Time and time again I find myself falling in love with running. It’s a part of the day where I can unplug, get some fresh air, and get away from all the craziness of life. I’m not going to pretend starting to run isn’t hard though. I remember not knowing where to begin or what shoes to buy. But once you lace up those shoes and start slowly logging those miles, you might find a new passion- I know I did. Not to mention all the physical benefits such it being an excellent means of conditioning the cardiovascular system.
Being 4 months postpartum, I’m starting to work on rebuilding my endurance and have began running again! I just signed up for a 5k in a few months and am so excited to have a goal to train for. For those who are starting to run for the first time or are returning to running after a break, here are some tips to help you get started:
1. Follow a Plan
Pick a goal that excites you and is challenging without being overwhelming! You could also sign up for a race with a friend to give you extra motivation. Then break it down into manageable steps you can do daily. Write an outline down and schedule out your week to help you focus on what you need to do to achieve your goal. If you need help creating a customized training plan, I’d love to help! Click here to take the first step towards your next goal.
2. Fuel Your Body
As a runner you need to fuel your body with good food to prevent injury and recover properly! If your run is over 30 minutes, it’s a good idea to grab some pre-run fuel an hour before your run. Try to avoid heavy meals about two hours before you head out on your run. Aim for pre- run snack that’s easy to digest such as a banana with peanut butter, toast, or oatmeal.
After your run, you should always eat something to help your muscle recovery and replenish glycogen stores. A snack or meal with a combination of protein and carbs is a great choice. Some examples are yogurt with fruit or a protein smoothie.
3. Make Sure You Have Proper Footwear
The awesome thing about running is you don’t need a lot of fancy equipment or memberships- just yourself and a good pair of shoes! Making sure you have good fitting shoes will reduce injury. Go check out your local running store to get fitted properly, try on different brands, and be able to return them easily!
Once you’ve reached 400-500 miles, it’s time to switch out your shoes to prevent injury!
3. Walk Before You Run
Increasing too much too fast is a recipe for injury. Start by running 2-3 minutes and walking 1-2 minutes. Then work your way up to running without stopping! Once you can run 1 mile without stopping, add half a mile. A general recommendation is to increase distance by about 10% from week to week.
4. Aim for 2-3 Strength Training Sessions Per Week
Strength training can help make you faster and run longer! Integrating strength sessions for 30-60 minutes 2-3 times a week is ideal to build a balanced and strong body. If you are doing a run on the same day as strength training, lift after you run if increasing your running distance and speed is your primary goal.
5. Don’t skip the warmup!
Start by walking 5 minutes to get your body ready for your run. Dynamic stretching like leg swings, hip openers, and front kicks is great to get your blood flowing and prevent injury as well. Don’t forget to finish your run with static stretches!
6. Keep yourself hydrated
Proper hydration results increases your body’s ability to crush your performance goals! It’s very important to begin your run hydrated by drinking enough water throughout the day. You will need to increase your hydration as your mileage or the temperature increases. Essential electrolytes are also lost in sweat when running, including potassium and sodium. An electrolyte drink such as Re-Lyte or Nuun can help restore your body’s hydration levels.
If you’ve been running for a week or a decade, don’t forget to give yourself some grace and be proud of yourself. Each day that you get out there you are bettering yourself and getting closer to your goals!