Running For Amateurs – How to Start Off On The Right Foot


Running For Amateurs

Running For Amateurs

Running to get in shape, in the beginning, can be difficult. If you don’t get off on the right foot, you might find yourself not enjoying this excellent way to get into shape. On the other hand, if you start out right, it may be the beginning of a wonderful relationship between yourself and one of the most rewarding of all physical activities – running.

Running is a perfect way to stay fit and healthy. However, it is normal for people to blame injuries on running rather than placing the blame on the running technique, which is the real cause. It is assumed that running is only a matter of placing one foot in front of the other without any specific skills required. Unfortunately, this is not true, and watching any runner can prove it. Not using ideal ways to advance or maintain a fitness level is usually the cause of the majority of problems.

A large number of runners, whether they run purely for enjoyment or as part of their fitness training, don’t seek out a coach. They assume that since it is an activity they have done since childhood, they can just do it. However, there is a mental attitude necessary in addition to a physical one. Our beliefs and thoughts during the day impact us when we run.

As with any physical activity, the best advice is to start out slowly, and this is especially applicable to running. The last thing you want to do is injure yourself and not be able to partake in any sport. Your progression in the beginning should be gradual until you are able to sustain your form and cover longer distances.

Below is a quick checklist for anyone thinking about taking it to the pavement.

1. It is important before you start any new physical activity to check with your doctor first.

2. Once you get the go ahead, go to a respectable running store and buy an appropriate running shoe for your needs. It is worth it to buy a proper shoe whenever you’re running style changes. Each pair is beneficial to different running forms.

3. Once you have your shoes and the green light from your physician, it is time to buy proper apparel. Technology advancements have developed ideal light weight materials for runner’s needs. They will soak up the sweat, and you will barely notice that you are wearing them. Make sure that you cover up in the winter time to avoid injury.

4. Buy a notebook or open a file on your computer so you can keep a diary of your running.

5. Now you are ready to put yourself and your new kit to the test. Find an area that is flat and where you feel comfortable. You can look for steeper slopes later. Don’t worry about your speed or distance in the beginning. Your only concern is to develop a style, which will promote an adept technique and prevent injury.

6. Your first couple of runs are all about becoming familiar with your fitness level and determining your training program.

7. If you have not been recently active, it is suggestible that you alternate between running and walking. For example, run for two minutes straight, then walk for three to five minutes. Then run for two minutes, and so on and so on. You can use your walking stage to catch your breath and make sure that you aren’t adding extraneous tension to your body. Make sure you take a heart-rate monitor with you to stay within a healthy rate for your age. Your monitor comes with advice for your age range and proper heart rate.

8. Initially, aim to stay within your running and walking routine for close to 20 – 25 minutes. You don’t want to over extend yourself in the early stages.

9. Over the course of the next couple of weeks try to gradually build up your running/walking program time, and work on slowly increasing the running portion. Remember that you don’t have to concern yourself with distance.

10. In the early stages, don’t run on consecutive days, let your body rest a day in between runs. If you experience pain or achy muscles rest up before venturing out again. If they persist, get advice from a physical therapist, or your doctor.

11. Your goal in the beginning should be to run three to four times a week, while changing up the variety of your runs. Keeping your routine the same will become repetitious and will not benefit your body. Try to shorten your run time and jog to recover rather than walk.

12. Once you find that you can run for 30 – 40 minutes without stopping or exhausting yourself, it may be time to look around for a running club to join. They have running groups that encourage beginners as well as coaches who offer their running expertise as guidance. You also may want to enter an organised race or marathon to give yourself a target to aspire to.

13. A few words about treadmills. I personally don’t like running on a treadmill because a.) my preference is to run outside, and b.) you use somewhat different muscles on the treadmill. In my opinion, it is not beneficial for a runner to mix the two. Either run on a treadmill or run outside in the open.

14. Stopping at number 13 is not an option, so here is one more running tip for beginners – remember to have fun! Don’t be scared to experiment or try new techniques, and always have an open mind.

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2 Responses to “Running For Amateurs – How to Start Off On The Right Foot”

  1. Melissa
    February 16, 2015 at 5:02 pm #

    Our local HS has a track made of recycled tires, and I love running on that. It’s very springy and works well with my joints. I love the tips you give, they are spot on. I made the mistake of getting cheap shoes when I first started, and that was a huge mistake. If you’re going to make a real go at running, putting a little money into your shoes is well worth it. They last longer and will be much better on your feet.

  2. Cathy
    February 16, 2015 at 5:23 pm #

    I think that your initial goal of 20-25 minutes is a tad high, but of course I am an overweight person, who is out of shape. When I talked to my doctor he told me to only go about 15 minutes at a time at first, alternating between walking and running. That’s the only thing I think I’d change on your list. But you guys are spot on!

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