As my friends know I’m an avid runner I often get asked how to start running.
I cannot claim I’m a running expert nor that I tell The Running Truth about everything, but there are some tips I give to everyone when asked this question.
1. Start running 3 times a week or look for a training plan
If you’re serious about running, start running 3 times a week.
My own rule of thumb is: 2x a week is maintaining condition, 3x a week is building condition.
You can just go out and start running the same lap for weeks on end and gradually build up the distance or you can search for a training plan online (see below)
2. Run-walking does not mean you are weak.
Depending on how much in shape you are or how much you weigh, it can be a challenge to go out and instantly run 5km.
In Belgium we have the ‘start ro run’ app and I know there are ‘couch to 5k’ apps out there as well.
The goal is the same, get to 5k of running in about 10-12 weeks.
If getting there means walking-running-walking-… during this process, this is no problem at all. When you keep on running this will get upgraded to running-running faster with interval training, so this is the start of speed work.
“But I’ve gone running for 20minutes and I barely broke a sweat” – Trust me: this will change 🙂
3. Don’t want too much too fast.
This follows up on my last sentence from tip #2.
It can be that you go running and barely broke a sweat, this does not mean you can skip a week in your training, they are designed like this with a reason.
If you do not follow a specific training plan, don’t just double your distance without thinking it through.
Your body (joints, muscles, lungs, …) needs to adapt to distance and impact. So build up slowly if you don’t want to get injured.
4. If you feel some joints struggling in your legs it might be time to buy proper running shoes
Proper running have an average high cost (it’s soon about €120) and that’s quite an investment if you’re not sure if you’re serious about running. The advantage is high though! If you can find a store where they can check your gait and do a funded proposition of running shoes it’s worth every cent.
Your joints will thank you, the chance of injury is much smaller and you will feel like you walk on clouds. Bear in mind that this is about the only investment you need to make. Clothing, water bags, … can be bought very cheap at the start of your running career, once you know what you like/dislike you can do some investments there as well.
5. Next investment should be a heart rate monitor.
I swear with running in heart rate zones. So once you kept up with running a month or two I usually say people need to buy a heart rate monitor.
A person’s natural pace is around his turning point (the point where you start producing lactic acid). During the start of your training that’s not a big problem. You come from “nowhere” and will automatically gain condition.
If you’re about 3-4 months further however you should start mixing up your training and do trainings at different heart rates, hence: you need something to be able to check this: a heart rate monitor.
What I usually don’t tell is the ground people need to run on.
I live near the beach and people often ask me if it’s better or not to run on the beach. I just cannot give a short answer to that.
For some it’s better, for most it’s not. Yes it’s softer and your joints will benefit, but that’s about the only advantage.
The beach is seldom flat or all proper hard sand.
Mentally it can be very hard because you won’t run consistent laps at all.
Especially if you have proper shoes,I’d say you’re better of with a flat stroke of asphalt.
Do you agree/disagree with this starting tips?
Do you have anything to add?