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Getting started with running: A Beginner's Guide

Updated on June 6, 2017
DeborahNessmith profile image

Deborah is a stay at home mother of 2 young children. She is a former preschool educator, turned freelance writer and momprenuer.

So, you've decided to take up running, now what?

You've discovered a new-found love of running, but you're unsure of how to get started. Continue reading these tips to help you turn your new-found love into a reality.

Have patience and set goals

It takes time and dedication to learn and to master the running skills you wish to acquire. Start off by setting small goals like running one mile in 4 weeks. To help you get started, use the SMART method for setting your goals.

S: specific

"I want to run 30 minutes continuously within 8 weeks."

M: measurable

Have a way to measure your achievements. (Stopwatch, GPS, etc.)

A: attainable

Goals that's within your range of achievement are more likely to be met.

R: realistic

Know what you're capable of achieving.

T: time-specific

Set a start and finish date for your goals.


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Stretching and proper form

Running may seem easy enough, but it's important to stay free of injury. This comes from stretching and using proper form.

Stretching:

Stretching is an essential part of your training. It helps relieve muscle tension, prevents soreness, increases flexibility, and helps prevent injury. However, pushing to the point of pain may cause injury.

Proper running techniques:

When you're running it's important to keep your eyes on the ground 10 feet in front of you. Avoid watching your feet, as this may cause you to stumble and injure yourself.

While running, try to land in the middle of your feet instead of the toes and heels. Landing on the toes and heels causes tension in the calves.

When you're running the head is up and t back is straight. The shoulders are level and relaxed and the hands are at a 90-degree angle at your waist. Light cup the hands but don't clinch the fists, and hinge the arms from the shoulders when moving them.

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Follow a schedule and have consistency

When you begin your training, it's important to set a schedule and have consistency. Start each training session with a warm-up and it with a cool-down. As a beginner, you'll want to start off slow, so commit to a 20-minute session, 3-5 days per week. As you gain endurance, increase the length of your sessions.

Starting out, you'll want to use the run/walk method. With this method, you'll run for four minutes then walk for two minutes. This will continue until you've reached your desired time. Not only will you build endurance, but you'll reduce your risk of injury. As you get stronger, increase the amount you spend running and decrease the amount of walk breaks. Continue using this method until you're able to run non-stop.

© 2016 Deborah Nessmith

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    • DeborahNessmith profile image
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      Deborah Nessmith 8 months ago from Florida

      Thank you for being the first to post a comment. My interests are all over the place but I'm passionate about getting healthy and staying shape. I hope this article will help some start their new journey in running.

    • TheHoleStory profile image

      TheHoleStory 8 months ago from Parsons, West Virginia

      My running days are well behind me Deb, but this is another one of your well written hubs which will certainly benefit those who want to begin a phase of running in their life. I'm also thrilled to be the very first person to be able to comment here.