When I started running (about seventeen years ago), running wasn’t as popular as it is today. There wasn’t as much information available about it so I didn’t really know where or how to begin. So I just started running and did the best I could.
In the beginning it was basically a run-walk, walk-run thing. It was really hard because running is a little bit different than other sports – it involves your whole body and has a great impact on joints. Therefore it is important to begin with it slowly and gradually so that the body has enough time to adjust to it. I needed a few weeks to get used to it and to feel comfortable doing it. But to overcome the initial (and sometimes really hard) stages, I also needed quite a lot of determination, patience, motivation and goodwill. But it all payed off! 🙂
If you want to start running too, here are a few useful tips & tricks that can help you …
How to start?
Well, if you are not in a good physical condition I would advise you to start with long walks. But be consistent if you want to gain fitness!
In case you already are in a good physical condition, you can start running – but run only short distances at first. Here is a quick plan:
Week 1: 1 minute of walking, 1 minute of running – do this for 15-20 minutes about 3-5 times a week.
Week 2: 1 minute of walking, 2 minute of running – do this for 15-20 minutes about 3-5 times a week.
Week 3: 1 minute of walking, 3 minute of running – do this for 15-20 minutes about 3-5 times a week.
Add 1 more minute of running the next week and 1 more the very next … When you feel strong enough, try to run 5-10 minutes without stopping – but make it an easy run.
It usually takes a person about 6 weeks to be able to run without stoping. But take your time, there is no need to hurry! When your body is ready for the next step, you’ll know. 🙂
What is really important is to listen to your body! It will always tell if you are doing things right or not. And if you feel any kind of pain – stop! It could be just a temporary discomfort or a beginning of an injury. Either way, if you don’t want to worsen the condition stop for a while. If the pain disappears, try again – and if it doesn’t, stop and walk back home! Take a day off of exercising or go for a long walk. If the pain disappears, you can try running again after the day off. If you have no more problems than proceed with the training but be cautious.
Equipment – running shoes and clothes
When I started running I simply thought that any kind of sneakers were good enough for running. And because running wasn’t as popular as it is today, nobody really paid much attention to running shoes or was able to provide information on that topic. (As far as I remember shops were only selling a few pairs of sneakers and they were usually black or white. Horrible, right?! 🙂 ) Therefore it took me quite some time to not only realize the importance of proper running shoes but to also find the proper pair for me.
How do you find proper running shoes? You can either ask a running coach to help you or find a store specialized for selling running shoes that also provides foot scans. I am not sure of how accurate they really are but they can be quite helpful.
At the beginning you probably won’t be running a lot and therefore you don’t need extremely high tech and expensive shoes. Just make sure they are the right ones for your feet and that you feel comfortable enough in them when you wear them.
Last but not least, running clothes. Well, this one is pretty easy! You only need sports clothes like a shirt, pants and socks. And if you are a girl – than getting yourself a good sports bra is a must! Running in a casual bra is not only uncomfortable but can also damage the tissue around your breasts and make them saggy.
When and where to run?
When? For some it’s early morning for others afternoon, evening or sometime in between. I usually run in the afternoon because I feel best at that time. But in the summer or spring I would also do it early in the morning or late in the evening. So it really depends of how I am feeling. Therefore I would advise you to run when you feel good and full of energy. But be consistent – this means running 3-5 times a week – otherwise there won’t be any results!
Where? I prefer hard surfaces like roads and running track in the gym. I rarely run on trails or grass even though the uneven and softer surfaces are supposed to be better – because the impact on the legs and joints is not as strong as it is on harder surfaces and the possibility for injuries is lower. My advice? Find what suits you and mix it up. That means, if you like harder surfaces, that run there but do run on other surfaces too just to mix it up a little and to force other muscles to work too.
Stretch or warm up?
Stretching and warming up are two different activities and so is their purpose. Let me explain them to you …
Stretching refers to the lengthening and relaxation of muscles. It helps restore joint range of motion, improve posture, reduce post-run soreness, improve circulation etc. Because muscles are cold and therefore not as elastic before the exercise they may be more prone to injury. Therefore stretching is advised to be performed only after the activity.
Warm up, on the other hand, prepares the body for physical activity. It needs to be dynamic and should include low intensity movements that will help prepare your body for running and exercising at a higher intensity. Try walking, jogging, dancing, jumping etc. for about 10-15 minutes. Warming up like this is the best thing you can do to prepare your body for intensive training.
Eat as healthy as you can! Fruits, veggies, good carbs, quality protein and healthy fats. And yes, you can indulge but try to keep that for special occasions or for moments when you really feel you need something sweet/salty etc.
Healthy eating will not only give you the energy for your trainings but will also make you feel better and more positive. 🙂
Za slovenske bralce:
Zgornji članek je le kratek povzetek članka ‘Kako začeti teči?’, ki je nastal v sodelovanju s tekaškim trenerjem Urbanom Praprotnikom. Objavljen pa je bil v reviji Lepa in Zdrava in si ga lahko prebereš tukaj. 🙂