Found on RunnersWorld.com and written by Budd Coates
Giving advice to a new runner? Make sure you stick to these rules.
If you’ve been running for any amount of time, undoubtedly other people have asked you one of two questions (maybe both):
Why do you run?
How could I get started?
While every runner’s answer to the first question will vary, the answer to the second question does not. This step-by-step guide will help you get anyone—whether they’re athletic or not—started on the right foot.
The transition from walking to running doesn’t have to be a difficult one. All you need to do is leave the ground and land after each step. That, however, is what makes it more stressful on your body, and when something is stressful, taking breaks is important.
That’s why we suggest mixing running with walking as someone progresses into becoming a runner. Our plan on how to start run-walking will show you how to ease into a becoming a runner while staying healthy and energized.
The main difference between walking and running is leaving the ground and landing. That means whatever protection you may have between you and the ground is rather important, and finding the right pair of shoes is crucial.
Your feet aren’t as unique as your fingerprints, but they are specific to you. The best source to fit your feet is your local running specialty retailer. Here’s how to work with the salesperson to find the perfect pair.
What to wear? In most cases, we start a running program in spring, summer, or fall, and we run outside. In most cases, you will have all the clothes you need to start running in your dresser or closet. Loose but comfortably fitting clothes that allow your body to breathe are key.
Air transferring over your skin allows your body to cool, resulting in more comfort. Many of us want to hide our legs and arms, but shorts and a short-sleeved shirt or tank top will be the most comfortable choice. Still not sure what to put on for a run? Try our What to Wear Tool.
Finding the time to carry out your new running plan can be difficult, but setting aside 30 to 45 minutes for yourself three times a week will pay dividends for years to come.
The single most important thing you can do is “book your running time.” Enter it on your home calendar, in your smartphone, or wherever you plan your schedule. Treat it like it’s a doctor’s appointment—no getting out of it. Once you get into this new habit, it will flow smoothly, and those around you will respect this time.
If someone wants you during this time, have them join you!
Respect the environment. That means knowing the weather and terrain and how it will affect you. If you live on a hill, walk to the bottom or top before you start your run. If that’s too far to walk or it doesn’t lead you to flatter lands, drive to an area where flatter running options are available.
It’s warmest from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on most days. That means on cold days, it will be nice to run at those times. On hot days, you want to avoid those times. Early-morning and late-evening runs can prove to be your best option just because you have less going on in your busy life.
Nutrition before and after your running is not a huge factor at this stage unless you’re eating too much. Try not to eat anything one to two hours before you run, and just drink some water afterward. If you run first thing in the morning, you can most likely head out the door without a small breakfast, but if you find the urge to eat something, a banana or slice of toast with water is plenty.
Walk slow; run slow. You’ll note the walk/run plan above lists only walking time and running time. There’s no mention of distance or pace. All runs should be at a speed:
That you can talk nonstop during.
That you could probably achieve by walking fast.
If that’s not the case, you are running too fast. If you attempt to power-walk between running segments, then you won’t allow your body to recover, making completing any workout session more difficult because of added fatigue. If you walk slow and run slow at the start, you will progress injury-free from week to week.
Speaking of staying injury-free, respect those non-running days. Your new activity will take its toll on your legs, so give them a break. If you do choose to exercise between running days, make sure your exercise doesn’t involve your legs heavily.