Running for beginners can be as easy as you’d like to make it, and stepping out as a runner for the first time can be mentally exhilarating and physically liberating. But before you go out and spend money on the latest running gear and gadgets take some time to define what you want to achieve with you running.
Designing a running program is similar to building a house, and any good architect begins with a set of plans. A solid running program is based on a good set of blueprints and a steady foundation. Trying to build on anything other than these two fundamentals will increase your odds of failure and disappointment. When you start gradually and allow one stage to build on another you will take your body and mind to new heights where you will achieve your goals successfully.
Designing A Running Program That Works
Make A List: Drawing Up The Blueprints
I’m a huge fan of making lists. Making a list of what you want to achieve with your running is like drawing up the blueprints for your running program. It turns your goals into something tangible, helps to focus your mind and when you lose your sight of your goals you can use your running program blue print as a reminder of your past achievements. A list will also remind you of what initially made you so excited about running on those days when you feel like giving up.
Writing a list has many benefits and when you are drawing up yours there are a couple of important questions that need answering…
Exactly What Do You Want To Achieve?
If you want to lose weight, be specific and say how much weight you want to shake.
Is it fitness levels that you want to improve? If so, having a goal in mind – like running the 5km family fun run in your local park – is a good way to keep focus on your fitness levels.
Perhaps you want to start running because you want to meet new people. Ask yourself how you are going to do this. Are you going to join a gym or would you prefer to join a running club that does most of their running outside.
Whatever your reason, really take your time to zoom your focus into why you want to run and what you want to achieve, the more specific you are with detailing your designer running program the more likely it is to stick and the more you will benefit from it.
When Do You Want To Run?
We all know that finding time to add something new to our already hectic schedules is easier said than done. What with work, meetings, the kids’ school run and helping with homework, cooking supper and spending time with our spouse – it’s a juggling act of note! The fact is that if you don’t make time, there never will be time. Be smart about working running into your routine – in the beginning you only need 20 to 30 minutes. Here are some ideas to get you thinking smartly about working running into the mix;
Work out a routine with your spouse, giving you the opportunity to nip off for your run and giving them the opportunity to spend quality time with the kids.
If you can handle getting up earlier in the morning, you’ll soon realize that early morning runs are awesome! You get a head start on the day and being able to run without dodging pedestrians and cars will put a whole new spin on your running.
I have a few running buddies who love fitting in their daily run during their lunch break. If it suites you, it means using your day more productively, and because you have a limited amount of time you will quickly learn to use what you have to it’s full potential.
Another way of productively using the time you have is by using your commute home as your running time. This works well if you live in a city, and remember it’s not necessary for you to run the entire way; riding the bus or train for the first half and running the second half is a good compromise.
See, finding a way to fit your daily run into an already busy schedule is not as difficult as you thought – it might take a bit of smart thinking but if you are committed things will soon start to flow smoothly and you will start to benefit from the change in routine.
Walk Before You Run: Laying The Foundations
Allowing one stage to gradually build on another is the only way to be a successful runner.
Like I said earlier, allowing one stage to gradually build on another is the only way to be a successful runner. You have to walk before you can run. This sounds really simple, but I have seen many runners ignore this universal law ending up with injuries that set them back months, loosing motivation and bagging running as a bad idea. This does not have to be you!
Following an easy walk/run program will gradually prime your body and mind for running and prevent injuries from happening. Here is a simple walk/run program for you and to begin with you only need to be able to run for 1 minute at a time. Just remember, that in future, any incremental changes you make to your running program will be based on a walk/run principle.
Walk/Run Foundations – Weekly Routine
Walk for 6 minutes then jog at an easy pace for 1 minute (3 sessions in a week)
Walk for 5 minutes then jog at an easy pace for 2 minutes (3 sessions in a week)
Walk for 3 minutes then jog at an easy pace for 4 minutes (4 sessions in a week)
Walk for 2 minutes then jog at an easy pace for 5 minutes (4 sessions in a week)
Walk for 2 minutes then jog at an easy pace for 8 minutes (4 sessions in a week)
Walk for 2 minutes then jog at an easy pace for 9 minutes (4 sessions in a week)
Walk for 1 minutes then jog at an easy pace for 11 minutes (4 sessions in a week)
Well Done on making it to week eight!! Warm up and cool down for 5 minutes, run 20 minutes in-between. By the end of the week you should be able to run for 30 minutes non stop.
Aiming to run for 30 minutes 3-4 times per week is a great beginning point and soon you will notice how your stamina has improved. Basically, this is building on your aerobic capabilities which you will need as your runs become longer.
The foundations set out here are guidelines and you can modify the times to suite yourself. The Most important thing to remember when designing you running program is to keep things simple and to respect your body’s current capabilities. Most beginner runners want to reach for the stars and end up hurting themselves – believe me I was one of those runners! Slowly, slowly does it much easier and will ensure your success.
If you start feeling pain while running, just ease up and take a break. Overtraining can lead to injuries. If you have problems with shin-splints, you can always try our compression sleeves as a way to relieve the pain and speed recovery time. Check them out here.