Millions of people love running because it is healthy for their bodies and minds and needs relatively little gear. All you need are some decent running shoes and the desire to get started.
The Big Picture
Running can appear to be so easy that planning to begin a running regimen may seem ridiculous. However, by learning a few fundamentals about the sport, such as the various styles of running and the various clothing choices, you can improve your enjoyment and training effectiveness.
This guide contains a fountain of information, ranging from safety precautions to diet advice and more. It’s certainly more than you need to get started on your first race. You may want to bookmark this page and return to it when required to help you with your running.
Most of the casual runners do so for the physical, social, and emotional opportunities it provides.
Running has a low barrier to entry—no special equipment is needed, it is relatively inexpensive, and runners can do it almost anywhere. It’s also a sport that people of all ages can enjoy; it’s never too late to begin running. Many people in their 50s, 60s and even 70s have taken up the sport.
Here are only a few more examples of why people want to run:
- It’s one of the most effective methods for improving cardiovascular fitness.
- Running may be an effective weight-loss technique.
- Running is a great way to alleviate tension.
- You can run alone if you want peace, or with others, if you want to socialize.
- When you race, you produce endorphins and can even feel a runner’s high.
- You boost your general health by increasing your lung capacity, increasing your metabolism, lowering your total cholesterol levels, increasing your resources, and lowering your risk of osteoporosis.
Running is a sport that will bring people from all walks of life together. Some families, for example, engage in charitable fun runs or jog together and enjoy more time together while promoting healthier values. Children who engage in running activities learn how to persevere in the face of adversity.
Running is also an excellent way to stay in shape when on holiday. Many businesses sell running-related vacations in various locations around the world. Runners of all ages can participate in training camps or races arranged by holiday-running companies to visit visitor attractions, historical landmarks, and national parks.
Types of running
Although running seems to be a reasonably straightforward exercise, there are several different forms of running to consider. The majority of athletes do one or more of the following forms of racing.
Running on the Road
Simply put, road running is one of the most common forms of running. Running on public highways, trails, and sidewalks is included. It’s the most practical style of running, and it’s the one that most runners do at any stage during their preparation. It’s also one of the simplest ways to get started with running—all you have to do is walk out the door and get going.
Running on a Treadmill
Treadmill running is a perfect alternative to running outdoors. If the weather is poor, running on a treadmill is a good option. However, this style of running is (usually) less taxing on the joints than outdoor running.
Runners can adjust their speed, incline, and resistance on most treadmills to mimic outdoor running and keep their workouts interesting. You can also use mobile apps to run a race on a treadmill.
Taking part in a race
Participating in races on roads, trails, and tracks can be thrilling and competitive for some riders. Races range in length from 5Ks to half and full marathons, as well as ultramarathons of 100 miles or more.
The overwhelming majority of people participate in races not to win (or even come close to winning) but to set and accomplish a personal objective. Since preparing for their first road race, several former couch potatoes have become addicted to the sport.
Running on the Trail
Trail running is a perfect choice for those who admire nature and calm landscapes when exercising. Trail running is generally done on hiking trails with various scenery, ranging from plains to mountains. Sidestepping trees, scrambling over rocks, passing along lakes, and traversing steep hills are possibilities for trail runners.
Running on a Track
Shorter distance runs, such as the 50-yard dash, 100, 200, and 400-meter sprints, hurdles, and others, are used in track meets. When training for track, it’s common to do more focused sprint practice and less endurance running outside.
You may also enter races. Indoor track races can be as short as 55 meters, and outdoor track races can be as long as 25 laps (10,000 meters)
For safety and ease, particular road and trail runners like to run on a loop on occasion. You don’t have to think about drivers, cyclists, or animals on a course, and it’s simple to keep track of how fast you’ve gone.
The track is also a perfect spot for race runners to practice tailored speed workouts when you’re about to turn up the tempo. Try an interval workout on the field at your neighborhood or high school.
If you’re new to running or returning after a long break, it’s important to start slow and steadily increase your mileage to prevent injury. Here are a few pointers to help you get started on the right foot.
