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“It’s never too late until you believe it is!” This saying certainly applies to running. Regardless of your age or fitness level, the road is always paved for you to start your amazing running adventure. This comprehensive article is packed with essential tips every aspiring runner needs to know.
Tip 1: Visit a Physician
Better safe than sorry! It’s always recommended for new runners to check out with a physician especially under the following conditions: breathing problems, overweight, heart problems, chronic fatigue, above forty, and if you have no running background whatsoever.
Tip 2: Start with a walk/run program
“Too much too soon” is a big NO unless you want to quite within weeks because of fatigue, injury or both! “Slowly but surely” is how all successful runners began their running journey. You must incorporate walking into your running routine especially if you’re an absolute beginner. In doing so, you’ll reap all the healthy rewards of walking while slowly and steadily building up your pace and, in the mean time, reducing the risk of injuries.
Tip 3: Check your heart rate regularly
Most beginning runners are so keen to monitoring their weight but they often forget to check their pulse. As you probably know, Running is mainly a cardiovascular activity. It actually trains your heart to pump more blood to your body with every heartbeat. As a result, you would eventually need less beats to work for you.
It’s highly recommended to check your pulse regularly and monitor your improvement. The ideal checking moment is just after waking up. Here’s how you do it: Count your heartbeats for ten seconds. Then, multiply the number by six to calculate your total pulse per minute.
If you’re running regularly and within your fitness level, you should notice steady improvement in your heart rate. Of course, it wouldn’t happen in a day or two but you should see measurable results within weeks or months in some cases.
It’s very important to remember that if your heart rate increased by five to eight beats per minute one day than the day before, chances are high that you’re overdoing it. In this case, it’s advisable to take a rest and check the pulse again the next day. Once it’s back to the old level, you could start running again.
Tip 4: Keep a running log
Most experienced runners assert that keeping a running log is by far the best way to keep track of their progress. The good news is: You don’t even have to buy a running log. Simply make up your own on a paper or computer spreadsheet. Your running log should include basic information about your runs including: time, distance, type of workout, weight and pulse.
It goes without saying that you will become extremely motivated to feel that all your effort is paying off, as you see your mileage increase while your pulse and weight decrease thanks to running.
Also read our article: “Keeping Track: Why a Running Log is Important”
Tip 5: Listen to your body
It’s never too late until you believe it is!
You could become your own coach once you learn to listen to your body. Muscle pains and tiredness are perfectly normal running pains. However, beware if during or after the run, you start to feel dizzy or experience pain in the chest area, the legs, or the back.
In this case, you must stop running immediately and start walking or completely resting. Later on, you’d need to decrease your training load or even stop when necessary until the pain is ceased. If still in pain after all, you must check with your physician.
With experience, you’ll understand you body signals and learn when to keep going and when to stop.
Tip 6: Lower Your Intensity
Don’t fall into the trap of starting at a too high intensity. Paradoxically, the slower you go when you begin, the faster you will become in the end! “Base building” is by far the most essential part of your running. This will result in easy running in the future. Low intensity running for beginners is an excellent aid in avoiding overtraining. If, at the end of your workout, you would tell yourself: ’I could’ve gone a bit longer’, it’s a clear indication that you’ve been running at the right pace.
Tip 7: Maintain regular workouts and healthy diet
To ensure maintaining steady progress, it’s far much better to run three to four times a week for thirty minutes than two run once a week for two hours. It’s very important to ensure that you follow an effective running schedule that takes into consideration slow yet regular build-up.
It’s important to maintain a healthy diet if you strive to make the most out of your running. Poor eating habits could easily sabotage your effort and hinder your desired progress.
Tip 8: Warm up then cool down and incorporate Cross-training
Warming up is an excellent way to send your body a clear message that you’re about to become physically active. This way, your heart and legs could adjust properly. This’s how the ideal running warm up works: Start in a brisk walk followed by easy running for couple of minutes or so.
When you finish your running, take a few of minutes to cool down by running very slowly and walking in the last minutes of your workout. Finish with a stretch.
Maintaining warm-ups and cool downs greatly helps in reducing muscle pains which, in turn, improves your overall recovery process.
Cross training refers to other wonderful exercises that you could easily add to your running routine. They include swimming, biking, hiking, Pilates…etc. The beauty of cross training is that it helps increasing your fitness level while giving your running-muscles a break.
Tip 9: Live, Eat and Breath running!
If you aspire to become a good runner, surround your life with everything related to running. Become an obsessed running fanatic! Subscribe to a running magazine and occasionally pay a visit to a running store to find out about the latest running trends.
Find a local race and set a goal to compete in it. This will motivate you to keep up with your training plan.
Tip 10: Set goals and celebrate your successes
I couldn’t think of a better ways to keep motivated than setting attainable goals for yourself. Try to set S.M.A.R.T. goals which are:
Examples of S.M.A.R.T. goals include:
- Running at least three times per week thirty minutes each
- Losing ten pounds in three months.
- Finishing a local 5K race which will be held twelve weeks from now
And so on…
Give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done. Celebrate your successes and get ready for the next challenge. What are you waiting for?! The time is now. The place is here. Just do it!