Beginner’s Guide to Running
by Eric Gillis
Running is a wonderful activity because it’s something we can do straight out our front doors, alone, or with friends. Everyone is genetically built to run no matter the age, or athletic ability.
The key is to manage expectations when you first begin. Here are a few tips to get you started.
Proper pacing is a runner’s best-friend. I like telling beginner runners, and reminding experienced ones, that you can’t go ‘too easy’ on an easy run.
For pacing an easy run, you should be able to comfortably hold a conversation with someone and not feel winded at the end of the run. Most of my training is done at this easy run pace, 75-80% of all miles run. If you’re like myself, and many other runners I know, you’ll have to remind yourself to slow down. Speeding up is a treat we give ourselves only a few times per week.
Location is key
For your first run, it’s best to pick a location like a track, where you feel comfortable with your surroundings. Starting on a track is pleasant because it has consistent footing, and no hills 😀 You can more easily control variables and work on proper pacing.
Set a goal
Have a goal time or number of laps in mind before starting. With running, it’s easy to bite off more than you can chew, which can be discouraging for your next run. So, like a lot of things, less is more! If you can bike moderately for an hour, but have never ran before, start with 15 minutes, a sensible length of time for a beginner run.
Use the ‘run-walk’ technique
You might find that it helps to break up the 15 minutes into run-walk intervals: run for 3 minutes, then walk for 1 minute. Run for another 3 minutes, then walk again for 1 minute. Repeat this 5 times.
Getting back on your bike the next day, or simply walking, is a great way to recover from the previous day’s run.
I’ll leave you with this quote, which I really like. I heard Alex Hutchinson, a running/science journalist say it in an interview:
“Most beginner runners overestimate what they can do in the short term, and underestimate what they can do in the long term” – Alex Hutchinson
Run easy and run for fun my friends 😀
Marathoner & Olympian
Cross Country and Track & Field Head Coach
St. Francis Xavier University, Athletics Dept.
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