In today’s health conscious society, people are increasingly aware of the importance of exercise. Though there are many routes to securing a healthy body and mind, running is one of the easiest options.
When running becomes part of your regime, it can transcend your entire existence. By reaching new physical and mental heights, you can unlock hidden potential and ultimately become the best version of yourself.
That’s how profound of an impact running can have on your life. It can bring an entirely new perspective on things, where you can test your limits in a way that’s transferable to other aspects of your life.
And running doesn’t have to be strenuous if you don’t want it to be. Sometimes floating along can be therapeutic, whether you’re at one with nature or simply happy to be getting a taste of the great outdoors. Running not only clears the mind, but is an activity for everyone, regardless of age, size or background.
However, as a beginner it’s important to embrace basic guidelines to safeguard yourself from harm’s way. After all, the expression ‘don’t run before you can walk’ exists for a reason! If you’re a new runner who’s motivated to get started, you’ll appreciate these useful running tips for beginners:
Start with Short Intervals
Continuous running is a challenge. Planning a route and running it in one go can seem like a daunting task, especially when you’re not used to it. Rather than setting yourself up for failure, something which can be demoralizing and deter you from running altogether, you should focus on breaking your runs into shorter intervals.
With short intervals you can test your physical limits, and create a foundation to progress over time. Walking between intervals will give you ample opportunity to recover, so you can recharge your batteries and get ready for the next phase of your run.
With a progressive approach, you can learn about your body as you build stamina. Over time you can decrease the length of breaks in between intervals, while lengthening the running sections until you’re able to run without breaks.
This can be a gradual process, where it’s important to go at your own pace (quite literally).
Start Out At a Steady Pace
If you’re not used to exercise, particularly running, your body will need time to adjust to the experience. That’s why it’s important to be sensible and start out at a steady pace. It’s not uncommon to feel an urge to go fast right out of the gate, but the chances are you’ll pay the price for being over-eager.
To avoid overexertion, pain or even injuries, start out at a slow and steady pace. If you’re comfortable at the rate you’re going, remember you can always up the intensity at your own leisure. If you’re wondering what a moderate pace constitutes, it’ll be one that permits you to hold a conversation simultaneously.
This is a great starting point, where in the early stages you should focus on maintaining the same pace for your entire run. If you’re feeling good towards the end of your run, you can push the tempo in the latter stages, knowing that if you can’t go on you’re close to the finish line anyway.
Enable your body time to get used to new demands and you’ll position yourself for longevity.
Take Care of Your Body
Running requires a full range of body movement, so it’s essential you take care of your entire body. You’ll need a strong, stable core to support the rest of your muscles. Everything from your arms to your hips will be worked out, so it’s important to run tall and be light on your feet to maintain good physical health.
A well-conditioned body reduces the incidence of injuries, where regular strength training will help you become the best runner you can be. Remember to maintain high confidence levels and good health.
Allow Your Body Recovery Time
Rest and recovery is incredibly important. Though as you advance further the time taken to recover will be less and less, in the initial stages you’ll need to allow your body time to rest.
It can be tempting to head out running again right away, especially once you get the running bug. However it’s important to take a step back and let your body adapt to the new demands on your cardiovascular system.
It’s also important to prepare your bones and muscles for your next run, utilizing a rest one day, run the next philosophy as part of your running schedule. By following this pattern you can avoid injury and achieve more from your running sessions.
Choose the Right Surface
Some surfaces can have an adverse impact on your joints. Hard surfaces are less favorable as you get older, to avoid damaging your body in ways which can affect your everyday life. A mix of different surfaces is often the best solution, where you can avoid targeted impact on specific regions of the body.
To give you a better idea of how your body will react to different surfaces, here are some materials to consider on route to choosing the right one for you:
This is great for fast running, where you can generate speed without turning your ankle. However pavement isn’t always ideal for beginners, especially when it fails to cushion your steps.
That doesn’t mean to say you can’t be a beginner and run on a hard surface, just do so with caution. Hard surfaces are ideal for light runners with good form, so perhaps consider other surfaces in the early stages and move onto pavement once you’ve built the requisite confidence to do so.
Ideal for beginners, a forest/park floor will provide cushioning, making running easy on your joints. There is however an increased risk of injury, due to the presence of rocks, roots and bumps.
Tartan is the material used on track surfaces. Though it’s springy and permits fast running, it can put significant stress on your Achilles tendon.
A sandy surface will be great for training your muscles, where you’re required to lift your feet with every step. However be careful in the early phases, when it’s easy to overwork your muscles!
What’s great about using a treadmill is it provides optimal cushioning. With a treadmill you can train all year round, enabling you to get in good form for when better outdoor conditions arise.
The only issue is you’ll need to correct your form to adjust to the belts you’re running on.