How to Start Running: A Beginner’s Guide
Before I adopted a lifestyle of running, I considered the concept to be unnecessarily exhausting. I heard people speak about receiving a “runner’s high” after running a certain distance, but it was an activity I took no interest in.
I was already in pretty good shape, my eating habit wasn’t out of control, and I didn’t see a need to place this into my life. But I had a roommate who would explain to me the exciting nature of adopting this lifestyle.
He would tell me the benefits of running such as receiving a good body and attracting females.
But I neglected it until one of my best friends, who was a workout athlete, encouraged me to do it not because it would help me achieve the body I wanted, but because it would renovate my mind into a relaxed state.
It was difficult to start my lifestyle as an avid runner, but after several weeks, I realized running wasn’t just providing me with extra energy, but it transformed my mind to eat healthier, my self-esteem doubled, and my memories enhanced.
I may not know the path you’re on as an avid runner, but if you’re starting this lifestyle or have an interest to applying it, I’ll provide a guidance to help you start running:
1. Mentally prepare yourself:
Before you decide to take the lifestyle as a runner, it’s best to know the reasons for doing so. Provide yourself with a motivation to start running. For me, it was the curiosity of witnessing what would happen to my mind and to release stress.
For others, it’s to get into shape, and for some it’s preparing themselves for a marathon. Whatever it is, give yourself a reason for making this decision rather than blindly jumping into it. That way, your motivation remains in your soul rather than abandoning it after a few attempts.
2. Invest in respectable runner shoes:
It’s worth investing money into your feet because if you run in shoes that aren’t meant for runners, it’ll cause a stress in the sole of your feet.
I made this mistake when I first started running and developed a few blisters on my toes. So avoid that mistake by buying something that will comfort your feet as you complete your first couple of miles.
3. Discover what’s right for you:
You don’t have to run outside when there’s other options to take. If you prefer working out in a gym because that’s what you’re most comfortable with, find a treadmill to begin your workout sessions. Treadmills are very useful because they’re flat, less distracting, and you could track your distance.
If you prefer running on a beach because you enjoy the smell and surroundings, find one nearby and go. If you want to run around your neighborhood, go ahead and examine what’s nearby.
A personal option for me is running around my neighborhood because I get to see what’s going on and my local neighbors.
4. Start out slowly:
Another mistake I made was when I overburdened myself by running with my friend, who could run a 5k without any issues. In fact, it was her favorite hobby to do a quick 5k during lunch.
I was able to keep up with her for the first mile or so, but after a while, I found myself falling behind her. This normally cause a person to want to quit because they can’t imagine themselves ever accomplishing such a distance.
Don’t be afraid to take breaks during your run because you don’t want to pass out before finishing. The best route to take is to start running short distances and building up from there.
For some, it may be a half mile to start with. For others, they might need to walk a mile before building up to jogging. It doesn’t matter where you start at. The goal will be to begin your journey and from there, eventually build your distance as a runner.
5. Run with others:
Personally, I prefer running alone because it allows me to clear my thoughts and keep at my own pace. But some of my friends’ favorite method of running is sticking with a group or partner.
The reason for this is because it creates a unity between individuals and makes running much more exciting because you build teamwork and motivation to continue on. Runners are very friendly individuals and would be more than happy to motivate you to continue on when you’re struggling.
6. Drink plenty of waters:
Avoid substances such as coffee, energy drinks, and alcohol before running a few miles. Water provides the best type of fuel to avoid dehydration and will keep you running. So before taking a run, drink several glasses of water to prevent dry throats and upset stomachs.
7. Stretch after completing a course:
This keeps your body flexible and less sore after resting for a few hours. Common stretches you should focus on should point towards the muscle tension in your legs and back. Spend 12 – 20 seconds on each stretch session before moving on to the next.
8. Remember to stay consistent:
Even when our bodies are sore the next day, we still have to run to build the habit into our brains. We might want to take multiple days off, but the more excuses we use to not run, the easier it’ll be to continue doing so.
Without even noticing, we end up quitting our running cycle and remember the good old days. You don’t have to run every day of the week, but try to aim for 2 – 3 times. That way, you remain consistent on your path to becoming an avid runner and developing new habits into your life.
9. Keep Your Willpower Alive Through Music (or something that involves audio)
One tool that I need with me at all times before running anywhere are my headphones and music device. Without those two components to keep my mind constantly distracted, running gets boring and tiresome extremely fast.
But I’m not the only one who thinks this way. Most of the runners I know have a separate playlist specifically meant for running and working out. It serves as a method of forgetting about the straining their body and focus only to the beats and words being poured into their ears.
Even if you’re not interested in listening to music, there’s audiobooks, meditation music, and other audios you can listen to during any running session. The goal is to separate your mind from the act of running itself and enforce it to your mind instead.
In final thoughts…
When you start your lifestyle as a runner, you’re going to develop muscle aches and soreness in your quadriceps and calves. But the goal will be to remain consistent on your journey and not allow excuses to cloud your judgment. What usually helps me when I find a temptation to not run is to ignore the thought, place some headphones on, and just run without thought.
Don’t give yourself a reason not to run when you feel your emotions not in the mood. Don’t wait for motivation to come to you. Just do it, and be patient with your progress. You may not see your expected results when you first start running, but your progress will be visible along with your stamina.
For my readers who would like a guidance coach on assisting them on their journey, below is a plan for a beginner runner’s course.