By Gabe Sanders PhD, NSCA-CSCS
Beginning a running program or running for the first time can seem like a daunting task if you’ve never run before and if you have your sights set on a 5K, 10K, or even half / full marathon. Beginners should focus on a smart approach to progressively increase the amount of time and distance of their runs.
The number one key for beginners is to take it easy! Overtraining, or racking up the miles too quickly, will likely lead to overuse injuries such as shin splints, plantar fasciitis (pain in the arches of your feet), or sore knees. Once these injuries occur, one of the only ways to treat these injuries is to rest, which would negate all of the gains that you worked so hard to achieve.
The second key is to buy a great pair of running shoes that are comfortable and tailored to your gait and stride while running. Most shoe specialist at a running-specific retail store, are trained to evaluate several key points through a simple gait analysis of your running style.
Many runners do not wear the proper shoes and therefore suffer from easily preventable lower-extremity injuries, such as shin splints. While a good pair of running shoes could run you upwards of $100 a pair, they can be worth their weight in gold if they prevent expensive and immobilizing injuries.
How to start?
If you find yourself wanting to begin a running routine but you do not know where or how to begin, here are some tips to get you started. Once you get started and become consistent, you will be running 5k’s before you know it!
Select a set distance, focus on running the entire distance before reducing your time.
A good starting distance is one mile. Initially, completing one mile is your first goal but try to walk and run portions of the mile regardless of how long it takes you to complete it. Then, gradually (over the course of a couple of weeks) reduce the distance and number of times that you allow yourself to walk.
Once you can run one mile without stopping, then begin to focus on your time or increasing your distance. Choose one or the other to improve on. It is nearly impossible to focus on both at the same time, as it will just lead you to feel frustrated and defeated.
Run every other day.
Give yourself adequate rest between your runs. Beginners should take 24-48 hours of rest before running again. This rest is vital to your success, and most importantly, preventing injuries.
Once your body has adjusted to the increased impact and stress that you have placed on it, you can begin to increase the distance of your runs. Once you can successfully run one mile, your next goal is likely two miles, but before you reach two, try 1.5 miles.
Adding a half-mile may not seem like a big deal, but any additional distance can be challenging and taxing on your body.
Cool down and stretch AFTER your run.
A 5-10 minute cool down after your run is a great way to relax. After you run, walk for about five minutes to allow your heart rate to recover and then begin a comprehensive stretch routine for another five to ten minutes.
Stretch all your major muscle groups (quads, calves, hamstrings, shoulders, chest, and back) slowly and to the point that you feel your muscles stretch but not to the point that it is painful.
*Before starting any exercise regimen, consult with a physician and/or medical healthcare provider and certified exercise physiologist
Are you wearing Reebok?
Reebok is an American-inspired, global brand that creates and markets sports and lifestyle products built upon a strong heritage and authenticity in sports, fitness and women’s categories
Reebok is for women, men, and kids….. It’s a family affair!
For a reliable and accurate product, Polar is it! This is a fitness tracker device that is awesome!
Go to our Resources page- For the most recommended tools, you need to succeed on your healthy living journey!!
Listen and share our podcast show- “It’s All About Health & Fitness-”