If you're thinking about taking up running, check out these 5 tips that will help you to not only start your running journey, but keep you motivated and running right through to your first race!
1. Choose a tangible goal
Tangible goals are essential for running as they help clarify where you are right now. They set a baseline and help you define what to do and the tools you need in order to get there.
What makes a goal tangible? It’s measurable, specific, achievable, and helps you to focus your efforts. Choose number-based goals, as numbers are concrete and measurable. They tell you how far away your goal is and how much more work you have yet to do. Based on the numbers, you’ll easily know when you’ve achieved it.Tangible goals also help create personal motivation. Once you define that goal, you have a much better chance of obtaining it. And if you declare it to a friend? Practically done!
2. Set a fixed running time
Make your running time non-negotiable, that means it’s a fixed appointment. When it’s time for your scheduled workout, don’t ask yourself if you “feel” like going or wonder whether maybe today’s not the “right” day to run. Get dressed and go. You can ponder the merits of your run after it’s done, perhaps while lounging in your robe and sipping a glass of sparkling water. Beforehand, it’s just distraction and self-sabotage.
3. Eat the right food
The quality and quantity of the food you consume has an impact on your health and well-being, not to mention your running and each individual has to find what nutrition plan works best for his or her body.
This depends on a multitude of factors. Age, gender, and hormones will influence how your food is processed and metabolized. There is no right or wrong way. But if you have fitness or running goals, you need to start examining your eating habits and figure out what works best for you. Which foods supply you with more energy to run but also keep the scale on an even keel?
4. Make walking part of your runs
One of the most popular goals that new runners have is to run the entire distance without having to walk. In their desire to become runners, they see walking as a cop-out or failure. But it’s not. Walking can actually be your secret weapon. In this initial stage of training, it’s normal to experience muscular fatigue as your body gets accustomed to new exercises and movement. Walking is the fastest way to restore energy back to those muscles. So don’t be afraid to make walking part of your runs if you need to do so. A few short walking breaks can also make you a faster runner.
5. Buy some proper running shoes
Running shoes are the most important part of your running kit. Those ratty old sneakers lurking in the back of the wardrobe will not do. Your footwear is all that’s protecting your body from the impact of your feet hitting the road. So treat yourself to a pair of well-fitted, quality running shoes that suit your feet.
Shopping for running shoes can be overwhelming, with all the jargon and wacky models on offer. We strongly recommend going to a specialist running store for your first purchase. It will save you time and money. You will often find the assistants are runners, experienced in fitting people of all ages, shapes, and sizes. They’ll know what to look for and what models may suit you. Don’t feel intimidated—you’re a real runner and the staff are there to help.
For more tips and training plans for beginner runners, check out Up and Running by Julia Jones and Shauna Reid