Starting out in running can often be a difficult & confusing process!
What do I do, how do I do it, where do I do it, how often do I need to do it? All perfectly good & relevant questions when it comes to starting out in running.
The good news is I am here to help! I will soon be celebrating my 9th anniversary with endurance sports. I must say its been a pretty amazing relationship!
Running that first marathon, as some of you know, changed the course & general direction of my life fairly quickly. I will however say I have never felt as much physical pain as I did on that day.
Not to turn you off the idea of running a marathon someday – but let’s face it. Nobody runs 26.2 miles because it feels good. You do it because you want to push and go to another level than where you currently are.
Mentally it changes you.
So how do you convince someone to embrace both a physical challenge & physical suffering.
It is tough – I believe the person themselves must be open to the physical & mental challenges.
That being said – I also believe that someone trying to run their first 5km and someone trying to run their first 50 km ultra marathon, are in fact, very similar. Physically the challenge at hand is different yes, but you still struggle & suffer. You still face similar mental barriers.
So what I want to do here with the article & blog post is to hopefully help someone new to this wonderful sport. Help them realize that they are good enough and that with enough patience & persistence you can see progress. That progress being both physical & mental!
If you are new to running or endurance in general I have set up a new Facebook Support Group – it’s called The Beginners Guide To Running & you can join for free by click HERE. This group is exclusively for people starting out & that are in the early days of their running life.
Any of my clients or members find training with others is a great way to stay accountable and to keep yourself motivated I guess! As the most of my training with clients is done online via the app. The Beginners Guide To Running Group should be a helpful resource for those looking for that added support!
Now let’s get into some practical tips you can implement today & going forward to help you along the way!
Take it easy
I guess it is the typical tip to give from the outset really! Personally, I think people get very hung up on numbers, stats & data. Yes they have a place and are important sometimes. But they are not the most vital part of the puzzle! In your early days I think you should be focusing on two main things & they are (1) consistency and (2) enjoyment.
So taking your sessions easy, not going hard trying to hit paces or numbers or distances in the early days is really important. Run to enjoy it and get the extra daily movement in. Then, in time, add in your watch & trackers if you want to!
You might read online and in magazines etc that you should increase distances by X amount per week. I like to take a bi-weekly approach where someone that is just starting would increase their weekly mileage or load every two weeks. This just gives the body a little bit more time to adapt to the training!
A Run Walk Combo Is Oaky!
Rome wasn’t built in a day & neither were you! So my advice here would be to look at adopting a walk run strategy to help get the overall distance up and help with the specific conditioning. It will take a while for your body to adapt to the new training & the extra training stress so give it the time!
For example a walk run combo might look like this. Jog for as long as you can whether it be 15 seconds or 50 seconds. Nice work! Now walk until your heart rate comes down to a safe level and do that 15 or 50 seconds again! And then recover again for as long as it takes! Repeat this cycle 5,6 or even 10 times. Be proud of yourself & then come back in a day or two and do it again!
The real key here is to keep showing up everyday folks – not leave one hard session get you down & know that long term you will win & you will change for the better!
Mix It Up!
I think it is important to train the body in more days than one. When I started out running I picked up quite a few injuries – feet & knees mainly!
I now understand that they were overuse injuries from training in a similar way all the time. Fast forward a few years and I now train more than I did previously obviously and pick up 75% less injuries.
Of course, I have learned to listen to my body but I am also more open minded to the term “cross training” too! Now cross training isn’t just for the elite – it is for the likes of me & you too!
So for example instead of starting out running 3/4 days per week & burning the candle from both ends – why not run three days per week, walk one evening a week & attend a fitness class on the 5th evening or morning in the week! This way you are training consistently but also able to safely increase your overall volume on a weekly basis!
It might also be a good idea to look at mixing u the surfaces you run on when starting out! Change it up and add in some grass or park area running, maybe the beach or the track too! Just to take some pressure off the joints too!
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