Tips for New Runners

September 9, 2011

If you’re new to running, this blog might be a bit overwhelming to you. The truth is, yes, I do run marathons. I do love to challenge myself with long endurance events. I do like to write about all my long and exciting feats of humanhood.

When it really comes down to it, I love my typical, everyday slow and short run. You just don’t hear about them very often, because they are just that: typical. I don’t often write about all of those shorter less intimidating  runs. The techniques and training plans that I follow are pretty tried and true and they’ll work for runners of all flavors; from the marathoner to the “half a mile is enough for me” runner.

So, here are some tips if you’re just getting into running and needs a bit of direction, if you are coming back from an injury, or just need some back-to-basics inspiration…

  1. Start with the basics. I mean this literally, just put one foot in front of the other. Ok, try going a bit faster. Now slower. Jump over the cracks in the sidewalk. Run like you did when you were a kid, just because.
  2. Run on a route you are familiar with. From your front door, make 4 right turns until you get back to your front door. Run around your neighborhood so you know the landscape (no hills that can sneak up on you!) and your neighbors (just in case something happens). Since most neighborhoods are not terribly large, this will help your first few runs seem less intimidating…unless you have a big neighborhood…then that idea is hosed. 
  3. Run with a buddy. Whether it’s your husband, best friend or your dog, running buddies are the way to go, in my experience. Talking to someone will help keep your mind off the mileage and help push you a bit more. Trust me, it’s tried and true. If you don’t want to run with a person, because you want to try it out on your own first, a dog makes for a great running buddy with the added bonus of keeping you safe. 
  4. Wear stuff that you already own. Don’t worry about going out to buy new shoes or running clothes for your first couple of runs. Old sneaks, a pair of athletic shorts and a t-shirt will do just fine. That dry-fit or moisture-wicking material doesn’t really matter until you get up into longer mileage anyway. Don’t worry about not “looking like a runner” either. At some point or another, we all look ridiculous when we are running and you are not running to look like a runner, right?
  5. Don’t be afraid to run/walk, or just plain walk. If you get too tired to continue running, just walk. You’ll make it through no matter how fast you are moving…that doesn’t mean you failed. To be cliche, it’s about the journey, not the destination. You can also alternate walking and running, which has a number of other benefits besides making things a bit easier. I know people who train for marathons like that.
  6. Your biggest hurdle is going to be your mind. All you need to do is get out the front door. The first step is always the hardest, but luckily, you get that out of the way first. 
  7. Listen to your body. I’ve said it again and again in various posts, but this is the single most important part of running, and it’s something that many runners ignore. Don’t try to run through an injury – you’ll eventually have to take an extensive leave of absence from running if you do. Injuries (specifically musculoskeletal injuries) don’t give you much warning before they sideline you. Your body is the best barometer of what you are capable of, so heeds its warning signs. Be nice to yourself and your body will reward you. 

You are doing something awesome by simply putting one foot in front of the other. The possibilities are endless once you just start.

Happy running!

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