The life of a runner usually presents 3 rather critical moments:
– The beginning
– The stall
– The injury
Leaving aside the last 2, which we will deal with later, we want to continue with our articles dedicated to beginners.
From experience, we know that many start out highly motivated and with the best intentions, but the percentage of dropouts after a few exits is very high.
We therefore collected all those little tips that can prove useful to overcome the obstacle of the debut in the world of running and make running a habitual activity of our life.
Some tips are actually imperative, while others are small “tricks” that can help us overcome the difficulties we sometimes encounter on this beautiful journey.
These are our 21 tips:
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1. Verify that you meet the basic requirements
This is absolutely imperative. Running is a sport for many but not really for everyone, so read what are the basic requirements for running and if you do not have them fall back on alternative and fewer impact physical activities (and benefit …)
2. Follow a schedule
Both online and in specialized magazines (or in running books, if you want to learn more immediately), there are several excellent programs dedicated to beginners.
Take what inspires you the most and try to follow it in the best possible way, in order to have a better organization of your running sessions.
3. Alternate running and walking
Getting together several minutes of running in a row can be pretty tough at first, so choose a program that includes this type of training (most do).
In this way, your sessions will be longer and more training.
4. Little and often
Try not to let too much time pass between sessions, otherwise you risk losing the improvements you have gained. The day after each session, you may probably have some (completely normal) muscle aches or small joint pains.
Our advice is to run as soon as you have recovered from the previous session (not before), possibly at least 2/3 times a week.
5. Think about time, not distance
The goal of a beginner is not to run fast but to run as long as possible. To do this, it is necessary to adopt a comfortable step, which physically engages us but which does not create a level of discomfort higher than what our body (and especially our mind) can bear.
Be the turtle but get to the finish line.
6. Set goals
Someone will surely organize the training program you have chosen in phases or levels.
Establish a plausible time frame (not a day, not a five-year period!) In which to complete the different levels.
As soon as you have reached your goal, you can give yourself a small bonus!
A fundamental rule for both the beginner and the advanced runner. The gradual increase in the loosening load causes positive transformations in our body (supercompensation) that strengthen us and more resistant, as long as our physique can bear it.
Remember that running is an intense physical activity even for a beginner (especially if former sedentary and no longer very young) and that too sudden increases in distance or speed are the main road to injury
8. Dress according to the season
Fortunately, the practice of running does not require special equipment and materials, but it is not so rare to see gross errors in the choice of clothing.
Starting from the principle that we must have the greatest possible comfort, we try to dress as little as possible in the summer (remaining within legality) and we try not to overdo it in the winter.
Let us remember that during physical activity, we warm up (even a lot) and that our body needs to dissipate excess heat. Dress in layers, use breathable clothing (no k-way) with zippers to open as needed, possibly gloves and headband if the cold is intense.
We will deepen the discussion in an article dedicated to running clothing.
9. Use running shoes
It is the only sports item we really need.
Even if you are a beginner, it is preferable to buy a pair of shoes designed for running.
Without going into detail talking about foot support, go to a sports shop (preferably specialized) or to the legendary Decathlon and invest a few euros in a pair of shoes, specifying your weekly minutes to the clerk on duty, so that he knows how to give you a decent item but proportionate to use.
Even if your training program is rather bland, never start running, but give your body a signal to start by starting with at least 5-10 minutes of brisk walking.
In this way, we prepare our body for physical activity; we have a more gradual start of the running session and we reduce the risk of injury.
11. Breathe in harmony
On breathing during the race, you hear everything and the opposite of everything. The best advice we can give is to keep breathing naturally and never forced.
Breathe in through both your nose and mouth to create as a minor obstacle as possible for air to enter your lungs. Possibly try to breathe “in rhythm” with the steps you take, for example, by inhaling every 3 steps and exhaling every 2.
Find your ideal and natural rhythm as long as your breathing is harmonious and not forced.
12. Listen to your body
For the beginner, signs of discomfort while running are quite normal. At first, you are not used to the physical and mental fatigue that running entails.
However, if the discomfort turns into pain or a feeling of discomfort, stop immediately and postpone the session to another day.
Our body is much smarter than we think and sends us clear signals when something is wrong. Let’s try to listen to it.
13. Look for an adventure companion
Very often, it is difficult for a beginner to find the incentives to go out for a run, especially on cold and dark winter days. Sometimes even the session is interrupted before the end because the discomfort seems difficult to bear and takes over.
These episodes can be remedied by looking for a companion with whom to share the fatigue and joys of running. Running with a friend helps us to distract ourselves, not to let us perceive any discomfort, to give us the incentive to go out and run and finish our session brilliantly (often so as not to make a fool of)
14. Avoid loosening groups
If running in the company of a friend can be useful to us, joining a group is not always a wise decision. It is very difficult for the level of preparation in a group to be homogeneous and the psychology of the pack leads us very often to overdo it (perhaps so as not to be left behind) with often deleterious consequences.
15. Run at good times
Try to conceive the running session as a moment that you dedicate to yourself and your body, not as an inevitable constraint. Therefore, find a time of day when you are not in a hurry to finish the session, possibly with the most favorable climatic conditions, so as not to add further stress factors to those that come from the intensity of physical effort.
16. Run on smooth terrain
We know that running on a beautiful beach or on a green lawn can be a rather poetic and evocative image. However, for a beginner (and not only) the heavy (beach) and not very regular (lawn, undulating dirt roads) can create additional stress at the joint level and make us lengthen the recovery times of physical effort. We prefer the mundane asphalt or the regular paths of a city park.
17. Rethink your lifestyle
If you have run, it means that you are trying to do something good for your body.
Don’t stop there. Consistently try to review your entire lifestyle to last health and well-being.
Try to eat a balanced diet with the right amount of calories. Eliminate smoking and drastically cut back on alcohol. Try, as much as possible, to reduce stress and tension.
If you cannot love yourself, you cannot love anything and anyone else …
18. Keep track of your weight
An increase in your nutrition does not accompany if running. Notice a gradual decrease in your body weight, probably very abrupt at first. This is always a great incentive to move forward in the program we have undertaken.
Don’t worry though, if in some periods the scales don’t gratify you. However, you may have decreased fat mass in favor of lean mass. Try to associate running with a balanced and low-calorie diet (which absolutely does not mean “go hungry”)
19. Always be positive
There will probably be several “no” days. It’s pretty normal, it’s part of the game. Consider moments of difficulty as a necessary, almost preparatory step. Accept positively the moments when you have to give up running (for whatever reason) and think that millions of people before you have given up much earlier …
20. Don’t be in a hurry
Each person is different, as are the times in which our performance increases.
If you have approached running after the age of 30, it is quite easy that after an encouraging start, there will be a period when progress is slower.
Try to be patient and still enjoy the progress even when they are small, since no one improves forever anyway, so slowly or quickly, everyone eventually gets to the top of the form and does not go beyond.
21. Get informed
Try to understand running, to have your knowledge base. Try to be curious. Buy a magazine or, even better, a book: you will probably discover how beautiful there is in this world and you will want to run halfway through the first page!