I first started running about two years ago in order to deal with the stress of my job and try a new physical activity (I had previous done kickboxing for about 2 years prior to starting running). I’d head out for a run around the nieghbourhood and by the time I returned to my house, I would feel like great. It was a great workout and, a great way to keep off the extra calories I was consuming on the weekends!
Before I became what I would call a “serious” runner I ran 5k a couple of times a week. Running burned calories and cleared my mind, but I never thought about running longer distances or even considered running a marathon. And yet today I’m training for my first marathon at Ottawa race Weekend in May! And I’m already planning my next marathon run in the fall.
To prepare, I’m increasing my kilometers each week and keeping a record in my training journal. I’ve received some questions about running, from how to increase speed and distance to how running can help you lose weight. While running is great exercise and an effective way to tone muscles, it can be intimidating to take the first step, I use these five tips to make it a little easier.
Try the walk-run training method
The biggest myth about running is that you need to run constantly from start to finish. Instead of running non-stop and discouraging yourself, include some walking in your run. On my long runs for marathon training, I alternate ten minutes of running with one minute of walking. I don’t slow down too much for that one minute walk break though, I speed-walk to keep up my heart rate. For a beginner runner, you could alternate two minutes of running with one minute of walking. Over time, you could gradually increase your ratio of running to walking one minute at a time until you’re comfortable running longer distances.
Keep a running log
I keep a training log to track the progress of my runs and keep me motivated. I record the basic information about your runs such as distance, time, type of workout, what I wore, what I ate before hand and how I felt during and afterward. If you’re looking to lose weight, you can also note your progress in your log too. It’s extremely motivating to see the increase in kilometers and decrease in time as you go on.
Set goals and make a plan
Running a marathon is a huge goal, but it’s something that once I began running I always wanted to do. One of the best ways to keep motivated is to set attainable goals for yourself. This could be anything from signing up for and completing a 5K, setting a new personal record on your next 10K or running three days a week. Once you have set your goal, create a training plan to achieve it. You can find tons of running guides online to help you achieve your next goal.
Remember that everyone has a bad run
If things don’t go exactly as you had planned, don’t get frustrated or discouraged. Even the best runners have bad runs. Reflect on what you’ve learned from the experience and ask yourself what you can do differently next time. Could you have started too quickly, or ate something that didn’t agree with you before your run. Go out next time stronger and with more confidence in your abilities having learned something from your last run.
Listen to your body
Running can be hard on your body. Sometimes you can feel tired and sore after a run, which is normal to an extent. Listen to your body when your pain is beyond normal, and take it easy. For me, this means cutting back on my training or incorporating more yoga and stretching into my schedule.
I hope these beginners tips helped. I look forward to seeing some of you out for a run by the canal this spring!