So, you are curious about how to start running. Running began in our hunting and gathering days when we didn’t have a choice. If we didn’t run, we didn’t survive.
Over time our bodies evolved to make us better hunters. We developed sweat, so we didn’t overheat. Our feet evolved to take heavy impact, and our bodies grew taller and stronger with every step we took.
We have no excuses to not run. Though, we do an excellent job at making excuses of why we don’t. If you are new to running, the article to follow will give you a great understanding of how to start running and how to do it the right way.
** Continue Scrolling for: 6 steps on how to start running **
Running for Beginners: A Quick Mitochondria Lesson
It’s amazing what the body can do to adapt to its surroundings. When you run, your body’s cells start evolving and changing to optimize endurance.
As you run, the powerhouse of the cell, the mitochondria, become denser. Additionally, the mitochondria move closer to the cell wall. This decreases the energy exchange Tim ever so slightly. Ultimately, your muscles get stronger, supporting your joints to prevent joint pain, and your heart rate and blood pressure decrease.
You are superhuman! It may not seem like it, especially in the first two to three weeks of running because your body isn’t used to it yet. It’s a major shock to your body. During this time be sure not to be too harsh on yourself, this part isn’t enjoyable.
There will be a breaking point where you feel the “runner’s high.” Even running coach, Ryan Lange admits, “I didn’t feel the runner’s high until month two and after losing fifteen pounds. It takes a while for your body to accept its new physical routine.”
How to start running begins with mental toughness. Understand that running is mainly a mental game. Your mind will want to quit when your body is only about 40-50% spent.
6 Steps on How to Start Running
Step 1 – Find your “Why”
With any exercise, you need to know why you are doing it. When people don’t have deep enough reasons behind why they do something, they quit.
Everyone’s why is different. Here are three “why” examples to consider:
- Do you want to lose weight?
- Do you want to look more fit?
- Are you predisposed to heart problems?
Before moving to step 2, you need to make sure your “why” is strong enough. Most people give up on their “why” because it is too superficial.
Here is a terrific example between the two:
A superficial “why” =
I want to lose weight and look skinny.
A deep “why” =
My father was diagnosed with heart disease. I feel as if I need to work against the possibility of experiencing heart disease for myself. I also need a reason to build discipline into my weekly routine to benefit my mental health.
When you attach an emotion to your “why,” it is much easier to stick by your why when running gets tough. Don’t forget to physically write down your why and tape it to your mirror or somewhere you will see it often. Read it every day!
Another helpful tip you can do is find an old photo of when you were thinner or a photo of someone you want to look like. Print the photo off and tape it somewhere you can see it. Sometimes having a visual photo to focus on will encourage you to stick with your “why.”
Step 2 – Make a plan that is attainable, not extreme
How to train for a 5k isn’t something you’ll learn overnight. So, don’t think you’re going to run a marathon next week.
Many people like David Goggins, will make you feel like you should start running one hundred miles a week. He is great motivation but understand he is a freak of nature.
You want to make a plan that you can follow. Know the amount of time you can give to your running routine. It would be silly to plan to run six days a week, when you may only have time to run three times a week.
It happens too often where people push themselves too hard from the start, expecting results to happen quickly. Extreme would be saying you are going to run 30 minutes straight when you’ve never even run 10 minutes before.
Step 3 – Learn how to stretch and learn to like it
You may think stretching is a waste of time and you just want to get your run out of the way. Though, stretching is omnipotent to prevent injury.
Here are ten benefits of stretching:
- Improves joint range of motion
- Improves athletic performance
- Decreases your risk of injury
- Increases flexibility
- Decreases muscle stiffness
- Enhances muscle relaxation
- Relieves post-exercise aches and pains
- Improves posture
- Helps reduce or manage stress
- Promotes circulation
Another amazing addition to stretching is using a foam roller. Foam rollers elongate and stretch your muscles, making them great tools for before and after a run.
If you are new to foam rolling, then you’ll want to start with a soft or medium-density foam roller and slowly build up to a firm foam roller. When you first start foam rolling, it can be extremely uncomfortable, so take your time.
