So you’ve decided to start running, congratulations! Building up a habit of running can have lifelong health benefits, create lasting friendships, and generate endless fun.
Starting out can often be the hardest part so here are a few tips and tricks to get you out the door and keep you moving through your runs!
1. Get the Right Shoes
Proper footwear can make all the difference between a fantastic experience and never wanting to run again. Over time, the support and cushioning in your shoes break down so starting out with a new pair of shoes is a good idea. Everyone’s feet are different and no two shoes are the same so navigating a new shoe purchase can be tricky. Talking with a Skirack run center specialist can be a good way to determine what kind of shoe, level of support, and level of cushion is right for you. Click here to learn more about our shoe fit process.
2. Go for Time
Focusing on time instead of distance can be a good way to start slowly when you first begin running. This helps to build up your aerobic base and get your body used to running without worrying about distance or pace. The process of building up can be slow but it’s important to take your time so that you don’t overwork your body.
I like starting with a 10 minute chunk of time and alternating between running and walking within that. Then each run try to walk less and less until you can run for the whole 10 minutes. After that, add a minute or two of time every couple of runs until you are up to about 30 minutes. Expect this to take a few weeks and don’t get discouraged if you feel like you aren’t making progress, I promise you are!
3. Listen to your Body
Paying attention to your body is vital when you start running. Running is a high impact sport and most running related injuries come from repeated stress and overuse so proper recovery is key. Rest days are just as important as workout days so I typically recommend 2 or 3 easy runs a week and 1 or 2 days completely off from running each week. If you still want to get out on your days off, cross training with a bike ride or swim is a good way to stay active.
Stretching and foam rolling are also great ways to keep your muscles feeling loose and ready to run. Finding stretches that target muscles like your hamstrings, quads, calves, and glutes will be best for keeping you feeling fresh. I also carve out time every day to foam roll which helps to massage your muscles. Personally I like TriggerPoint rollers (in stock at Skirack!) and they have a few different models depending on what works best for you.
Nutrition and hydration are also important to consider as you begin running. Your body will be burning more calories so you’ll have to eat accordingly and ensure you’re getting enough protein, carbs, sodium, and iron. Similarly, hydration should be happening all throughout the day, not just right before your run. Keeping a water bottle with you and drinking throughout the day can help ensure you’re staying hydrated and you’ll be ready to run. Drink mixes and energy gels and chews can also help keep you going during some of those longer runs. Both nutrition and hydration help to prevent cramps, assist with recovery, and keep your energy levels up. For more on nutrition and hydration, especially in the summer, check out our blog How to Exercise In The Heat.
4. Find a Running Buddy!
Running is more fun with friends! Motivation to get out the door can often be the biggest obstacle to running so finding a friend or two to run with is one of the best ways to hold yourself accountable to get out and run. I find runs with other people always go by faster than runs when I’m by myself and they’re a fun way to catch up with friends. Local running groups are also a great way to find people to run with. They help you meet friends, explore new routes, and stay running week after week.
5. Find your Mantra
I always try to run with a purpose, even if it's just to take some time away from the computer. Setting goals is a good way to find motivation and keep progressing toward something. Whether you’re training for your first 5k, building up to a marathon, or anything in between, a concrete goal will help keep you focused, motivated, and consistent.
There are countless philosophies about every aspect of running and these are the things I find most helpful, but the most important part is that you get out a run! Turn those miles into smiles!
- Jack Mitchell,
Skirack Run Specialist