Obtain Medical Approval
Before beginning a running regimen, see your doctor if you’ve been sedentary for more than a year. If your doctor is likely to encourage you to start a new workout routine, they will give you some recommendations and cautions.
In addition, whether you’ve had an illness, are taking drugs, or are managing a medical disorder, find out if there are any special instructions you can obey. People with diabetes, for example, may choose to have a snack with them. Many that take some blood pressure drugs may need to track strength with measures other than a heart rate watch.
Wear a pair of running shoes that are both comfortable and appropriate for your foot and running style. To get prepared for the right running shoes for you, go to a specialist running shop.
While you’re there, look for lightweight wicking fibers in professional wear like running shorts, caps, or tights. These garments aren’t needed for running, but they will keep you dry and warm while you exercise.
Related: Why Is It Important To Invest In Good Running Shoes
Keep yourself healthy.
Take small measures to keep the body protected and injury-free. Before you begin running, you should warm-up. Until increasing the intensity, walk or jog for 5 to 10 minutes. You may also use warm-up movements such as complex stretches or sprint drills.
Then, when running on sidewalks, make sure you follow running safety advice, such as running against traffic. Would you please try to bring identification with you when you go for a run so that Race management can easily recognize you in the unlikely event of an injury?
Use the Walk/Run Method
You can begin your running schedule by alternating your runs with walking intervals. This is the most convenient way for several beginner runners to increase mobility while reducing joint tension and maintaining a manageable strength level.
Begin by running for one minute and then walking for one minute, gradually increasing the running intervals. Make the turn to all-out running as you gain trust.
Get It Workable
Your running routines can be exhausting at first, but not so difficult that you never want to exercise again. Maintain a conversational tempo during each exercise. Slow down if you can’t talk in complete sentences. Try talking about yourself while you’re running alone.
Inhale deeply from both the nose and mouth to get the most oxygen. To stop side stitches or cramps, try deep diaphragmatic breathing.
Cool down after each run by jogging or walking for a few minutes. After that, do some gentle stretches to stop tight muscles.
In your new running schedule, focus on consistency rather than speed or distance. To develop a daily running routine, create a weekly running schedule.
Form is essential
While running is a natural movement, you can refine some aspects of your running style to enhance your experience.
You can improve the running efficiency by using a proper running form. Paying attention to and tweaking various aspects of your running mechanics will help you save energy, increase your speed, run longer distances, and reduce your risk of injury.
Maintain a good posture.
Maintain a straight posture. Your shoulders should be level but comfortable, your head lifted, and your back long and tall. Keep the pelvis in a neutral position. Check to see whether you’re bending forward or back at the waist (which some runners do as they get tired).
Be particularly aware of your shoulder positioning when you run longer distances. They may appear to hunch over. Where the shoulders are rounded too far away, the chest tightens, and breathing is restricted. It is beneficial to plan accordingly. Focus your gaze 10 to 20 feet in front of you on the deck.
The arms can swing spontaneously back and forth (rather than your elbow joint). It would help if you bent the elbow at a 90-degree angle. Your palm can nearly graze your hip when it travels back and forth in the correct way.
It would be best if you kept your hands as calm as possible. You should cup your hands softly or relax them; however, clenching them into fists can create discomfort in your wrists, shoulders, and neck.
The way your foot strikes the pavement is referred to as the footstrike. Your foot will approach the road in a variety of ways. You could fall on your heel, the middle of your foot, your toes, or your forefoot (front of the foot).
You may have noticed that you are a toe or heel racer if you fall on your toes and feel tight calves as a result. Shin pain is also a possibility.
You are a heel striker if you fall on your heels. This could indicate that you’re overstriding or taking slower actions than necessary. This can be inefficient and even dangerous.
Many coaches recommend landing in the center of your foot and then rolling around to the front of your toes. You may want to try out this type to see how it feels.
If you’re a natural toe racer or heel striker, though, it’s probably best not to change your stride. According to some reports, pushing yourself to run on your mid- or forefoot does not increase running economy, eliminates an impact at the foot-ground touch, or reduces the risk of running-related accidents.
Hydration and Nutrition
You’ll soon discover that what you eat and how well you keep hydrated will make or break your runs.
Hydration is Important.
