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The Dreaded First Run: For Beginners

Updated: Apr 29, 2021

The first time running for anyone can be tough. Your body may feel achy or heavy, your lungs literally want to explode, your emotions maybe everywhere, "WHY AM I DOING THIS". However bad your first run is, don't let it ruin your want to get better at running. I know you may not believe me but the more you run, the better your will feel. Not all days will be great but eventually that dreaded first run will be a thing of the past.

To help ease into the start of welcoming running into your routine, I have created a list of tools you can use to help you stay motivated towards your goals.

1) Your training is like a marathon: A marathon is a long race and it takes time to get to the finish. The same goes for your training, take it slow and steady. There is no need to rush into distances or paces that your body is not ready for. If you do so, there is a good chance you wont finish your "marathon", if anything you will stop or end up quitting before you finish.

2) Establish Goals: Establish one major goal and a few smaller or stepping stone goals. Make sure they are realistic to you and your potential. You don't want to be discouraged or frustrated when you aren't able to achieve a goal that is unrealistic. Examples of a long term goal, running a half marathon or 5k. Examples of smaller goals, running for 10mins, not stopping for rests during a run, completing a full workout.

3) Don't expect too much in the beginning: Your first run doesn't have to be three miles or anything that is out of your comfort zone. Start by running for time, run for 10mins, 15mins or 30mins. Running for time is easier on your mind. When you run for distance it can cause you to run too fast or be more fixated on pace and distance. For the first few weeks stick with time based runs. Pace and distance is not as important in the early weeks of training.

4) Use the run/ walk method: If its too difficult to run for the entirety of your run, start with the run walk method. For example, run for 1-2 mins, walk for 1min. This method allows you to bring your heart rate down so you aren't over working but you don't recover all the way to a resting heart rate, therefore you are still working on your endurance. As you become stronger you will be able to increase the time ran, and decrease the time walked. Play around with this one and find what works for you.

5) Remember to rest: Remember to rest, especially in the beginning. Your body is probably new to running and it can be a shock to the body. If you felt good on your first run, that's great but don't expect the next day to feel as good. You may actually want to take the next day off or cross train like swimming, biking, etc. Your muscles and bones need time to heal and to get read for your next run.

6) Strength train your body: Running can cause a lot of wear and tear on your body, therefore strength training is imperative. When you run, your whole body is used to propel you forward: your legs, your arms, your back and your core. These areas all need to be strong and conditioned to help prevent injury. Lifting and performing core workouts 2-3 times a week maybe a good thing to implement into your training.

7) Eat or drink protein after your run/ workout: Recovery goes much farther than just sleeping and sitting. After you exercise, your body will be looking for protein to help start the rebuilding process in your muscles. The best time to start taking in protein is 15 - 30mins after exercise. This is the optimal time frame for recovery.

8) Find a community or someone to keep you accountable: The running community is amazing. They are a great way to have support but also a great group to keep you motivated and accountable to stay on track with your runs. Find your niche, it could be on social media, a group of runners that meet during the week (stay Covid safe), a friend you can meet up with, or a running coach who can help with your training and keep you accountable.

If you are looking for a running coach, I would be a happy to help. You can find more information about me and my training on the services/ contact pages on my website.

If you would like more running advice or have any questions, please don't hesitate to send me a message. Happy Running Everyone!

- Katie

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