Running is one sporting activity that just about anyone can become involved in, regardless of athletic ability. It also has the lowest bar of entry. Even those without shoes can participate! Just step foot out your front door and you too can be a runner.
If you haven’t attempted to run in a long time, you may find that you run out of gas quickly into your initial run. As running works a variety of muscles, you will likely find that they are not built up enough to sustain a running pace if you haven’t been running for a long time.
Don’t give up! Here at NordicTrack, we have constructed a guide to help you go from casual walker to runner in no time.
Before You Begin, Meet With Your Physician
Yes, we are going to have to insist on this point. Going in for a routine physical to assess your physical fitness isn’t a huge deal, but it can help your physician protect you from future injuries. If you are cleared by your doctor, proceed with following the rest of this guide.
Outfitted To Protect Yourself From Injuries
On the most basic level, good shoes are a great tool for running. What defines a good shoe is:
- Comfortable yet snug fit from heel to midfoot.
- Room in the toebox of the shoe, so your toes can spread out as you run.
- Sturdy laces to support your shoes.
- Cushioning appropriate to your comfort and needs.
If you are unsure how to assess whether you have found the right shoes for you, we recommend you go to a specialty running store. These specialty stores have employees with plenty of experience, who are able to help you find the perfect shoe.
Extras you may want to consider to help you build your fitness:
- Workout clothes – Sweat-wicking and breathable clothing can make a huge comfort difference when it comes to working out.
- Treadmill – You won’t be a slave to uncertain temperatures or time constraints when you have a treadmill to workout on. It can help you train consistently, so you aren’t easily tempted to skip a day’s workout.
- Running belt – If you need to carry things like your phone, keys, cash, or a snack, having a running belt is a handy way to cart these things around without trying to find a nonexistent pocket on your running clothes.
Choose A Goal Race
If you are just starting to run, aim for shorter race lengths like a 5K race or half marathon as your training goal. These races generally are fun and relaxed with a variety of participants. Training for a shorter race is also a great way for you to learn if you want to become more immersed in the running culture and aim for the dreaded 26.2 miler.
Follow A Training Plan
There are plans for practically every race length available. As a fresh beginner, you will want to start with a novice training plan. By sticking to a program, you can ease yourself correctly into your new workout regime, and avoid injuries that occur when you push too hard, too fast.
Cross Train To Strengthen Your Body
It is vital to cross train as you start your running workouts. Taking time to strengthen the rest of your body will help prevent future injuries. However, some kinds of workouts can injure you and prevent you from running. So, when looking for good cross training workouts, we recommend:
Give Yourself Permission To Walk
Many people don’t want to “admit weakness” and walk when their bodies are screaming for relief. But there is nothing weak about walking. In fact, if you push yourself too hard, you could seriously injure yourself.
Pain is an indicator that something is wrong. Discomfort is likely something you will have to push through, but when the pain switches from mildly uncomfortable to sharply painful, allow yourself to slow to a walk.
Be Sure To Stretch Post-Run
While we recommend dynamic stretches (ie – jumping jacks, push-ups, etc.) before your run, it is even more important that you stretch post-run. For post-run stretches, feel free to do static stretches (ie – sit and reach, hip flexor stretch, etc.).
By doing these stretches post-workout, you can help cool your muscles down without running the risk of over-stretching cold muscles.
Most of all, have fun! Whether you need a new, upbeat music playlist every week or running buddy to chat with, find what makes running fun for you. Also, running releases endorphins, so enjoy those good feelings and take your running from zero to sixty in no time.