Tips for Beginning Runners

Tips for Beginning Runners

I used to run track and cross country in high school and college. 4:30 miles and 16’s for the 5k were of the norm. I had some tendinitis in my knee towards the end of college and when I graduated I quit running altogether. I’ve started back and have compiled a short list of things I think have helped me get back into it and might help someone else who’s been meaning to start running, or start back into it as well.

Pick a pretty day
Pretty Day

Nothing can put a damper on a run than having your first day back or first day starting in the pouring rain or in 100 degree heat. You’ll go out and your shoes will become heavy with water or you will become dehydrated and that can totally ruin your attitude towards running. Pick a good time of the day too. Don’t go out at noon or you’re gonna regret it when you overheat yourself. Try getting up in the morning before work and head out for 2-3 miles. While there are no proven medical benefits to exercising in the morning, it does wonders for your energy throughout the day. You also have your exercise behind you. You don’t have to worry about when you’re going to fit in a run that afternoon/evening because you’ve already done it.

This site suggests that a morning cardio workout can burn fat up to 300% faster due to your system being glycogen-depleted from not having eaten since the night before, but they do not list sources to the studies that came up with these statistics.

Shoes are important
Shoes are Important

If you’ve’ run before then you’re well aware of this, but someone who is new to the sport may not realize that your run of the mill tennis shoes has the potential to make or break your body. Buy yourself some actual running shoes from an actual running store because running in junk “sneakersâ€? will destroy your feet and your legs. They are the cause of arch pain, shin splits, and back pain. Go to a store that specializes in running shoes and see if they can’t fit you with the pair of shoes your body is suited for. Some shoes are for people who over-pronate, some are designed for heavier runners, and some are designed for racing only. Find a running store near by and pay them a visit.

Diet is important
Diet is Important

You don’t have to give up red meat or sugar altogether, but eating healthier leads to an easier time running and ability to shave time off your 5k, 10k, or whatever it is you do. Why? Well your body isn’t using that partially hydrogenated crap when you’re out there sweating it out on the road. A lot of junk foods also contain loads of saturated fats. Too much saturated fat in the diet will cause you to put on weight and get fat or obese. Being overweight is a risk to your heath and potentiall the health of your heart and can cause other diseases. A recent study has found that eating too much junk food can be damaging to the brain. If your food is laden with sugar and high degree of fat, it could reduce the brain’s chemical functionality which is assoicated with learning and cognition. (source)

Eating right and being conscious of what you put into your body will make you not only feel better through the day but will also make exercising much easier.

Vary your workout
Vary your Workout

This isn’t as important at first as it will be after a week or two of running. You’ll get tired of the same route over and over. Vary your training routes. This will prevent boredom and prevent your body from getting acclimated to a specific workout. Don’t just run the same distance over and over either. Have your local running store make you out a running plan to help with your workouts each day of the week. There are also several websites out there (here’s a nice list) that are designed to help you get off your couch and into your running shoes.

Some Race Tips
Race Tips

ALWAYS bring comfy dry clothes (and spare shoes) to change into post-race, no matter the weather. You’ll feel a lot better without having to walk around in your soggy socks or sticky shirt. Bring a towel along too so you can wipe off after the race.

They’ll be handing out water every mile (usually) during most 5k’s so don’t drink a ton of water before the race. This will give you a side stitch and make the whole race miserable for you.

Eat a bit before the race, but keep it light. A bagel, a banana or peanut butter toast will help fuel your race run. Most races provide water and snacks at the finish line.

Don’t skip the warm-up. Jog for 10 to 15 minutes on the race course to familiarize yourself with the course conditions as well as to get your blood pumping.

Most importantly, have fun. Running can be very social and 5Ks are generally low key events. Be friendly (if you can manage it between gasps for air). You’ll have people cheering you on as you pass them, do the same. You should be out there for one thing and that’s to enjoy it.

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