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An Absolute Beginner's Guide to Becoming a Runner

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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An Absolute Beginner's Guide to Becoming a Runner

An Absolute Beginner's Guide to Becoming a Runner

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

verywellfit.com

12

Key Ideas

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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. 

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. 

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.

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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Running equipment

Invest in a good pair of running shoes and a quality shirt made from wicking material to keep you drier.

A sports watch and heart-rate monitor are nice to have.

Pace of running

Running will put you slightly out of breath when you start. It should eventually decrease. You should be able to hold a conversation when you're running a good pace.

Once a week, run a faster speed to increase your fitness level.

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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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Running - the miracle drug

Many experts consider exercise to be the closest thing to a miracle drug. Running is one of the simplest ways to exercise. It can lift symptoms of depression and improve your mood. It bu...

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.

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Getting into running
Getting into running

You don't necessarily have to be the running type. Almost anyone can be a runner.

And with running, you don't need a membership, expensive equipment, or a qualified coach. You do ne...

When you first start, run slowly

Run slow enough that you're pretty sure you could overtake yourself at a brisk walk.

The point of running is endurance, and to manage that, you have to keep your heart rate elevated for the entire period of every training run. That means erring on the side of caution and only speeding up when you hardly break a sweat 20 minutes in.

Get with the running program

Slowly build up stamina over the first few weeks and months. To start, run three times a week for eight weeks, beginning with sessions that involve more walking than actual running, and ending with 30 minutes of non-stop jogging.

  • Your first session, run for a minute, then walk for 90 seconds and repeat the pattern eight times.
  • Four weeks later, running has increased to three sets of five minutes, with three minutes of walking in between.
  • At the end of week five, the training wheels come off, and you run for a full 20 minutes non-stop.

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Failure to prepare is preparing to fail
Failure to prepare is preparing to fail

When preparing for any marathon or long distance, not only is physical preparation important but it is also crucial to prepare mentally for the gruelling number of miles and the inevitable menta...

Hitting the wall

Hitting the wall is basically about running out of energy: Your legs feel like concrete, your breathing becomes laboured, your stride turns into a shuffle. Negative thoughts flood your mind, and the urge to quit becomes overwhelming. 

Hitting the wall isn’t just a fallacy, it’s probably going to happen to you at some point to you if you’re brave enough to be running the marathon.

Mentally preparing for a marathon

Identifying imaginary, but realistic scenarios before the race like “what happens when I hit the wall?” or “what if it rains?” and then identifying  potential strategies to cope with these situations should they arise on race day are the key to success on the actual day itself.

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Afternoon routines
Afternoon routines

In the afternoons distractions have the most power:

  • Move your body at the same time every day so your brain knows you’re still getting stuff done.
  • Save the easy stuff for the aft...
Running benefits
Running outperforms walking, cycling and other forms of aerobic exercise when it comes to lengthening life. Runners on average live three years longer compared to non-runners.
Overtraining

If you suffer from lower-body aches or strains, it could be an indication you're not giving yourself enough rest.

Excessive endurance exercise, especially during middle-age and beyond, could lead to damage to the heart.

The best way to exercise

To avoid injury, focus on the perception of effort, not duration.

At least twice a week, exercise at a greater intensity. Alternate between hard and easy days to give your body a chance to recover.

The Time Domain

Time measurement seems so crucial that athletes forget what to do without any measurement of time.

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Disrupted

Disruption and a skewing of your personal space is a way to challenge your comfort zone and grow towards becoming a seasoned athlete who can perform in unfamiliar territory.

To Each His Own

Every race is a search for your individual limits. In an interval workout, the coach tells you exactly how many repetitions to do, and then you stop. The limit is imposed externally. 

For athletes to run to their maximum potential in races, they are the ones that should decide how many repetitions they needed to do in order to reach exhaustion.

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Uncomfortable situations

Besides the well-known health advantages, in a world where comfort is king, arduous physical activity provides a rare opportunity to practice embracing uncomfortable situations.

Exercise is a keystone habit

 A change in one life area that brings about positive effects in other area. Exercise it’s not just vanity. What you do in the gym makes you a better, higher-performing person outside of it. When you develop physical fitness, you’re developing life fitness, too.

The legend

The term "marathon" came from the legend of Pheidippides, a Greek messenger. 

T'he legend states that he was sent from the battlefield of Marathon to Athens to announce that the P...

Break down your run
A marathon is 26.2 miles. But if we break it down, we're really just running 10 miles twice, then finishing it off with a simple 10km run.

You can apply this concept to your goals. Break them down, so they don't seem so daunting. Tackle it each step at a time. And if you need to, take breaks in between. It's not the end of the world.

Prepare for the worst

It's important for us to be realistic sometimes as well. 

The better prepared you are, the higher the probability that you will "finish" your life's marathons.

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