Running is currently undergoing a bit of a revival. Hopefully this blog, “Running, how to get started” will help.
Factors behind its increase in popularity:
– It is one of the cheaper sports to get into. You don’t need a bicycle or a gym contract.
– It suits people with busy lifestyles, and especially people who travel with work opportunities. It takes 5 minutes to get dressed and out the door you go. No traffic jams on your way to the gym.
– We have one of the best climates worldwide, and so it is possible to run almost every day of the year.
So, let’s clear up a bit of confusion.
So: How do you get started?
- Get into the right pair of running shoes.
A good pair of running shoes is relatively expensive. We can help you with this. I don’t think anyone does what we do when fitting running shoes. Our approach is unique. Read more here. Get your shoes wrong and you increase your chances of injury. That’s where the frustration sets in. We don’t want that nagging voice of doubt telling you that you just were not born for this.
- Start short and slow.
Your tissues need time to toughen. This is not the time to see how fast you can run. Start slow. Don’t increase your overall distance by more than 10% per week. (If you can’t run for 20 minutes, go on a walk/run). The goal here is to build fitness slowly and to enjoy your running. Trying to achieve speeds that you once ran while in school will leave you despondent. The runs will become easier and more and more enjoyable.
- Work on your core.
Do some planking, side and front. Just a few minutes a week will make a huge difference. Get some mountain climbers going, especially if you have a job where you sit a lot. Here is how to get them done.
- Make small adjustments to your everyday habits.
Instead of circling the car park to find the closest possible parking space, park a bit further away. You are a runner now – that distance means nothing to you now. Walk up and down the stairs at your workplace or shopping center. All of these things will add to your fitness.
- Consider doing a few Parkruns.
Here is their website. It’s free and a ton of fun.
- Deal effectively with injuries as they arise.
That is one of the areas that I specialize in. There are over 240 articles on this blog of which over 100 of them deal with injuries.
This should be enough to get you going. When you are running about 20km per week it might be time to level up, as follows:
- Right – time to pick an event.
Start with aiming for a 10 or 15 km race. Completing one of these will get you a medal. You don’t need to be a member of a running club for this, you can always buy a temporary license on the day.
- Keep a diary.
You can do this on your computer, or the old-fashioned way. Write down your workouts. I keep three figures going on a weekly basis.
– my weekly mileage.
– the mileage that I have put on my running shoes.
– my year to date mileage.
Keeping these figures will prove to be really motivational. Not only that, but it will stop you from running too far on your shoes and upping your chance of an injury.
- Time for a GPS watch.
If finances allow, look at getting a GPS watch that also gives you your heart rate reading. Finding the right watch is very complex. In short, work out what your budget is, make a list of which watches you can afford, chat to some friends and also refer to DC Rainmaker for his take on the watch you are interested in.
- Join a Running Club.
If you enjoyed the event, it might be time to look at joining a running club. Most areas have a local running club that you can join. You can also go online and join a club that way.If you are still having fun, it might be time to level up
- You will definitely need a GPS/HR watch for this.
- Find a program or make use of a coach.
Look at getting a coach or at least getting a generic program for your next event. It’s time now to look at either speeding up on your shorter runs or adding distance. Half marathons, 32 km runs, marathons and ultra-marathons await. I am currently coaching a number of people. Do your research on this one. Having a bit of guidance will be invaluable.
It’s time to really work on your nutrition. There are some really good products on the market. Try some of them on your longer runs – you will love some and hate others. This can be a minefield in that some products can cause a bit of gastric distress, so find what works for you. It is also helpful to get input from a dietician who is knowledgeable about running.
- Keep balanced.
Don’t lose your brain at this point. Your running needs to fit into your life. It becomes the third leg of a stool, family, and work being the other two. If one collapses, the whole chair can go down. Balance your life out carefully.
I really hope that this has helped. See you on the road soon.