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Guest Post: Running Tips For Beginners

The beginning is always the hardest. But once you start you’ll forget how hard it was. Almost all runners have similar stories from their beginnings: they almost died in the first two hundred meters, and then it happened by chance that (considering that they are still feeling alright) they become long-distance runners, and today those moments remember with a smile on their faces. Whether you start in order to lose weight, be active, you want to do something about physical activity, or because of something else, running is the simplest, most natural and least expensive way to secure yourself a permanent good feeling. Here are some tips for this.

Start with walking and short running

Do not go fast because you will burn more quickly. Here’s a rule – slowly but surely. In this way, you prepare your body in a collision and at a certain point, you will feel when it is time to run. This will also keep you from injuries. Start with a slow addition of running to your walk. Walk four or five minutes, then add running to walking, but so that every time you refresh while you walk. Even those experienced runners are recommended to introduce parts with walking.

Listen to your body – what does it say?

Once you learn to listen to your body, you become a coach to yourself. It’s completely normal to feel pain or fatigue in the muscles, but take care when or if during or after running experience mild dizziness, pain in the chest, legs or back happen. In this case, continue to walk or stop training and rest until the pain stops. Over time you will learn to listen to the signals your body sends, when it’s time to stop, and when you can continue. You will have to pay more attention to what you eat. Some habits might have to change. Make sure you are eating light and healthy meals which are in accordance with your new physical activity.

Slower at the start – faster at the end

It is important to slowly build the base, your pace, and you will quickly get to full enjoyment in running that will later be easy. To ensure yourself a constant progress, it is better to run three to four times a week for 30 minutes rather than two hours twice a week. And that is why it is important to have a proper plan that will gradually lead you to larger distances and build your tempo. When you finish training, and you say to yourself “maybe I could have a little more” – it’s a sign that you’re running the right pace.

Heating and cooling

Heating is important because with that you are sending a clear message to your body that it is preparing for physical activity. The heart and legs are getting ready to move. Ideal heating is when you run a little bit, and then walk, and so on for a few minutes. When you are finished with your workout, do not stop suddenly, but slow down completely, and end up by walking. Be sure to stretch. Heating and cooling are important because those reduce muscle pain and possible infection, and in that way, the whole body constantly works to prevent injuries.

Set a goal and watch your real success each day

Having a goal in most cases is a safe way to persevere. If you specify the goals and timeframes, you have a clear time vision, a clear motivation, and responsibility towards yourself and your given word. You open a circle which, when you close it, brings you an amazing feeling of your own achievements. With that, you will find yourself in one of the best and most important project which aims to: health, good feeling, self-confidence, self-management, sometimes a team work, some weight loss, a change, new experiences and new people.

Change the surface where you run

Runners usually have a strictly defined path where they run. The best solution for a beginner is to simply change the running tracks. Soft surfaces are not always the best. Treadmills seem softer and therefore safer, but they also have disadvantages. Earth tracks for running are generally uneven, may have holes and other obstacles, which can be dangerous. Feel free to change: sidewalk one day, the next day a paved road, a dirt road on weekends etc.

The rule of 10%

Add as much time or distance as you need to improve your form and save yourself from injuries. But be careful, do not increase the time or the running speed for more than 10% per week. If you run 90 minutes this week, next week run 99 minutes.

We hope the tips above are helpful, but you have to bear in mind that all you really need is the will which serves as an incentive for every action of yours. Where there is a will, there is a way for everything and you will be ready for every challenge that may come across.

How to Pace Yourself

Learning to run properly can be challenging enough, which is why learning to how to pace yourself is important to get right.

If you’ve ever laced up your shoes and headed out the door unsure of what pace to run; you’re not alone. Here are some tips to help you figure out how to pace yourself.

Whether you’re a beginner, elite, or anywhere in between, we can all face the same problem in any given week. The schedule says Tuesday should be hard, Thursday should be steady, and you have heard that most of your long runs should be at an easy effort. You find yourself asking as you run down the road, what is hard and how should this feel? How can a long run ever be easy?! No matter how slow I run, it NEVER seems easy!

Here’s an easy way to figure out and look at effort levels.