If it’s cold or hot outside, you’ll lose water by sweat, so drink before, after, and after your walks. When you’re racing, keep an eye on your thirst level and drink when you’re thirsty.
If you’re looking for a general rule of thumb for fluid intake during your workouts, you should consume four to six ounces of fluid every 20 minutes. Drink six to eight ounces per 20 minutes if you’re going more than eight minutes a mile.
For longer runs or competitions, below are several basic hydration suggestions:
- Several days before a long run or race, begin hydrating. You don’t have to drink sports drinks to stay hydrated; the pure water will suffice.
- Drink 16 ounces of water or other non-caffeinated substance an hour before you begin your race.
- You’ll have to bring your fluids if you don’t have access to water on your running roads. Check out some fluid carriers to keep your fluids in when you’re running. If you’re running a marathon, though, you shouldn’t need to bring your water because there should be water stops along the route.
- For longer exercises (90 minutes or more), a sports drink (such as Gatorade) can be used with fluid consumption to offset missing sodium and other minerals (electrolytes). The carbs and electrolytes in the sports drink also aid in the faster absorption of fluids.
- During your long walks, make sure you rehydrate. You’re dehydrated if the urine is dark purple. Continue to hydrate until the urine turns a bright yellow color, similar to lemonade.
Nutrition for Runners
The foods you consume before, after, and after a run has a significant impact on your success and recovery.
Keep in mind that although running burns a lot of calories, it doesn’t offer you a carte blanche to eat whatever you want. Any beginner athletes discover this the hard way following gaining weight after a few months of consistent training. Calculate how many calories you need and stick to a regular, well-balanced diet.
Here are a few more pre-and post-run diet suggestions:
- You eat something light, high in carbohydrates but low in fat, calcium, and fiber, before going for a run. Aim to complete your meal 90 to 120 minutes before you begin running. However, keep in mind that each runner is special. Some athletes will eat 30 to 60 minutes before a run and still complete the exercise. It can take some time to figure out what works best for you.
- You’ll need to restore some of the energy you burn if you’re going to run for more than 90 minutes. Consume 100 calories after an hour and another 100 calories per 45 minutes, as a general rule of thumb. Energy gels and chews, sports bars, and sweets are also good food options that are easy to bring and consume on the go.
- Eat any carbohydrates and protein within 30 minutes of completing a long run to replenish muscle glycogen (stored glucose). A 3 to 1 carbohydrate to protein ratio is ideal.
You’ll be motivated and energized about your new dedication when you first begin your running schedule. However, you’ll almost certainly face obstacles along the way, which will put your motivation to the test.
Runners use a few different motivational tactics. Initially, a large number of runners form a race. Various kinds of running clubs cater to multiple styles of athletes. Some groups run to prepare for a particular race, groups that run to socialize, and even groups run for charity or a shared cause.
Another common approach is to run while listening to music. Listening to a great playlist will help you stay energized while running, particularly on longer runs. Bear in mind, though, that wearing headphones while running has certain advantages and disadvantages.
Running with headphones has the disadvantage of limiting your ability to hear sounds around you, which can place your life at risk. It may be beneficial to alternate between running with and without headphones.
You would want to keep a running diary as well. Maintaining a training journal allows you to share your highs and lows when they arise during your running journey. It also serves as a great testament to your dedication and hard work. When you’re not feeling inspired, take a look at what you’ve done, and you may find the motivation to exercise.
Finally, use motivational running quotes to decorate your house, office, or social media feed. Being surrounded by the voices of accomplished runners can be uplifting and encouraging.
Running in the Cold Weather
Although we all hope for great, cool running weather during the year, we all know that there will be days when the weather is less than optimal for running. Here are few suggestions for keeping dry in all types of climates—plan on doing a few cold-weather runs if you race all year.
Dress in many layers.
Start by applying a thin layer of synthetic material, such as polypropylene, to wick moisture away from your skin. Cotton can be avoided because it absorbs moisture and keeps you damp.
An outer, breathable layer of nylon or Gore-Tex can help shield you from the elements while allowing heat and moisture to escape, preventing overheating and chilling. A middle layer, such as polar fleece, can provide additional insulation if it’s very cold outside.
