You Can Run! – How to Get Started

By: Krista Joan Szyszkowski

As a runner I often have people tell me they can’t run. To which I usually respond “Are you injured?”, because truly everyone can run. It is that most people have either never tried to run or haven’t stuck with it long enough to find the joy that running can bring you. Like everything else, running takes time and practice to be mastered and as I see it, with running you can never get good enough, fast enough or strong enough.

With running, each run is different even if you always run the same route at the same time. And not only that but each ten minute segment of your run is different. This is a good and bad thing in that when you are running an amazing long run and everything is just firing perfectly, ten minutes later, things can suck real bad. But the opposite is true as well and this brings optimism to every runner when they are struggling during a run.

When starting to run it is very important that you start slow and increase your mileage conservatively

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as well. You won’t step out your front door on day 1 and log a 10K run and feel amazing while doing it. And if you push yourself to do that, you will sit and moan on your couch for a week afterwards and probably be one of those people who tells me they can’t run. If you are unlucky you will do more than just suffer from muscle pain, you could seriously injure yourself.

With that in mind, here are some tips on how to start a running program and some suggestions on how to continue on if you have the goal of running a 5K or 10K race in the future.

First some tips:

  1. Schedule your runs either at the start of the week or at least the night before. Don’t wait until the

    day has started because time has a way of disappearing on us and good intentions turn into too late to run. The best time to run is when you can fit it in!

  2. If you aren’t doing your run first thing in the morning, then stomach issues can be a problem when you don’t plan your pre-run meal. I try to eat 1-2 hours before. It is important to be hydrated though so get the fluids in for sure. Also drinking flui

    ds during your run is important especially as it heats up outside.

  3. Never stretch before you run. Stretching cold muscles can lead to injury if you stretch too deep and stretching is much more effective after a run or at least after warming up for a bit.

  4. Tracking your progress as you go can be a great motivator and will help you see that you are improving. Even when you start only running for two minutes at a time you will see it quickly adds up and before you know it you are doing 10 minute chunks of time which quickly add up to a 5 and then 10K run.

  5. If you can’t run due to weather or darkness or lack of childcare, don’t be afraid to replace a run with a bike or elliptical from time to time it is great for your muscles to cross-train and can help make you a stronger runner in the end.

  6. Sore muscles are common in new runners and should be expected. Don’t let the pain scare you off. It will go away and as long as you increase your mileage slowly. Immediate relief can be found by icing and elevating your legs after runs.

  7. Get fit at a running store for proper shoes for how you run. Go up a shoe size to reduce chance of losing toenails during longer runs. Also, invest in running socks to avoid getting blisters

  8. Best thing you can do to stay motivated is run with friends. Also, setting up a run date will get you out with more consistency because we are less likely to disappoint a friend than ourselves.

  9. Double knot your shoes so they don’t come undone while you run

  10. If you are running alone, you can use music to distract yourself from the voices in your head telling you to stop. Concentrating on lyrics and the beat of the music can keep your pace consistent and make the time fly by.

  11. Recovery nutrition is key within 30 minutes of running.

Post Run Stretches: Count to 30, don’t bounce, stop when you feel pain

  1. Calf – lean against a wall with heel of one foot on ground and other knee bent

  2. Quads – pull leg up behind you by holding onto ankle

  3. Hamstring – put one foot at a time on stable surface at chair height and lean forward

  4. Glutes – sit and hold one leg with bent knee to your chest; deepen stretch by laying back

  5. Hips – lunge with feet as far apart as possible with back leg straight and front knee bent at 90 degrees

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