Contrary to popular belief this sport doesn’t have to be exhausting, and each run shouldn’t leave you tired for days. Your early runs where you’re learning to cover distance and time should be completed at the speed of chat. Meaning you should be able to talk to the person next to you while running. This is called the “talk test” and is one of the most common ways to gauge effort level.

For those who are more experience, running at “the speed of chat” is how your easy runs should feel in a training week. You should feel totally in control, relaxed, and able to talk while running. Easier to check while running with a friend, but if you’re by yourself, you may find you are running along the street talking to yourself; not a bad thing as long as it helps you gauge your effort! If you want to give this running a score as an effort level 1-10 (1 being the easiest), it could be a 6/10.

The next level

Steady running. This is the backbone of training for the more experienced. It’s not complicated but does require you to be completely honest. You can push this area too hard and run junk miles that leave you too tired for clever sessions that we’ll cover next. This area is perhaps a 7/10 on your scorecard and is still conversational, although the chat is slightly strained.

Threshold running

We can all train like Mo; even if you’re new to the sport, and this is how you do it. This is called “uncomfortable running” or “controlled discomfort.” The key is that you can still talk between each breath, but it’s only 3-4 word answer effort. If you can utter a couple of distressed words; you are working too hard, and conversely, if you can say most of a sentence, you’re not working hard enough. This is running uncomfortable, but with control! It’s certainly not sprinting or running to exhaustion.

You might only be ready to include a few 3-minute blocks of this in a run each week, but it can grow; you can build the volume over the months. We call this running the bedrock to becoming a better runner, and it feels like 8-9/10 and 3-4 word answer effort.

An experienced runner using a heart rate monitor might run near to 85% of their maximum heart rate to remain in this zone. To know exactly how high your heart rate should be; grab a lactate & Vo2 max test from your local Sports Science department or university.

A couple of examples of threshold running sessions are:

5 x 5 minutes at threshold effort built into a 45-50 minute run with a 90-second jog recovery between each block.

This can build to a 6 x 5 minutes then 3 x 10 minutes and eventually you could be running 25-30 minutes of continuous threshold in the last part of a 45-minute run each week. The key is to keep feeling like a 3-4 word answer pace and not progressively harder until you feel like you are in the final stages of a 5k or 10k. Stay in control.

Interval Training & 5K-10K race paces naturally follow on from threshold as being the next level of pain.

It’s time to visit the hurt locker; although if new to running, your 5k or 10k effort will be your easy running pace or maybe threshold if progressing and a few races further down the road.

To a certain point, how the 5K/10K effort or interval training feels is up to you. You could be wise and hold back slightly letting the pace and intensity prescribed build the pain for you, or you could be the headbanger who loves to hit it harder and hang on. The choice is yours but remember to be consistent in this zone.

It’s meant to hurt and sessions such as 6-8 x 1km or 6 x 4 minutes off 75-90 seconds recovery can hurt. They will boost your VO2 max, and make your heart stronger. Keep in mind though that you can’t visit this zone too often; maybe once a week in a training plan once already experienced, running threshold each week and feeling good.

Little Tip –

Join a running group, club, or friends to complete these sessions. Completing weekly interval sessions with others adds competition, company, and disguises the pain and mental strength required.

So next time you leave the house; have a planned route and know what you want from your training. Have a purpose and listen to your body.

Just remember these four levels/zones:

  • Easy Run – Fully conversational at the speed of chat and about 6/10 (60-65% max heart rate).
  • Steady Run – Conversational, controlled, but slightly strained and about 7/10 (70-75% max heart rate).
  • Threshold Running – Controlled discomfort and 3-4 word answer pace or 8-9/10 (80-85% max heart rate, but get tested to be sure!).
  • Interval Training & 5K/10K effort or quicker – No time to chat here and 9/10 or more as the session progresses. It’s 1 or 2 word answer time and perhaps more of a grunt (85 – over 90% max heart rate… ouch!)

Make every run count!

What’re Your Thoughts?

Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science with a Sports Management minor.

You Can Run Like The Wind

Everyone can run faster if it’s something they really want. Whether you are new to the sport, or you’re a seasoned runner; there are many things you can do to up your game. Sure, you might not be giving Usain Bolt a run for his money anytime soon, but if you put the following tips into practice, you can run like the wind in no time.

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Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science with a Sports Management minor.

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