Running For Beginners: Good Running Style And Success.

Plan for success.

Running shoes and, if you're a woman, a good running bra, are the 2 essentials before you hit the asphalt or fields. After that it’s time to:

  • Plan a route(s)
  • Find a buddy (if you want to)
  • Commit the time.

Plan a running route.

Take out a map or look online to find a route that’s the right length, has the right amount of hills or is flat enough, is safe for running at the time of day you’re planning.

Now find another couple of routes, perhaps grass if you’ve chosen roads or vice versa. This gives you variety, which will prevent boredom. It’s also essential for strengthening muscles and joints and improving balance. Try choosing a shorter route too, for days when you have less time.

On your chosen routes, mark out mile (or kilometer) sections. You’re going to use these with the progress charts later in this chapter.

Do you need a running buddy?

Not everyone wants to run with someone else – sometimes just your running shoes are all the company you need.

The advantages to having a running buddy include:

  • Someone to motivate you when you need it
  • Someone to get out on the track
  • Someone with whom to compare progress notes
  • Better safety.

The disadvantages include:

  • If your buddy can’t make the run you may feel like missing it yourself
  • Your buddy may want to talk while you run, when you want to stay quiet
  • Your buddy may not be compatible for your level of fitness (which can be demoralizing if s/he’s running on ahead or lagging behind)
  • Your buddy may not be as committed to running as you are.

So the moral of the story is that, if you want to run with someone else, find the RIGHT someone. Discuss things like commitment, goals, time, routes, and give it a trial period to see how you get on together. A bit like dating.

You could also look into joining a running club in your area. Search online for clubs and park runs local to you.

Commit the time to your running.

Ok, so this is really important and applies to anything in life:

Reaching your goals is something you can’t do unless you take action.

We all have the same 24 hours in each day and it’s up to each of us to decide how we use them. If you think you don’t have the time, how can you re-organise your days’ activities? What is expendable – some TV time, idle internet surfing? Instead of shopping in store can you do routine stuff online?

Are you going to run in the morning, during the day or in the evening?

The advantage to running in the morning is that it’s over and done before the day begins (and before your brain realizes what you’re up to!).

The advantage to running during the day is that it breaks up the day and refreshes the mind and body.

The advantage to running at the end of the day is that it’s a great way to get rid of the day’s frustrations.

Ultimately your run will need to fit in with your lifestyle. But do make it fit: until your run becomes like getting dressed or brushing your teeth, schedule it into your day/weekly planner and commit to it as you would any other appointment.

When you’re starting to make a habit of running, go as often as you can, but include a day’s rest in every week. If running every other day suits you then do that – you’ll be doing it 4 times a week, or running on week days with the weekend off for example.

Making a start - a running program for beginners.

You may see fitness ‘rules’ on the internet that say something along the lines of:

Never go 3 days without exercise.

Never miss a Monday.

Never give up.

And, as well as being easy to remember, they’re not bad commandments to go by.

Do you go for time or distance? The following table is yours to help you figure out what suits you best as you get started. When you’re in the groove of running you can do both time and distance – a set distance and improve your time. Your improved run times are called ‘personal bests’ or PBs in the running world.

Here you have a structure to get started. Stick with the table you’re comfortable with for as long as you need to, but don’t get too comfortable there. The idea is to progress by challenging yourself.

The days are numbered, so that if you’re running 3 times a week this chart will last 5 weeks. If you’re running 5 days a week it’ll last 3 weeks, and so on, because you’ll make faster progress with the frequency of your runs.

This running chart gives suggested amounts of time to walk/run. This is easy to estimate using the timer app on a smart phone, or just a wrist watch.


However, if you’re not the sort to use charts then try this:

Start walking for an amount of time (10-30minutes) that feels comfortable.

Once walking for 30 minutes is easy, add 1 to 2 minute running intervals into the walk.

As you improve, make the run intervals more frequent and longer until you’re running for 30 straight minutes.

Moving on.

As you get fitter and more confident, as you see what your body is capable of, add time and distance until you are running routes and times that suit you.

Competitions, marathons and events that push your training forward are a great incentive and great for meeting other runners who enjoy it as much as you do. Find them online and in national running magazines.

GOOD LUCK and keep on running!

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