Before you run, you should be dynamic stretching for 10 to 15 minutes. The stretching moves you do will depend on what type of running you do. Ultimately, you want to stretch every muscle you will be using on your run.
To make stretching easier, we’ve put together a 10-minute guided stretch routine to help prep your body for your next run. Many runners forget to stretch their psoas muscle, which allows you to raise your upper leg towards your body. Don’t be one of them!
Step 4 – Start with walking
How to train for a 5k starts with walking. Do you know that saying, you must crawl before you walk, and walk before you run? Well, that saying applies here.
The following plan is a fantastic way to get your lungs and muscles ready. With this plan, you are slowly building the endurance needed to start running.
You can start off walking at a slower pace and then pick up the speed as your body adjusts. Walking at a faster pace will increase your heart rate, increasing your stamina one step at a time.
When you feel comfortable, you can start adding five minutes of running into some of these walks. Maybe stretch your running intervals to 10 minutes and then 20 minutes once you get closer to the end of the 21-day walking guide.
Step 5 – Introduce running
Running for beginners should focus on the time running and not mileage. It is much easier to gauge how many minutes you’ve been running compared to fractions of a mile.
How are you with math? Same here!
Below is your next 21-day guide to introduce running. Start slow, this is not a race! At least not yet…
Step 6 – Repeat until you can run without stopping
Repeat the 21-day introduction guide to running until you can run a full week without stopping.
Speed will come with time. Not sure if you’ve ever heard this saying, “slow is smooth, and smooth is fast,” but it’s true. Once your body adjusts to the technique of running, it will know to go faster.
Once running feels like second nature, you can start running more frequently. Add another day into your running routine when you are ready.
10 Tips for Beginning Runners
- Keep your hands loose
Pretend you are holding an egg in each hand. Whatever you do, don’t tense up your hands when you are running because that added tension will tire you faster.
- Tilt your pelvis forward
I learned this trick by running cross-country. Tilting your pelvis forward puts less strain on your muscles and it consumes less energy when running.
- Invest in supportive running shoes
Running shoes can make or break a run. With comfortable and supportive shoes your performance will increase, and your body will thank you in the long run.
- Listen to music
Listening to music can provide a great distraction. Also, it can help set your pace. Be attentive to the beat and make sure it doesn’t push you faster than with what you are comfortable.
- Drink more water
Running cramps can sometimes feel unavoidable. Though oftentimes, the reason we get cramps in the first place is from dehydration. So, stay hydrated!
- Eat more bananas
Sometimes an electrolyte imbalance causes cramps. To prevent cramps when running, eat more potassium-rich foods. If you aren’t a fan of bananas, then eat more oranges, avocados, potatoes, spinach, and tomatoes.
- Run in the morning
When you run in the morning you get your run done and out of the way. You also end up burning more calories throughout your day. If morning runs don’t work for you, then stick to evening runs or the time of day that works for you.
- Track your progress
It’s too easy to tell yourself you aren’t getting anywhere. When you write down your accomplishments, it’s proof you are getting somewhere. You can also use an Apple, Garmin watch, or Fitbit to electronically track your progress.
- Don’t skimp on rest days
Your body will need rest days so don’t force an extra day if you aren’t ready for it. Muscles grow on non-training days.
- Join a support group
Some of us do better when we are alone, but some of us do better with a support group that cheers us on. Sometimes we can all use an accountability partner!
After only a few short months, your body will be adapted to running. The mitochondria cells in your body are denser and closer to the cell walls.
Your muscles are stronger, believe it or not. You might not see crazy results right now, though normally other people see the change in your looks before you do.
Those micro muscles surrounding your joints have gotten stronger, creating a cushion to prevent joint pain. Your heart rate and blood pressure have decreased.
After reading this article, you now know how to start running. You also have a guide to follow to help make running easier for you.
Running for beginners is hard. Just remember, you are a beast and you’re only going to get stronger the longer you run. Got get ‘em!