Just like January for new exercisers, summertime is the season for those new to running to lace up, head outside, and try something new. The number of people who run for their health has increased substantially over the years. With all of the fun themed races around (neon, zombies, obstacle courses, and more) it’s no wonder running is taking off as a go-to sport!
By working all of your largest muscle groups and the with the ability to change your intensity with a simple change in speed or course, running is one of the most efficient exercises meaning you get more calorie burn for your time. Now, who doesn’t love that? Before you head out the door, read through this list of our best tips for beginner runners to keep yourself safe and energized while you move!
Invest in a good pair of shoes.
The right pair of shoes can make your run much more enjoyable. Finding the best pair can take a bit of shopping around, but when you slip into them, you’ll know it was well worth it. Take some time to head to a running store and talk with a salesperson about your new-found workout. Not everyone’s feet are made the same, and there are shoes designed to fit and comfort all shapes and sizes of them. For example, if you have high arches but are wearing a really cute pair of running shoes designed for those with flat feet, you may quickly start to develop aches and pains in your feet, knees or hips. These types of injuries are only cured by rest and better shoes – so invest the first time around!
Make a plan.
You’re trying something new and going out of your comfort zone, so give yourself a helping hand by developing a game plan. Are you going to train for a 5K? Is your goal to be able to run around your neighborhood in the morning? Whatever it may be, make a plan. Start off with short distances and slower speeds on roads that you are familiar with. Familiarizing yourself with your running path is rather important. If you don’t have a plan, your first 1 mile jog around town can quickly escalate to a spontaneous 6 mile venture home! Check around your neighborhood for parks or areas with paved or cleared walking/running trails. As you learn your territory, you can gradually increase your distance and speed. Which variable you decide to alter first should depend on your goals. If you are interested in training for a long distance race, focus on gradually increasing your distance by 1-3 miles each week. Perhaps you’re running just for the thrill of it – if that’s the case, you may find it more challenging and rewarding to focus on trying to go a bit faster each week before changing your distance. There is no wrong answer, as long as you have a plan and take it slow.
Join a group.
Runners, and running groups, are everywhere! Just like a book club, these groups of people all share a similar interest. Joining a running group can be especially helpful if you’re unsure of areas to run nearby, if you’ve recently moved, or you are training for a local race. Having the social accountability and motivation will keep you striving towards your running goals. In addition, running groups can help you stick with your slow and steady plan, as most of them include a variety of meeting times and distances.
Fuel up and stay hydrated.
Running requires a lot of energy! Be sure to grab a carbohydrate and protein rich snack about 2 hours before you start running. Also, staying hydrated will keep you moving with ease. Drinking 6 ounces of water 30 minutes before running, as well as taking a swig every 20 minutes during your run, will keep you hydrated and healthy. After you run, help your body rebuild with a snack and plenty of water no longer than 45 minutes later.
Cross training is key.
While running is a great total body cardio exercise, the repetitive motion can take a toll on your joints. Mix up your routine by including total body strength training as well as some form of stretching, such as yoga. Lucky for you, we’ve got all of the workouts you need to keep a well-rounded routine!
These 5 tips will help you perfect the convenient, fun workout of running. And, if all else fails, just remember – it’s as simple as putting one foot in front of the other!