1.) Proper Gear: The good news is that you do not need much to get started with your first run. First you will need to pick up a good pair of training shoes. Look for a local store that specializes specifically in running. This is where you will find running experts that will be able to get you in the proper shoe based on your running form, body type and running experience. If you do not have one of these stores in your area, then your next best bet is any store that specializes in sports equipment and apparel. Avoid stores non-sporting stores, most of the time you are going to end up with the wrong type of shoe if you purchase your trainers at these stores. You will also need to get a few pairs of running shorts and shirts. Again, try to purchase your running apparel at a store that specializes in running apparel because they will know what is best for you and get you on the right track.
2.) Getting Started: Anyone can become a runner if they are willing to put in the time. The biggest key for new runners is that they have to trust that running will get easier. The first two to three weeks is the hardest and this is the biggest reason why most new runners do not last. They quit too soon. You have to believe that after about three weeks, running is no longer a painful activity, it will eventually become an activity that you look forward to each day. The other mistake new runners make is starting out too fast and running too far. If you have not run in several months or have never run at all, it is important that you start off small. If you are brand new to running or it has been years then you will most likely need to start in a run/walk program.
Start out jogging lightly for 10 minutes and then walking for five minutes. You should be able to repeat this three times. Try to do this at least every other day at first. Once you figure out what is reasonable for your first week, do not add to the plan until you have finished two weeks. A good rule to follow is to increase your mileage or time spent running by only 10 to 20 percent every two weeks. If you follow this rule it should lead to an injury free experience. Another important factor to consider is the terrain that you are running on. If at all possible run on dirt or grass. Tar can quickly lead to shin splints for new runners. Start with a run/walk pro The be within reason, the more time you spend running the faster you will be. To be clear, I am not talking about fast mileage. In fact faster mileage will either cause a runner to get tired sooner and not hit their goals or get injured. I am talking about comfortable mileage that can be kept up for long periods of time. Not every runner should have the same running goals. Brand new runners should start out in a short run/walk program and runners with a little experience should run shorter amount than those who have more experience. Start out by setting a reasonable amount of time you want to run each week. Then every two weeks increase that amount of time by 10%.
3.) When to Run: If you to give yourself the best chance at hitting your running goals it is important that you plan a time to run each day that will not have a lot of distractions. I have found that the best two times is either early in the morning before work or as soon as you get home from work. If you go home after work and relax for even 10 minutes you will increase your chances that you will not end up running. I personally like to run in the morning so that if conditions are bad in the morning, I still have the afternoon as a back-up. It is also very beneficial to have a running partner that is on your schedule. Maybe a coworker who works the same hours. It is always easier to run when you have someone else to motivate you when you need it. You may even be able to find some running clubs that you can join in your city. Do not let the fact that you are new to running stop you from showing up to community runs. These runs are a great way to get to know other runners who can help you on your way to sticking to running.
4.) Eat Healthy: Runners need to eat a lot better than non-runners in order to have the energy to perform on a daily basis. Bad eating habits will have a runner feeling more tired which will cause them to have a much harder time reaching their time goals. When it comes to running, your diet is the key to your success. If you aren’t feeding your body the right sustenance and nutrients it needs to perform, it can only go so far. Your body is like a machine, and the better you feed it, the further it will go. A well feed machine will go a lot further than one that gets fed garbage! It’s important that all runners eat the proper nutrition. So don’t focus on how much you are eating, focus on the quality of the food you are choosing to eat. The key is to eat five to six times per day to maximize nutrition intake and keep hunger under control. Go for three meals and two to three snacks. Every meal you eat, include a source of protein low in saturated fat (chicken, fish) fresh fruit and/or vegetables, and a whole grain (brown rice, whole wheat bread, some cereals, oatmeal). Also make sure you are getting enough iron each day.
Iron is necessary for production of hemoglobin in your red blood cells. Hemoglobin carries oxygen from the lungs to the muscles. If your hemoglobin is low, less oxygen reaches your muscles, and your performance will suffer. Food sources of iron include eggs, tuna, salmon, spinach, broccoli, oatmeal, whole wheat bread, soy products. Foods to avoid include soda, junk food and fried food. Also make sure your kids are drinking plenty of water. As we run, our bodies use water in the form of sweat to try and keep itself cool, runner who have not drinking enough water, will feel overheated and weak, their performance will suffer. Runners should aim for about 60 OZ each day and make sure to bring water with you on your runs. One of the biggest keys to following all of these rules for eating is making sure you buying the correct foods at the store. Don’t shop when you are hungry, you will be much more tempted to buy unhealthy foods. When shopping, choose items on the perimeter of the grocery store, where the fruits, vegetables, dairy and meats tend to be located.
5.) Rest Properly: The main source of rest is sleep. Sleep is an important part of training because your body repairs and rebuilds itself while you are sleeping. If you don’t get proper sleep, you’ll also feel mentally exhausted, which can make even the easiest runs seem difficult. A sleep-deprived person is also more susceptible to getting sick or injured. Runners should be getting at least eight hours of sleep a night. Your rest requirements also need to take in consideration the other activities you do outside of running, including your job.