Running is often one of those things that everyone wishes they could do but somehow never have the time to actually do it. Well, we’re here to tell you that now is the perfect time to start. With the stressful year we’ve had, we all need a few more endorphins to get us going again. And what better way than to get into running? It is free and clinically proven to work wonders for both regular and mental health.
In fact, research suggests marathon athletes exhibited fewer depressive symptoms and more positive effects than their non-running counterparts. Additionally, they had a higher level of cognitive functioning. But you’re probably thinking “well that’s all great, but I’ve tried and failed so many times!”
Well, we’re here to help, and our top 5 easy tips will have you running marathons in no time. You’ll be wondering why you ever had any problem with it in the first place!
1. Run with Intervals
Running with intervals is the best way to get into running. There’s no point in trying to run a 5k if you’ve never run before. Although you’ll probably make it, your body won’t be ready for the impact or the strain and you’re at a higher risk for injury. The best way to start is to break your runs into timed or distanced sections. It might be a good idea to try ten lots of two-minute runs with a one-minute walk break in-between. While this might feel embarrassing or infuriating, it’s the best and safest way to build up endurance.
It’s important to listen to your body and ensure that you don’t rush into running long distances. As you start to feel more comfortable with running, you can up the run time and reduce the walk intervals. Eventually, you may want to set yourself bigger distance goals and ditch the timer! A great way to track your progress is to use a sports watch or phone app. These are great for seeing distances and measuring how far you’ve come.
2. Create a Run Schedule
Consistency is one of the key factors to running success as it allows your body to adapt to the hard impact of running. This often means changes in muscles, tendons, and ligaments that will allow you to run without injury. We highly suggest creating a calendar with your running schedule to ensure you get into a running routine. We recommend running three times a week with a short run, a long run, and a fun run. Yep, we think running should always be fun, so instead of doing the regular route, why not switch things up a bit?
Get creative. Some great ideas to incorporate into your schedule include:
- Running with a friend
- Timed kilometers
- Alternate running/biking with a friend
- Running with a goal in mind
Additionally, first time runners may benefit from having a solid goal in mind. For example, you may want to sign up to run in a race. While this may sound scary, a race doesn’t necessarily mean having to run as fast as you can. In fact, you’re often only really ‘competing’ against yourself, which means you can run at whatever pace you want! This is a great way to push yourself to keep going. We advise choosing your race in accordance with your current level. It’s probably not wise to choose a marathon if you’ve only just bought your first pair of running shoes.
3. Fuel Yourself with the Right Food
Running exerts a hefty physical demand on the body, which means fueling your body is even more important for a consistent runner. As a form of cardio, running causes the body to burn calories faster than doing regular weight training. Depending on your reasons for taking up running, this might mean increasing your regular calorie intake to account for the calorie deficit. You don’t want to be running with no energy.
The best way to ensure you’re getting enough energy from your food is to take additional protein in the form of powder. While switching up your eating habits may seem scary to some, this can be the difference between making it to that first 5k or not.
Protein is extremely important for running as muscles are largely made up of the protein’s actin and myosin. Including enough protein will improve recovery times and help build muscle to improve endurance and general strength. However, with so many protein supplements out there, finding the perfect fit for you can be overwhelming. Many proteins include lactose-based ingredients which can be hard to digest. As a result, we advise choosing a plant protein.
These are usually easier for the stomach to digest and contains the same nutritional value as non-plant-based alternatives. Ingredient Optimized, our top pick, offers a large selection of plant proteins that ensure easy absorption. With all products clinically backed by human trials, no 3rd party ingredients, and over five years of research and development, Ingredient Optimized offers the best protein options for those looking to take their running to the next level.
Fueling yourself with the right food can feel overwhelming and it can be difficult to know where to start. A great way to reduce stress is to create a meal plan. This way you can easily ensure you’re getting the right amount and variety. We recommend making sure you include carbohydrates, protein, a variety of vegetables and fruit in every meal.
For great inspiration, you may want to check out Pinterest! This is a great way to see what works for other runners and could help you build your own meal plan. However, it’s important to remember that everyone is different and will need different amounts of food. What works for you may not work for someone else and vice versa.
4. Invest in Some Running Shoes
Running is high impact on your knees and feet. Consequently, it’s vital to get the right shoes to reduce the risk of serious injury. Additionally, choosing the right shoe can help improve running form, lessening the strain on other parts of the body. The best way to choose the right running shoe is to visit a sports shop. A sales associate will often advise you based on your running form and the type of running you will be doing (e.g., outdoor, trail…) Specialist running shops may even allow you to test out a variety of different shoes on a treadmill in the shop.
5. Remember to Take a Rest
This may sound crazy as a newbie runner but, believe it or not, there will come a point when missing a run day will feel like the worst thing ever. But it’s important to remember that your body needs to rest and repair! Running every day may actually reduce performance due to overworking the muscles and overtiredness. Make sure you’re getting adequate rest and recovery time. It may also be a good idea to incorporate stretching and yoga into your schedule to keep muscles flexible, strong, and healthy. If you want to learn more about yoga, check out this informative video:
The End Note
While getting into running can feel like a daunting task, hard work and consistency is the key to success. So, get those snazzy new running shoes on and get out there!