4 Tips to Get you Started
Becoming a runner is easier than you think. People of all shapes, sizes, and ages can—and do—run, and so can you. Here are a few tips to help you get started. C’mon! Join the nicest and most supportive group of athletes you’ll ever meet and… BE A RUNNER!
INVEST IN A DECENT PAIR OF RUNNING SHOES The only piece of equipment you’ll need as a runner is a pair of quality running shoes that offer the proper support for the individual needs of your feet, running style, and type of running (easy-paced or short distances vs. fast-paced or long distances). Retail stores that specialize in running shoes are a great resource for beginners and veterans alike because the staff is typically knowledgeable about running as a sport and will be able to determine what type of shoe will work best for you and your specific running needs. These specialty running stores can be pricey, though, so for budget-minded runners, check out online running shoe vendors, such as RoadRunnerSports.com and RunningWarehouse.com. They offer a large variety of running shoes at a wide range of pricing and often have affordable close-out deals on discontinued models. They even have “fit finder” options on their sites that will help you determine what type of shoe will work best for you.
DRESS APPROPRIATELY FOR THE WEATHER. Your body warms up quickly while running. So, whether running indoors or outdoors, a common rule of thumb is to dress as if it is 10 to 20 degrees warmer than it is before heading out for a run. According to Runner’s World, if heading out for a “…short run, an easy paced run, or you are a smaller runner (less body mass), add 10 to 15 degrees to the outside temperature to estimate your running temperature. If you are going for a long run, doing a hard workout, or have a large body mass, add 20 degrees to the outside temp.”1 Wind is also a factor to consider when planning what to wear for your run, because it can make the air feel a lot colder than the actual temperature. See the sidebar on Page 10 for a quick clothing guide for cold-weather running.
SET A GOAL. According to Locke’s theory of goal setting, goals that are specific and challenging lead to be more performance improvement than no goals or goals that are too general or too easy to achieve. This concept works with running too. Before starting your training plan, set a goal that is personally meaningful, specific, and challenging—but not unrealistic. For example, rather than setting the general goal of being able to run without stopping, sign up for a specific 5k race that is 10 to 12 weeks away. Ask a family member, friend, or partner to run it with you. If you are just learning to run, then your race goal might be to run the entire distance without stopping, or if you have been running for a while, then your race goal might be to finish the race in a specific amount of time. Just be careful not to make the goal impossible to achieve. For example, if you are brand new to running, signing up for a marathon that is only a month or two away would not be realistic.
START SLOWLY, BUILD GRADUALLY. Most experts suggest starting with a mix of walking and running when beginning the transition into running.3–5 Before you start running, however, you should be able to walk for 30 minutes comfortably. Then, start adding 1- to 2-minute intervals of running (at a comfortable pace) throughout your 30-minute walk. Each week,
or when you feel able, increase the number of running intervals in your 30-minute walk. Build at your own pace. Runner’s World, Jeff Galloway Training, and the Couch to 5K plan are great resources for setting up a beginner training plan. REMEMBER: Even the most experienced runners find running uncomfortable at times, and this is especially true for beginners. But you should never feel pain. If you start to feel pain that makes it difficult to walk or run, take a few days off from running and then try walking or running again. If the pain persists, consult a physician.