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An Absolute Beginner's Guide to Becoming a Runner

https://www.verywellfit.com/how-to-start-running-the-absolute-beginners-guide-2911191

verywellfit.com

An Absolute Beginner's Guide to Becoming a Runner
Running is enjoyed by millions of people because it's good for your body and mind and it requires very little equipment. All you need is a good pair of running shoes and the willingness to get started. Running may seem so simple that preparing to start a running routine may sound silly.

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Benefits

Benefits

It is never too late to start running. Many take up this sport in their 50s and beyond. To start, you only need a good pair of running shoes and a desire.

Running is a very effective way to build cardiovascular endurance and increase mental toughness. It is an excellent stress reliever and will improve your health overall.

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Types of running

Types of running
  • Road Running: running on paved roads, paths, and sidewalks.
  • Treadmill Running: easier than outdoor running and can be gentler on your joints.
  • Racing. Road races can vary from 5Ks to half or full marathons or even ultramarathons. 
  • Trail Running: it takes place on hiking trails, from deserts to mountains.
  • Track Running. Track events include shorter distance races from the 50-yard dash to 400-meter sprints. 

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Getting Started

Getting Started
  • Invest in Shoes and Gear. Visit a specialty running store to get fitted for the best shoes for you and check out gear such as running shorts, tops, or tights made of wicking fibers.
  • Stay Safe. Do a warmup before you start, like a walk or an easy jog for 5 min.
  • Follow running safety advice, such as going against traffic when running on roads. Always carry some form of identification with you.
  • Use the Run/Walk Method. Start with running for one minute, then walk for one minute. Try to increase the running intervals over time.
  • Make It Manageable. Keep a conversational pace during each workout. If you can't speak in a full sentence, slow down. Breathe through your nose to get enough oxygen.

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Good Running Posture

Good Running Posture

Keep your posture upright, head lifted, back should feel tall, and shoulders level. Keep your pelvis neutral and your hands relaxed. Let your arms swing from the shoulder joint.

As runners get tired, they tend to lean forward or back at their waist. Their shoulders may start to hunch over, which restricts breathing.  Try to avoid this. Focus your eye about 10 - 20 feet ahead of you.

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Monitor Your Footstrike

Monitor Your Footstrike

If you are a toe runner, your calves will get tight and you could develop shin pain.

If you land on your heals, you are usually taking steps that are longer than they need to be. It wastes energy and may cause injury.

Try to land on the middle of your foot, then roll through to the front of your toes.

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Hydration

Hydration

You should drink before, during and after your runs. Drink when you feel thirsty.

As a general rule, you should drink four to six ounces of fluid every 20 minutes during your runs. Faster runners should increase their fluid intake to eight ounces every 20 minutes.

Workouts longer than 90 minutes require some form of sports drink to replace lost sodium and electrolytes.

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Running Nutrition

Running Nutrition

Eating anything you want may lead to weight gain after a few months of regular running. Instead, focus on a healthy balanced diet.

  • Eat something light that is high in carbohydrates 2 hours before you start running.
  • If you're going to run longer than 90 minutes, consume 100 calories after an hour and another 100 calories every 45 minutes.
  • After a long run, eat some carbs and protein within 30 minutes.  The ratio of carbs to protein is 3 to 1.

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Motivation

Motivation

To keep up your motivation:

  • Join a running group to help you when you face challenges.
  • Consider running with music
  • Keep a running journal
  • Fill your personal spaces with motivational running quotes

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Cold Weather Running

Cold Weather Running
  • Dress in layers. Start with a thin layer of wicking material, a middle layer of polar fleece and an outer layer of nylon to protect against wind and rain.
  • Cover your head. Wear a hat to help prevent heat loss, and gloves and warm socks if needed.
  • Don’t overdress. 

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Hot Weather Running

Hot Weather Running
  • Light loose gear will help your body breathe and cool down.
  • Use water in and on your body to cool you down during runs. Splash cold water on your head, back of your neck and under your arms.
  • Don't push your pace in hot and humid conditions. 

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Cross-Training

Cross-Training

Your running should include more than just running. Mix other activities like cycling, swimming, skating, aerobic exercises or strength training to help avoid getting burned out.

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Race Training

Race Training
  • 5K. This is a great race for beginners. Seasoned runners also participate in these races at a very fast pace.
  • 10K. When you are comfortable running a 5K, the next step is a 10K.
  • 10 Mile. This type of event is challenging but can be done for those who are used to a 10K.
  • Half Marathon. It requires substantial training and an organized plan.
  • Marathon. This event welcomes runners and walkers of different abilities.
  • Ultramarathon. This is the ultimate running experience and takes serious training.

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Ramp up slowly

If you did 3 short runs in your first week, you shouldn’t double that for week 2, even if you feel fine. 

Progress takes more time than you think, because each body system adapts ...

A beginner routine should include:

  • Most or all of your runs at a pace that feels comfortable, controlled, and conversational.
  • Exercise that is not running, if you feel that the above isn’t enough for you: Cycling and other cross-training can work your lungs and muscles without putting too much strain on your tendons and ligaments.
  • Strength training, to help everything get stronger and more adaptable.

The "too-much-too-soon" trap

It's usually not the shoes you're wearing, or your posture, but forcing yourself to accomplish too much from the very start that's causing you physical pain.

If you started running in the last few weeks or months and you get injured, you probably have nothing to blame but the fact that you’ve been doing too much, too soon.

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Knee pain

Knee pain is often a sign of over-training or a need to improve form or flexibility. Running actually seems to improve knee health. Researchers found the more people ran, the less likely the were to suffer knee pain or osteoarthritis.

Running helps young people sleep

Research found that young people that run for 30 minutes, five days a week focus better during the day and sleep better at night.