Found on Competitor.com
- By Mario Fraioli and Caitlyn Pilkington
New to running? Here are some tips to keep you on track.
1. Get a good pair of shoes
If you’re a novice runner or completely new to running, you should start by visiting a specialty running store, where you can get fit into the right shoes for your feet, gait, fitness and running goals. Consider the $100-$150 price an investment in your health for the entire year.
2. Follow a training plan
Though you can improve your fitness by just going out and running, it’s much better to follow a training plan — especially if your goal is to run a 10K, half marathon or marathon. Consider joining a local training group so you can run with others on occasion and get the guidance of a coach.
3. Run at more than one speed
The easiest way to get into a running rut or stall on a mental and physical plateau is to run the same speed and distance every single day. Running at various speeds (or heart rate levels) will allow you to take your fitness to the next level and get your body race-fit for your big day.
4. Run in different places
Just as you shouldn’t run the same pace every day, you shouldn’t run in the same place every day either. Seeking out new routes and varying your terrain will not only keep things fun and interesting, but it will also help you to improve your weaknesses, whether it’s charging an uphill, rolling down the other side or finding a consistent rhythm on flat ground.
5. Keep a training log
Writing down your workouts or recording them with an app or an online log will inspire you to be consistent, will help you adjust your training, and will ultimately boost your confidence.
6. Don’t train alone
Sometimes running alone is exactly what you need. But training with partners on occasion can help keep things fun and inspiring, plus you’ll have to be accountable to someone other than yourself — and it can push you to run faster.
7. Get stronger
If you want to be a consistent runner, you’ve got to do more than just run. To avoid overuse injuries and lessen ongoing fatigue from running, do exercises and drills to strengthen the muscles in your feet, ankles, lower legs and core. Check out our numerous articles about running-specific strength exercises and running-form drills.
8. Sign up for a race
Easily the biggest way to get yourself in motion is to sign up for a race. If you’re new to running, give yourself enough time for proper training (at least six months for a marathon and four months for a half marathon). Once it’s on the calendar, you’ll have something to motivate you every day.
9. Go gadget-free
Watches, GPS units and heart-rate monitors can be great tools for tracking speed and effort, but they can also become consuming if you are too reliant on them. From time to time, pick out a route and just go at a pace that feels good. It will free your mind and can increase enjoyment levels. If you run with music, consider running without your phone (or switching it to airplane mode) to avoid outside distractions.
10. Practice patience
For all its enjoyments, running also has its share of frustrations, whether it’s trying to get faster, get past an annoying injury, or achieve that runner’s high you’ve heard about. The solution? Be patient. Improvement of any sort takes time. Knowing that is an essential part of the process of becoming a runner.