If you’re new to running, you probably finish every run thinking: Is this going to get any easier? That defeated feeling is sure to make anyone quit after just a few weeks.
While the answer is not a resounding, “Yes!” I can assure you that running will become less of a chore and more a “I need this for my sanity” type of hobby when you use these 10 tips. They helped me learn to love running and I think they’ll do the same for you.
[ctt template=”4″ link=”WT8SL” via=”yes” ]Beginner Runners: The Tips You Need to Make it a Habit! #Runners #NewRunners[/ctt]
#1 Listen to Music You love
When I first started running, I thought I had to listen to upbeat pop music, or typical “workout music.” One day, I was listening to the new Mumford and Son’s album before going for a run and thought, “I really want to keep listening to this, but I’m going for a run.” And it hit me, “Well, why can’t you?”
I did, and my runs were never the same. Sometimes I listen to slow music, other times I turn on fast-paced music. I just choose whatever I’m in the mood for. When you listen to what you want to listen to, the run feels like less of a struggle because you’re enjoying yourself.
#2 Wear the Right Shoes
The brightest aqua shoes on the shelf are appealing to the eye, but may not be the best shoe for your body and feet. To find the right shoe for your body, get a gait analysis. Done at specialty shoe stores and clinics, this assessment gives insight into the mechanics of your body and how it moves. Because the shoe is an extension of your foot, it needs to be chosen based on how your body moves and how your foot hits the ground.
With the right shoes, you’ll run faster and more efficiently, while reducing injuries. The best part: most of the time they’re free with the purchase of a new pair of sneakers.
#3 Plan Your Route
The best way to make a run feel less daunting is to plan your route ahead of time. When you know how long you’ll be running for, and have an end in sight, it’s easier to push through.
Plan your route in your head—“I’m going to run to the school, loop around the block and head back to the house”—or use an app like Map My Fun or My Fitness Pal.
#4 Keep a Journal
Food journals are a great way to keep up with healthy eating and running journals are a great way to stay motivated as a beginner runner. Some details to note post-run include:
- Total distance and time
- Whether you liked the route or not
- Your mood
- How your body felt after
- How your body felt the next day
This will not only hold you accountable, but allow you to see progress, which may be just the motivation you need to stick with it.
#5 Add Intervals Every Few Runs
Spice up long distance runs, and boost your burn, with a few intervals sprinkled throughout. When you’re feeling strongest, or your favorite part of a song is about to come up, choose a point in the distance and sprint to it. I often do this between trees or stretches of sidewalk, with 2-3 intervals every 10 or so minutes. Be careful not to tire yourself out too much if you still have a lot of miles ahead of you.
#6 Join a Local Running Club
A local running club is one of the best ways to become a better runner and stay accountable to your workouts. Check with local specialized shoe stores or on MeetUp.com, both of which are great places to find these running groups.
#7 Increase Your Mileage Slowly
Doing too much, too fast, can lead to injuries and burnout quickly. If you do too much before you’re ready, you risk pulling a muscle or hurting yourself otherwise. Not to mention, struggling to finish your run every single time is disheartening and could turn you off altogether.
#8 Make Time for Rest
As a new runner, you may be motivated to pound the pavement every single day. While this excitement is admirable, your body won’t have the time it needs to recover.
Running weakens your muscles temporarily, and they need rest in order to work properly on your next run. Your immune system is also compromised after running, especially long distances. If you run without rest you risk the chance of overtraining and contracting a cold.
Note that rest doesn’t have to mean sitting on the couch—it could mean enjoying a short bike ride, going for a walk after dinner or taking a yoga class. In fact, movement helps you recover faster because it helps circulate necessary recovery nutrients to your muscles that need them.
Check out my article on 24 Life: 5 Recovery Mistakes You Could be Making
#9 Find Your Breath
Running can be meditative if, instead of pushing against the discomfort, you lean into it. The best way to do this is with your breathing. Get into a habit of finding a controlled and consistent breath pattern, and when your thighs are burning or you don’t think you’ll make it up the next hill, turn to this breath pattern. If you’ve lost it, get it back, ease into the discomfort to push through. Much of running is mental, and finding and keeping your breath makes it more manageable.
#10 Know That Your Body Needs Time to Acclimate
Running is exhausting for your body, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. “Understand before you take up running that it takes your body about 4 to 6 weeks to acclimate to the new demands,” says Thad McLaurin, with Active.com. He continues, “Anticipating the ‘wiped out’ feeling can actually make it less of a shock.”
Keep tip #8 in mind when struggling with this. Rest is critical as a runner, especially as a new runner. Start by running just 3 times a week and increase your mileage and frequency as your body acclimates.