Beginner’s Guide to Running
In a world filled with high-tech sports requiring lots of fancy equipment (golf, bicycling, etc.,) running is a simple way to get fit. Just going outside and running is a great way to get in shape, and it doesn’t require much to get started. Just lace up your shoes and go! Below are a few simple suggestions to get started off on the right foot.
1. Buy a suitable pair of running shoes
If you don’t yet have running shoes, head to your local running store, talk to the employees, and pick up a pair that’s right for you. Generally, shoes cost $60-100 per pair, whether you’re getting cushy training shoes, racing flats, or minimalist shoes.
You may have heard of the “barefoot” movement by now, but going completely barefoot is rarely the best option, so talking to experienced runners and buying some sort of footwear is highly recommended.
2. Consider some athletic clothing
At a bare minimum, you’ll need socks, gym shorts, and a t-shirt – you don’t want to go running in dress clothes, blue jeans, etc. You probably have the basics in your closet, but if you find yourself opting for longer runs, you might want actual athletic clothing rather than an old t-shirt.
Ideal running clothing is light weight, will wick your sweat away (cotton does not do this,) and prevents chafing. Here are a few things to look for:
- Running shorts with built-in liner.
- Sweat wicking t-shirt or singlet.
- Compression shorts and tights.
- Running socks.
If I had to choose just one proper piece of apparel, it would be high-quality, running-specific socks – to prevent blisters!
3. Learn to run
Most new runners seem to think that running is a basic skill that doesn’t require practice. That line of thinking is what leads to so many injuries!
How do you go from walking to running? The truth is, running is a complex skill that takes a lot of work to master. You might be a natural runner, but if you didn’t grow up with running as a huge part of your day, you probably need some extra help. I would suggest attending a running clinic or watching a video about Chi Running or the Pose Method if possible.
4. Plan your running route ahead of time
While it can be fun to just go out and run where the wind takes you, you’re better off with a plan, especially as a beginner.
For safety purposes, you want to pick a route free of automobile traffic, busy intersections, bad neighborhoods, and angry dogs. But you don’t want to stray too far from civilization, because you might need to stop for a drink of water at the convenience store.
5. Keep the distance in check
It is also a good idea to set a realistic distance goal for your initial runs. If you plot your route online first (try a free service like MapMyRun,) it will show you the distance. Then you can change your route accordingly.
If you don’t plan this out, what you thought was going to be an easy one mile run could actually measure out at 2-3 miles. This is common for new runners because they visualize routes from their normal perspective, which is behind the wheel of a car.
6. Keep track of your times
Now you have actually begun running, and that’s great, but here’s one last tip to help keep you coming back!
Most runners enjoy competing against themselves, so I suggest keeping track of how long it takes you to finish your route. You can log these times in a notebook and try to gradually improve your time a little bit each week.
You should be able to put at least one of those six tips into action today! Before you know it, running will be part of your daily routine, and you’ll even start to consider yourself a “runner.” But best of all, you’ll be in great shape and feeling energized, rather than tired and stressed-out.
About the author: Levi Bloom is a runner, and he writes for The Runner’s Resource to share his thoughts and experiences with other runners.