By: Preston Johnson
Welcome to the world of running! Your experiences with running up to this point may just be running the mile in gym class or running ladders as part of a sports team. If so, get ready for an experience you have never had before! Getting a daily run in will strengthen muscles, increase bone density, lower blood pressure, decrease your resting heart rate and improve your mood! Unfortunately, running is not all smooth sailing. It’s difficult and can be uncomfortable, which is why we are here, to get you going in the right direction and make this as enjoyable of an experience as possible for you.
I asked a few friends that didn’t run what they perceived to be the biggest factors as to why they didn’t enjoy running or why they didn’t want to do it all together. Common answers were not knowing how long to go, excessive soreness, lacking motivation, lack of enjoyment, not enough time, and the monotonous nature of running. Below are my ten tips to becoming a consistent runner and battling these common deterrents.
- Start out slow and keep your run short. Don’t feel like you need to break the world record in your first run. Starting out slow and short will help prevent soreness, injury, and will prevent the daunting nature of a long run. As you become accustomed to running, increase your mileage on a weekly basis by 10% each week. If you run six days a week two miles each day you will have run a total weekly mileage of twelve miles. Thus by the 10% increase, you can run 13.2 miles next week.
- Get the right gear. Tennis shoes are not the same thing as running shoes. Go to a running specialty store in your area and get a shoe that will be beneficial to you specifically. No stride is created the same and the different levels of stability in each shoe can hurt or help your run. An employee at a running specific store should be able to tell you which shoes are going to be the best for you.
- Make an awesome playlist. There is no greater feeling than being in the middle of a run and having your favorite song come on. It rejuvenates you and increases your motivation. Good music can also be used as a distraction from the occasional discomfort of running.
- Don’t run the same route every day. Be adventurous! Run somewhere new every day, try hitting up a local trail, or running in a new area you have never been before (use good judgement, don’t run anywhere you feel unsafe).
- Find a running buddy. Not only is it more fun to have a friend to run with, but having someone to hold you accountable for your run will help get you out the door on a morning that staying in bed seems more appealing. There are local running groups all over the place. Ask any employee at a local running store, they will likely be able to refer you to three or four different groups that meet regularly.
- Make time to run. Cut out a designated time of day to go run and make that time your time, don’t let you or anyone take that time away from you. Whether that time is during your lunch break, waking up early, or running in the evening. It is proven that working out improves your productivity throughout the day.
- Give your body a chance to recover. Working out and training is always glorified in the media, but the equally as important, and the often disregarded portion of exercise is recovery. Your body will only adapt to running as it recovers. The principle behind becoming a better runner is you workout (tearing your muscles down) and then recover (building your muscles back stronger than before). If you are feeling overly tired or sore don’t feel discouraged if you need to take a day off. Your body likely needs it.
- Sign up for a race. Whether you feel ready at the time or not, pick a race a little way down the road and sign up for it. Having this race you are preparing for looming in the distance will motivate you to get up in the morning and run.
- Take the necessary amount of time each day to stretch, massage, and ice sore muscles. These can all be done while watching your favorite tv show each night. Investing your time into your health will be worth it, your body will thank you and that recovery we talked about that makes you a stronger runner will come more steadily.
- Have fun! Of all the tips mentioned in this article, this is the most important. Never take your running so seriously that you forget to have fun. Through all my years of running, I have found that I always run my best when I am enjoying the process and having fun during my runs.