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Whether you're looking for a way to get physically healthier, or working on your mental health, running is a great fit for just about everyone! Its a fun way to connect with others, feel better, and get physically fit. Beginning a running program doesn't have to be a hard habit to start, it just takes your commitment and willingness to keep moving at the pace you choose; a little or a lot ;-)
1. Progress at YOUR OWN pace
If you've never been a consistent runner, or you haven't trained in quite a few years its important to take it at a consistent pace that your body is comfortable with. You can find a lot of great beginner training programs out there, but be realistic with the program that you choose. Push yourself (you know your body best), but don't be afraid to repeat training weeks or even skip forward as you feel you're ready! We've including a 12-week training program below (thanks runnersworld.com!) that takes you from 30 minutes of walking to 30 minutes of running. This program is tried and true and was developed by Budd Coates, a four-time Olympic Trials marathoner. Remember, most true beginners who haven't been runners before, or in their recent past will need longer than 12 weeks, so give yourself some grace.
2. Walk before you run
If you've been living a mostly sedentary lifestyle, make sure you can walk for 30 minutes before you begin running. You don't want to increase your risk of injury by overdoing it, so pay attention to your body. If you feel any pain, take a break for 1-2 days to see if the pain subsides. And when in doubt, just walk! There is no shame in taking it slow!
3. Pay attention to your form
Some people run or walk with a natural heel-strike while others tend to lead with their toes, and fortunately, neither form is fundamentally better than the other. You'll become more comfortable in your stride the more you run, so just maintain your natural stride as you work on your progression. You'll be much less likely to become injured if you do. Also, remember to stand tall with your eyes up, chest open, and your hips centered.
4. Run slowly to start
When you do begin running, your running pace should only be slightly faster, or at the same speed as your walking pace. If you start out running too fast you may find yourself gasping for breath, which isn't a fun feeling for anyone. You should be able to continue talking a little bit, so if you cant you may be going too fast. Don't worry at all about speed or distance covered at this point, you'll get there!
5. Follow a schedule, consistently
Consistency, especially when forming a new habit is key. Make or follow a schedule, and commit to sticking to it. Your body and brain deserve the love, so make the choice to give yourself the time a few days a week to move. Be intentional. YOU CAN DO THIS!
6. Sign up for a race
Were obviously living in a bit of a different time currently, but when postponed or canceled races release their new race dates, sign up and pay for a 5k! As long as you can walk for around 30-60 minutes you CAN complete a 5k. You don't have to compete with anyone but yourself and can walk the whole thing if thats what you're physically able to do. The race environment is so fun, and we think it'll help you get the running bug.
Follow this link for a Beginners 12-week Training Plan: https://hmg-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/files/rw-lose-weight-1581438733.pdf
We hope these tips and this training plan can help you start to RUN! Starting can be intimidating but one foot after another, we know you can do it. Let us know if you have any other tips for beginners in the comments below, and share your experience with us on Facebook or Instagram if you begin your running journey! #urstronger
Sarah Lorge Butler. This Beginner Running Program Has Stood the Test of Time. Runners World, March 18th, 2020. https://www.runnersworld.com/beginner/a31707889/best-beginner-running-plan/
Tara Parker-Pope. How to Start Running. The New York Times | Well. https://www.nytimes.com/guides/well/how-to-start-running