Protect the head and extremities by wearing a mask.
Wearing a hat can help minimize heat loss, allowing the circulatory system to transfer more heat to the rest of the body. Hands should be covered with gloves or mittens, and you should cover your feet with soft socks.
Overdressing is a bad idea.
Since you’ll warm up once you get started, you might feel a little colder when you begin your run. You’ll start sweating early in your run if you’re warm and relaxed before you start. Dress as if the temperature outside is 10 to 20 degrees colder than it is.
Running in Hot Weather
Many of the runs would most likely take place in warm weather. Here are some of the safest ways to stay dry when it’s hot outside.
Loose Light Gear
Light-colored, loose-fitting clothes would allow the body to breathe and cool down naturally. Tight clothing hinders this operation, and dark shades trap light and heat from the sun.
Wear synthetic fabrics (not cotton) to wick moisture away from your skin and allow cooling evaporation. Wear a visor over your head if you want to keep the heat off your face. A hat is too constricting, trapping the sun.
Utilize water both inside and outside of the body.
You should use water to cool yourself off during workouts, in addition to drinking it while you’re thirsty. Splashing water on your head and body will instantly cool you off and have a long-lasting effect as the water evaporates from your skin. Your ears, back of your neck, and under your arms are all good places to spray cool water.
Don’t try to push your pace
Consider the atmospheric conditions on race day or after an intense exercise. When it’s hot and sticky outside, it’s not a good idea to try and keep up with the crowd.
Attempting to beat the sun is futile. Slow down, take short walks, and save the hard work for the colder months. If you have the chance, do some treadmill running if the weather is terrible.
Your training schedule should involve more than just running, believe it or not. It’s a brilliant idea to incorporate other things into your workout routine.
Cross-training keeps you from getting tired by balancing various muscle types, preventing overuse injury, and mixing up your fitness routine.
Cycling, cycling, cold water hiking, skating, and using an elliptical machine are complementary physical activities that can keep you from burning out. Strength training may also support injury reduction by strength training one or two days a week.
You may be involved in competing in a running event once you’ve developed your running program. There are many forms of running competitions.
Running races are timed competitions in which participants must wear a bib number and a timing chip. When you pass the beginning and finish lines, the chip tracks your time. After the race, the top runners in each age category and overall usually are awarded a trophy.
Fun runs are frequently fundraiser runs or runs that are held to raise funds for a good cause. You can wear a bib number when you do a fun run, but you do not wear a timing chip. These runs promote participation rather than competition. Fun runs are usually 5Ks or less.
Running competitions come in a variety of lengths. These are the most often used.
Five kilometers (3.1 miles) is the length of a 5K run. These races don’t have to be easy just because they’re shorter. These races attract a large number of experienced athletes who compete at a high level. This is a perfect race for a novice runner since the distance is shorter.
A 10K is 6.2 miles long or 10 kilometers long. These mid-distance races are a great way to test the ability to run quickly and go a little further. A 10K is a fair next move after you’ve successfully run a 5K.
As half marathons around the country fill up faster, ten-mile races have grown in popularity. A 10-miler tests your ability to run longer distances and allows you to maintain a consistent speed for a lengthy period. For athletes who have completed 5k and 10K races, this sort of event is daunting but doable.
The half marathon is just a modest increase in distance from a 10-mile race at 13.1 miles, but many runners find the slight increase to be quite a struggle. A half-marathon involves extensive planning and a well-thought-out strategy. Even if they have walked, few athletes can complete a half marathon with little or no preparation.
The marathon (26.2 miles) used to be the pinnacle of running, reserved exclusively for experienced runners capable of competing at a moderate to medium speed. Marathons now welcome runners and walkers of all abilities around the world. If you’re thinking about running a marathon, double-check the time limit and qualification requirements since not all marathons are suitable for all athletes.
Find the ultramarathon if you’ve run in events of various lengths and are looking for a new opportunity. Many of these arduous races travel 50 miles or more (sometimes up to 100 miles), and many of them take place in extreme heat and terrain. These activities may only necessitate extensive planning, but they can also necessitate enlisting the assistance of support personnel on race day.