Starting a running routine means making a conscious decision to take care of yourself. Regular exercise, particularly running, is an excellent way to get in shape and improve you overall health.
However, there are some mistakes to avoid so you can minimize your risk of injury, steadily progress, and, most importantly, enjoy the experience! Here are some tips to get you started.
This is the first, and most important rule to ensure success.
When you start running, you need to give your body time to become (re)accustomed to this activity.
Running places immense demands on the entire body (muscles, tendons, bones, respiratory system, organs, etc.). Therefore, if you are a beginner, it’s important to understand that your body needs time to adjust to the stresses and strains of running.
So, in the beginning, avoid going too fast, even if it’s tempting – or not! The body does not adapt automatically.
It might be better to start by walking before taking on the challenge of running (remember that a brisk walk is as beneficial as running; see the article “Can walking help you lose weight?”).
This transition is essential to becoming a runner and enjoying this type of workout.
As for the frequency, we recommend a maximum of 3 times a week to start. Your body needs to rest so it can recover. Don’t underestimate the value of rest.
As for the duration of the run, it’s up to you to decide: a session of a few minutes, or around 15 minutes, is a good start. Beyond 30 minutes is a bit too much for a beginner.
I recommend downloading the Running coach app to help you train properly and safely.
How fast should beginners run?
Although it may seem counterintuitive, you have to run slow to run fast.
What this really means is, running slowly will help you to recover better and, as a result, enable you to work out more regularly.
Therefore, by running slowly, you will increase your pace more rapidly than by trying to run faster right away.
It’s better to advance slowly, but surely.
And what if I can’t do it?
If you can’t run during a session, don’t stress over it, just walk!
Walking is not a sign of weakness. Walking means you are able to listen to your body and to adjust your pace accordingly. In this way, you’ll avoid the risk of injury or overtraining. Walking allows you to recover better, both during the session, and afterwards.
What if I develop side stitches?
The dreaded side stitch can put a real kink in your running routine. Almost all runners have suffered from side stitches at one time or another.
As a preventive measure, avoid eating anything solid two hours before your workout (unless it’s something very easy to digest, like stewed or pureed fruit, for example) and drink in small quantities.
When a side stitch does strike during your run, take a break and walk. Breathe calmly and press your hands against the side that hurts. Don’t start running again until the pain has gone away.
Combine running with strength training
To help lessen the impact of running, it is important to strengthen your muscles. Your abs, legs, chest… running recruits essentially every muscle group in the body. Contrary to what you might think, the leg muscles are not the only ones doing the work during running. Make sure to download our Fitness Coach app where you’ll find quick and effective muscle strengthening workouts to complement your running routine.
Don’t get discouraged
If you follow our first basic rule – start slow – then you should expect to progress well and enjoy the experience.
However, you may become discouraged due to the physical and emotional demands of running. It’s important to remember that starting or getting back into a workout routine can be very difficult. Even experienced runners who have taken time off find it hard to get back on track. But with perseverance and patience, little by little, they are able to regain their previous levels of performance.
Don’t give up! You too can succeed!