Whether you are running to get back in shape or to get faster, there is always a better way of making progress.
Running as a kid and running as an adult are very different things; long desk jobs and bad lifestyle choices ruin our bodies. And if you really want to progress as a runner, then you should follow the proper process.
If you are new to running OR consider yourself a beginner, then we have some tips to assist you. This guide will set you up for success! Are you ready? Let’s go!
1. Set a Goal
Setting the goal is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.
If you are ready to bring positive changes in your life and health, getting specific about your goal is essential. Whether the goal is to reduce ten pounds of body weight or to run your first 5K — it's time to get very precise about your end goal.
How to set a goal? “I want to reduce weight” is not a definite goal. Your goal should be specific, measurable, practical, and timely.
Specific: Being specific about your goals will help you plan the journey. You can share your goals with the experts to help you achieve them.
Measurable: You may find yourself lost in the process if you don't set measurable goals. Goals can be measured in different ways, like your body weight, distance covered, speed or cadence.
Practical: There is nothing worst than impractical goals. If the goal is too big, it is advised to break them into phases. For example: if your goal is to reduce 50 pounds, then you should break your goal into five phases of 10 pounds and make the required adjustments after finishing each phase.
2. Keep it Short and Slow
Good things come slowly, especially in long-distance running.
If you are new or resuming running after a long time, do not try to run very long distances. Keep the process slow and gradually build up the running phase and endurance.
We see many people trying too hard in their initial days of running, eventually causing them to quit the training just because of overtraining or injuries.
A short run is better than no run!
3. The Run-Walk Method
One thing that most beginners don't realize, a running session does not need to be a continuous process.
Total beginners should start by walking for 20-30 minutes, this will help you get into the habit of some aerobic activity. Once you get very comfortable with daily walks, you can introduce running to the schedule.
For the total beginner, start by running for a minute and then two minutes walk, repeat the process five-ten times. Gradually, you can increase your running time and reduce your walk time.
One thing that you need to understand, walking in between your running session is not cheating, even expert runners take breaks to catch their breath.
4. Don't Run Every Day
Running at first is quite stressful on your lower body — your calves and ankles might require more time to recover.
Run on alternate days, and walk on the rest days. This will allow your body to adapt to a new fitness regime. People who try to run every day are more likely to suffer from shin splints and ankle strain — take it easy on body and mind.
5. Optimize the Recovery
People get too concerned about their protein intake when they train for muscle gain, but the same people get careless about the nutritional requirements when they start running. Just because you are running doesn't mean your body does not need protein. A scoop of whey protein within 30 minutes of a workout can enhance recovery and reduce muscle breakdown.
Emphasize proper fueling of your body. Eat protein-rich meals, and get ample rest. Your body will lose its vital minerals and vitamins through sweating — Make sure you take a good multivitamin to restore all the lost micronutrients.
6. Prevent Overtraining
Life is like running, don't worry about what others are doing — run at your own pace.
You can not achieve 12-week progress in four weeks. Reach out to a running expert to help you plan your runs. Ensure you are not overtraining your body just to increase the running mileage.
7. Do not Neglect Strength Training
This is something that many people miss out on. Many people who get into running want to lose weight — so they avoid all sorts of strength training.
Strength training regularly will improve your running mileage and speed. Bodyweight squats, lunges, jump squats, leg raises, single-leg glute bridges and single-leg Romanian deadlifts are just enough to improve lower body strength; do pull-ups and pushups for upper body conditioning. Strength training twice or thrice a week will provide a visible difference in your running skills.
8. Join a Community
One of the best ways to keep the motivation up is to join a community. Training with like-minded people will help you stay consistent with training. Plus, you will be able to learn a lot from their journey.
9. Focus on Time Instead of Distance
Running at a super slow speed does feel embarrassing, but every seasoned runner has gone through that phase of life. It's important to concentrate on your running time instead of the distance or speed.
Longer run time will make your body adapt to the routine — your tendons and ligaments will get used to prolonged stress. Once you get comfortable running for longer durations, then you can start focusing on the speed.
10. Get a Good Running Coach
Thinking “coaches are for pro athletes” is the biggest myth. If you are serious about being a good runner, getting in touch with a running coach is a sure shot to success.
A coach is an area expert who will help you cope with the difficulties and assist you in every possible way. A good coach will improve your running form and help you plan your runs to improve progressively.
You should know the subtle difference between warm-up and stretch!
A warmup is intended to get the blood flowing and to improve muscle activation and should be performed before training. On the other hand, static stretching should be performed as a post-workout drill, and it helps you reduce muscle stiffness and lactic buildup.