Running is something that many people only consider doing if they were being chased because they were fearing their life. Does that sound familiar? I used to be one those people. Now, I love running and constantly challenge myself to become a better runner. I run everywhere. Sometimes even in a parking lot, going from my car into a store. This skill and desire to actually go run by choice didn’t happen overnight. If you are a beginner runner and want to learn how to start running for exercise, I’ve got you!
There are many elements that influence your progress and growth as a runner. It starts with creating a solid foundation and knowing it may take some time to find the appeal. From there it’s important to pay attention to your body and come up with training plan that you can work with. So go grab your shoes and get ready to hit the ground running (yes, that pun was totally intentional!) and find a newfound passion and boost your running performance.
The Foundation of Running
Running is a learned skill. It is very rare to succeed at anything without a solid foundation. The foundation to running for beginners starts with willingness to learn and adapt. Honing in on problems and finding solutions keeps you motivated and on the path for success. Open yourself to knowledge and take the time to research difficulties that arise while you run. There are unlimited resources on the internet that can help direct you. I also always invite you to personally ask me questions in the comments of this post or over on Instagram. Have a running plan. Follow your plan and be open to adjusting it if needed. Get yourself a good pair of shoes that you use only for running and be patient. The results will come, it just takes time and consistency.
Mindful Running – A Mind-Body Connection
Bringing mindfulness into each run gives you the ability to gain quicker momentum because of the mind-body connection it creates. Become aware of how your body is feeling while you run and be specific. Analyze each area of your body from head to toe. When something doesn’t feel good, this is where your willingness to learn comes into play. Research it. I guarantee there is advice out there to help solve issues that arise.
Mindfulness brings awareness to the present moment, acknowledging your thoughts, feelings and the sensations running through your body.
My two biggest issues were sore feet while running and my lungs always hurt. For my feet, I learned that I needed better shoes and that the more I ran, the more I would strengthen my feet muscles. Over time, they weren’t so sore. I Just needed to condition them. For my lungs, it ended up being that I wasn’t breathing correctly. Learning proper breathing techniques helped me up-level my success much quicker.
While you run, think about how you feel. If you don’t feel great, think about how you can do better so it does feel great. Create the mind-body connection and think about how good it is for your body to pump the blood through your veins and elevate your heart rate. After you’re done – even if it didn’t feel great in the moment, it’s likely you’ll feel great when it’s all over. Live on that high and how good your body feels and remember it. Embrace that feeling and you will learn to crave it. That feeling of accomplishment will be used as a motivational push the next time you want or need to run.
Distance & Endurance Training for Running
When I started my journey, I quickly discovered there are two big factors that kill motivation and optimism for new runners. These two factors kept me stuck for the longest time.
Let’s face it. Running isn’t fun when you’ve only gone two-tenths of a mile, your lungs hurt and you are you have a side cramp you can’t shake. But imagine being able to run 3 miles with ease and even tack on a 4th just because you’re feeling great and have the time. I want to help you run faster, and have the stamina to run longer.
Creating endurance to run long distances takes time, commitment, and CONSISTENCY. When learning how to run, committing to a training program that you can remain consistent with will create incremental results that make you a stronger, more efficient runner over time. A training program doesn’t have to be complicated, especially for beginners. Do research and find samples on the internet. You don’t have to stick to just one. If you like one aspect of one and something else about another, create your own personalized program. You know your capabilities and needs more than anyone else. The key here is having something – a GUIDE – you can commit to and remain consistent with.
There are two methods I use to help build stamina, distance and endurance: Interval Training and Slow & Steady. Beginner runners should test each method to find what works for them. Each method achieves a different goal. Mixing the two methods to create a hybrid and personalized plan can be effective as well. Listen to your body and do what feels best. Personally, I go for whatever I’m feeling on a particular day and often join the two methods together and run ½ of my run one way and ½ the other way..
1. Interval Training
Running in intervals can be measured by distance or time. No matter the unit of measure, the point is to run fast for a short time or distance and slow down to allow your body to recover and slow the heart rate. Researchers are finding that interval training is a more efficient way to burn fat, so if weight loss is your goal, this may be a dream come true.
Interval training creates segmented running and gives you the breather you’re always looking for. So, no more feeling guilty for needing to take a walking break. Running in intervals also allows you to do more of it. You could start at 60 seconds running and 30 second walking intervals, but over time, you will increase your running intervals to 3 minutes while keeping a 30-45 second walking interval.
I know what you’re thinking…
What if someone sees me slow down? I know firsthand how difficult interval training might be when it comes to the perception of others. We always think everyone has laser-beam focus on what we’re doing. We’re afraid someone might see us slow down and think it’s a sign of weakness. The reality is that it doesn’t matter what other people think. They don’t know what you’re doing and in all honesty – they don’t care. Next time you see someone look at you while you’re running, rather than think they are placing judgement, tell yourself they are looking at you with admiration – because the likely are.
2. Slow & Steady
The other option for increasing stamina and going longer distances is running at a slower and steady pace. This is easier to monitor and keep control over when on a treadmill, but it’s equally doable outside too. Here, you’ll start at a slower pace and running as far is your goal and adjusting speed as necessary.
Every couple of runs, you’ll increase your pace and see how you do. It’s okay if you need to take it back a notch or two or even take a break. You’re building endurance and need to learn what works for you and your body.
Anyone can be a runner. All it takes is consistency, determination and discipline. Boost your performance by taking it slow. Bring awareness to your body and notice how it feels as you take each stride and see if your body gives you clues on what to work on. Really analyze the endorphins flowing through you as you finish.
As a new runner, the best thing you can do when asking yourself how to start running, is to just start and use some of the beginner running tips I provided above. Have a plan and execute.
I always invite you to send me a DM on social media if you have questions. I am not a “professional” runner but I have 7 years of experience and I definitely have had many obstacles myself that I’ve had to overcome – and this is why I know you can do it too.