Running is one of those exercises that simultaneously sound ridiculously easy and challenging all at the same time especially when you are first starting out. I’ve been running off and on for a couple of years now and only in the past couple of months have I felt like I finally unlocked the key to successful run. In this article, I share 5 Running Tips for Beginners aka 5 Things I Wish I Knew about Running from the Beginning.
Also read: 17 Benefits of exercise on the brain and body
Truth is gear is subjective and it might take a little bit of experimenting to figure out what works for you including the gear that I am about to talk about. That being said, the two pieces of gear that I wish I had from the very beginning are:
Shoes like feet come in all different shapes and sizes. Some are built for a high arch, some are built for trails, and some are built to mimic the barefoot. You name it, there is a variation of running shoe for it. Therefore, shoes that work for me might not work for you and vice versa.
But, that being said there are a couple of things to keep in mind when you are picking out a shoe if you are going to be running in it. Can you wiggle your toes? You should be able to. Is your foot snug? It should be but not too tight. Do you overpronate or under pronate when you run?
If you are not sure about how your feet actually move when you run, I highly suggest going to a specialty running store near you to get fitted for a shoe. It might cost a little bit more but there they can stick you on a treadmill and actually record how you run and then they can stick you on a shoe that is personalized for you and your feet.
Alternatively, you can do a shoe quiz online where you can find out what shoe might work best for you.
Before I had a flip belt I would struggle to find a place for all the things that I carry when I run. Granted, I don’t really carry a lot but things like my keys, my id, and phone are things that I like to keep with me even when I run.
Armbands were often too small for my galaxy s7 edge, way overpriced and usually didn’t even have a spot for my keys. Work-out clothes very often don’t come with pockets. So, I got very familiar with the sensation of foreign objects being stuffed down my sports bra as I ran which by the way I don’t recommend because ouch!
After doing a bit of research I came across the flip belt which I ordered almost instantly. It’s a belt that you wear when you exercise that has snug pouches all the way through it. The pouches are big enough for my phone snug enough to keep my id and other cards in place and it even has a crisp to hang my keys on as I run. It doesn’t slide off my body as run even with my current 10-inch difference between my waist and hips. And I’ve never lost an item to date.
For reference, I ordered a size small in the awkward colour and I feel like it fits perfectly for me. You can buy a flip belt online. This isn’t a flip belt commercial; I just wish I got one sooner.
It took me forever to figure out what and when to eat before I went on a run. Should I eat a big meal? Should I eat a snack? Should I eat anything at all? When should I eat etc.
The truth is like gear it’s kind of subjective. For me personally, I find that there are two things that work really well for me. The first is a short fasted run first thing in the morning. If am running without eating anything, I generally can’t go for a very long time and it pretty much has to be right when I wake up otherwise I get extremely light-headed and nauseous. But after a fasted run in the morning, I’ve actually found that I have quite a bit of energy and it makes me feel extremely productive and ready to take on the day.
The second thing I found that works really well for me is having a light carbohydrate snack somewhere 30 minutes to one hour before a run. Usually, for me, this means a banana or an apple or something of that variety. I found that a light snack gives me a good amount of energy to power through cardio but it doesn’t make me feel sick or heavy like a large meal would.
Also read: 7 Simple steps to get in shape fast
As a beginner, all of the apps that are available for you to use can be really overwhelming and it’s difficult to figure out which app exactly you will wind up using. For me personally, there are 3 apps that I use frequently that I wish I had from the very beginning. Keep in mind am running android and these apps might be different on ios or windows phone.
Truth is runtastic is one of the millions of tracking apps that tells you your pace, gives you a map of where you have gone, gives you audio queues to let you know many miles or kilometres you’ve done, how many calories you’ve burned and so on and so forth. I really enjoy the simple, easy to understand interface and I’ve never had any bugs or issues pop up with this particular app and I’ve had those things happen frequently on other tracking apps.
If you want to start running and you have absolutely no running background, this app is for you. This app essentially takes you through intervals of jogging and walking to slowly build up your endurance over the course of a couple of weeks. It’s very easy to use, very simple to understand and it’s a God-sent if you are just starting out.
Zombies run is a unique app that is basically an interactive podcast that you listen to as you run. The premise behind it is that there is a zombie apocalypse that is occurring and you are one of the runners for a small township that is trying to stay protected from the hoard and you have to collect virtual items for the township as you run. Basically, you are running from zombies. It’s a fun app that turns running into a real-life game that you are trying to win instead of a choir that you have to do.
These two last things kind of go hand to hand. When you are starting out running for the first time it’s really easy to jump the gun and start running at an above-average pace especially when you might not be familiar with what your own personal average pace is.
But after a couple of blocks, if you are running too fast, you will feel that burn in your lungs, your heart racing in an uncomfortable way and it will feel impossible to catch your breath then you will slow down, stop, try to breathe and feel so frustrated with yourself and defeated because you thought you were stronger than that.
If I could go back and tell myself one thing, it would be to slow down. Take notice of how fast you are moving when you are walking a brisk walk. How easy it is to hold a conversation, very slowly increase your pace to the lightest of jogs, and get comfortable with your body moving at that pace. Breathe, instead of trying to go at a lightning fast pace, try focusing on how far you can go instead.
The hardest part about running isn’t even your legs giving out or the sweat pouring down your face, or your earbud popping out in the middle of it all, it’s your body telling you to stop and that it’s too hard.
My trick around this is, is to tell myself ooh I’ll just take a break at the end of this song and then when the song ends and I’ll tell myself ooh I can make it to that light pole up ahead. And then when I get there ooh let’s just get around the corner of this block first and then we’ll take a break.
The truth is that my body always tells me that I can’t do it. And every time I try my hardest to tell it that it’s wrong. Sometimes it doesn’t work and that’s okay too. At the end of the day when I finish a run, no matter how far I went or how it goes, I feel proud of myself because at least I proved that I could get up and move.
At the end of the day, running for me is the embodiment of me telling my body who is in charge and I won’t stop until I say so.
Also read: 5 Cardio Mistakes Which Make You Fatter
In the comments down below let me know if you have any tips or motivation for anybody else who is just kind of starting their journey with running. If you have any requests for future articles feel free to leave those suggestions in the comments below.