Found on RunnersWorld.com and written by Susan Paul
I’m going to begin running and I want to be sure I start out right. I have seen several friends suffer from injuries when they began running, so I’m looking for advice on what I can do to help ensure my success.
Thanks for your help!
I would say that you are off to a great start already because you are doing your research ahead of time! Good for you! While there are no guarantees, training smart is the way to go.
The number one mistake new runners are most inclined to make is downplaying the importance of getting a proper shoe fit and purchasing the appropriate running shoes for them. Many think they can start their training and then, at some later point in time, get running shoes. Or, they find a pair running shoes on sale or a style they like and purchase them without a fitting. Wrong! Find a specialty running store and schedule a shoe fit before you begin training. The shoe fit should involve measuring your foot, watching you walk, watching you run, maybe even have you run on a treadmill, and/or allow you to run around in the shoes before purchasing them. If you don’t have access to such a running store, check with local physical therapists, sports orthopedists or podiatrists, or other sports medicine professionals to see if they can assess you. Or, ask some of your running friends for a referral. Running in the shoe that is right for YOU is the most important tip of all!
For other tips, I polled some of the runners I coach for additional input and put together these top tips. I hope they help you!
TOP 10 NEWBIE TRAINING TIPS-
- GET A SHOE FIT- Schedule a professional running shoe fit and purchase the right shoe for you. Do not base your choice on the color of the shoe or a style you like. You will not be thinking about what your shoes look like when you cross the finish line!
- PICK A RACE- Picking a race establishes your targeted distance and defines your training. The race date gives you a deadline and helps provide motivation and commitment.
- FIND THE RIGHT TRAINING PLAN…. FOR YOU!- Begin at the beginning. Find a plan that is compatible with your current fitness level. Don’t start above your head. Your training plan should reflect your targeted race date, the distance you are training for, and your present fitness level.
- SLOW DOWN- Run slow or even walk first before running. Keep a conversational run pace for at least three months as you develop your running base. Take walk breaks as needed. Focus on increasing your run time or your distance in gradual increments rather than your run pace.
- MAKE RUNNING FRIENDS- Running friends will help support your new sport and lifestyle and may help encourage you to train. Meeting up with others for runs makes you accountable too. Making training a “social event” can make it fun and safer too!
- RUN AT LEAST THREE DAYS A WEEK- Training plans that are three or four days a week allow you recovery time between runs while still providing enough training stimulus to promote health and fitness benefits. Don’t skip workouts; try to do each and every workout on your training plan. If you miss one, don’t try to make it up by squeezing it in, just pick up where you left off. Rest days are part of the training process too. We need down time to adapt to training. This is when we become stronger, fitter, and faster. Take at least one day a week completely off.
- CROSS-TRAIN- Enhance your running by cross-training two days a week. Focus on muscular strength and flexibility activities like weight training, yoga, pilates, core exercises, or calisthenics rather than aerobic cross-training activities.
- EAT CLEAN- Change your diet to support your newfound sport and healthy lifestyle. Eating healthy will help fuel your runs, repair your body, make you feel better, and improve your performance.
- HYDRATE WELL- Increase your water intake. Start drinking more water, whether you feel thirsty or not, every day.
- FOLLOW THE 10 TO 20 PERCENT WEEKLY VOLUME INCREASE- Increase mileage or time gradually. Sticking to the 10 to 20 percent increase rule helps you avoid doing too much, too soon, and too fast. A slow, gradual build reduces the risk of injury.