So, last week we shared our 10 tips for beginning runners. Between the two of us, we had more than just 10 tips, and this is the second half of our list. We left off with not underestimating yourself, but we begin this list with a reminder to not do the opposite:
- Don’t overestimate yourself: this goes back to start slow and start small, pick a distance and try walking it first, then maybe jog small parts of it, gauge how you feel at the end and try a little more the next time. If you do too much too fast you can hurt yourself, and you just might burn out
- Music, audiobook, silence: Do you want background noise at all? I love music or podcasts, I have two audiobooks on hold I’m waiting on but the list is long. Right now I’m listening to the rehearsal CD for the cantata I’m singing in at church in Dec, after that I’ll go with Christmas music then we’ll see. I’m thinking Cats or Phantom lol. It works for me, find what works for you/
- Track your progress somehow: use paper and pencil, an app like Nike or Runkeeper or My Fitness Pal, use an online pedometer/run creator to track your route for distance. I’ve used google pedometer in the past but was recently introduced to Runkeeper that allows you to plot a path not on streets so gives you more freedom and I LOVE it!!!
- Take rest days: I’m not a big fan of rest days I want to run! but I know my body needs them, that being said for me a rest day may still be few mile walk at 3-4 mph, or maybe a 1 mile run day.
- Breathe: yeah this seems like something you wouldn’t have to think about but I discovered I did. I had to think about my breathing make sure I was alternating the foot that was on the ground when I inhaled, there are technical explanations out there for why this is how you should breathe when running I only know it kept the side cramps away or eased them when they hit. The benefit has been that as I practiced and focused on my breathing it became natural now I don’t have to think about it I just naturally breathe that way.
- Listen to your body: This goes along with taking rest days. Running is not easy, and when you’re knee/foot/back is hurting, it’s okay to take a day off. It’s better to take a day off when something starts hurting, than to run when you’re not at your best. You could be at risk for a longer break due to an injury.
- Make a contingency plan: Maybe it’s raining, not just raining but RAINING!!! and you don’t want to go out, maybe it’s so foggy you can’t see beyond your feet, maybe it’s icy or snowy. Whatever the reason make a plan for how you’re going to deal with it, are you going to take a day off, can you get on a treadmill, is there a video you could do at home, maybe you could go to a gym, whatever you do make a plan. Right now I can do walking videos in my basement. I love Leslie Sansone. Her Walk/Jog and 4 Fast Mile videos have walking and jogging intervals, great workouts. I’m also looking into the punch card option at our city’s rec center, 20 punches would be a great way to fill those days and I could run on the track there or on the treadmill.
- Remember each day is different: you may run more one day and walk more another, again it’s a matter of listening to your body, don’t push yourself too hard, feel free to train for a race if that’s what you want but remember some days your body just may not be up to doing what you want it to. You may have to do like I do and take a look back at what you ate the day before, how much water you drank, and how much sleep you had. It’s all good just keep trying.
- Walking is not failing: I’ll be honest this one is still a struggle for me. Those days my knees are bothering me or I just don’t have the energy, or those pesky rest days lol I struggle with the fact that I’m walking not running. I feel like a failure but I know I’m still moving, I’m still building up my endurance and stamina so it’s all good.
- Be consistent: Have we mentioned running is hard? It is, but it’s also rewarding. After running, I feel amazing, I feel strong! If you are consistent (while also allowing yourself those rest days we mentioned), you build strength and stamina. That could be the key to adding more miles, more distance, and improving times.
So tell us about your walking/running experiences. We’re still rookies – neither of us have actually run a real “race”. Hope these tips help, and feel free to share your own!!