see which running shoes are the right fit for you.
2. Start slow
Nobody expects you to be running a 10K the first time you hit the road. And you shouldn’t expect that of yourself either. In fact, there may be times during those first several runs when you have to (whispers) walk. And that’s okay. Try running for five or 10 minutes without stopping. Then, walk for a minute or two and try another five- or 10-minute run. Or, you can go for distance. See if you can run a mile without stopping. Then, gradually add to your time and/or distance as you get stronger and more confident. You’ll be surprised how quickly you improve.
3. Get warm
It’s not like someone is firing a starting pistol every time you go for a run. You don’t have to break into your mid-run pace as soon as you step out the door. Start at a walk for a few minutes, increase gradually to a trot and then take it up to a run when you’re ready. By the same token, don’t just come to a dead stop when your run is over. Slow it down to a jog and then walk it off. Your legs will thank you.
4. Stick to the program
There are a million reasons to run and just as many excuses not to. If your plan is to run three times a week for 30 minutes at a time, put it in your calendar as you would any important meeting or event. The most common reason that people stop running (or don’t even start) is that they say they don’t have time for it. But, if you’ve already made time for it then you’re probably going to keep that appointment.
5. Change it up
There’s nothing more boring than doing the same workout day after day. The same thing goes for your run. Vary the length and intensity of each run as you go. If you do a long run one day, do a shorter run the next time out. This will help your leg muscles recover faster and make each run feel like a different experience. You should also switch up your route as often as you can. A change of scenery keeps things fresh and interesting.
6. Stay healthy
You’ve likely heard plenty on the topics of keeping hydrated and eating right. These are especially important for runners as dehydration can lead to cramps and muscle strains while poor nutrition will prevent you from optimizing your runs. Drink plenty of fluids and avoid foods that are high in sugar and fat. You’ll feel better before, during and after your run.
7. Say no to pain
If running is causing you pain, stop immediately. You’ve likely overextended yourself either in distance or frequency. Go back to walking and then mix in short bursts of running when you feel up to it. Eventually, you’ll be able run without pain and work back to where you were before you got hurt. But, don’t rush it. You’ll get there soon enough.