How To Start Running?

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start running

Running is considered to be the most beneficial exercise form. It is believed that a runner lives longer and has a better quality of life in older ages. Though running is considered to be the most accessible form of exercise, starting to run is a bit complicated than just wearing your shoes and putting one foot in front of other. It does not matter if you have never run or want to finish a 5KM, 10 KM, or maybe a half marathon.  It is important to train, understand fueling and apply injury-free running tips. Many people leave running after their initial bout because of a small injury that could have been prevented. Instead, they start to believe that running is not for them.

Start with walk

If you have never done any cardio routines, do not hesitate to start with a walk. A 20 minute dedicated walk (do not be on phone), a leisure walk is not a good start. Slowly increase time to 30 minutes. Once you hit 30 minutes mark, you are ready for the next level which is a mixing of a run with a walk. Start with running for 30 seconds and then walking for 90 seconds. Slowly build up to 60 seconds of alternate running and walking.

Sing test when you run

The pace at which you run mostly decides duration, distance, and danger of injury. It is important to do a ‘singing test’ while you run. If you are able to sing continuously, you are at a good pace. Missing a few words of the song because of breath means you need to slow down a bit. Feeling completely at ease to sing and hum means you need to increase the pace. Find your best pace. Then slowly over a period of few weeks increase the pace by repeatedly doing the singing test.

Rest days and Run days

Never run every day if you are a beginner. Running is a stressful exercise for muscles, bones, joints, and ligaments. Forcing it to be exerted without an appropriate rest period will have a negative effect on everything.

Aim for time and not distance

Distance is not important, duration is! Start with a 20-minute session and then slowly increase the duration. Do not worry about distance or pace. Increase your duration by not more than 10% per week. Slower the better.

Stay in safe zone

As one starts running, the principle of repeated exercise will give you a feeling that you are ready to progress to the next level. However, it is essential that the next level should be chosen smartly. Never have more than one long run per week. The long run should not be more than half of the total weekly run mileage. Increase weekly mileage by not more than 10% and do not hesitate to reduce it if you face any problems.

Mixing to achieve results

Once you are able to run 30 minutes straight, it is time to mix. You can do three types of mixing.

  • Hill run – you run up the hill about 80 to 100 meters and then jog back.
  • Speed interval – Run at good pace for one minute and then jog for equal time.
  • Sprint striding – Sprint fastest for one minute and then jog for 3 minutes or more if required.

Training schedule

You may have a goal like a race, weight loss, fat loss, or a sprint event. It is important to have a training program. There are many available online. Try a few plans and adopt which suits you best. A training program generally has all the contents which are required to run injury-free.

Running gear

Several injuries such as chaffing, skin rashes, dehydration, etc. can be prevented if we have the right tools. Comfortable shoes and clothing are the most important gears if you want to go the distance.

Monitor your progress

There are various mobile applications available to track your progress. Your progress keeps you motivated. It also helps you make corrections in training if required.

Socializing while running

Making your run enjoyable is most important. Joining a running group or a social group plays a big role in keeping your motivation going. The groups not only motivate you but also help you focus on the very reason for running.

Article by: Capt Jitu Harjai Fitness Coach and Ultra Marathon runner

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