When should I run? How fast? Will I faint? How do I pace myself? Do I need a Fitbit? ...Take a deep breath and relax! You may be new to running, but human bodies have been doing this since... well basically forever! So sit back and let us answer your questions about how to get started on your journey of becoming a runner!
1. I hear you need a running plan... how should I plan?
Take look at your schedule. When do you have a little free time? Morning? afternoon? evening? Whenever it is, plan to set aside some time for your running routine. Whether it's 15 minutes, 45 minutes, or longer, commit to to a time and day at least 3 times a week. Next, write it down! There's something to be said about putting pen to paper and its ability to help your subconscious commit to something more strongly than if you were to just plan for it mentally.
Hint: Even if you can only put in 10-15 minutes of running 3 times a week, you should start to notice some really great benefits, both mentally and physically. And if a 10 minute run scares the heck out of ya, you can always start with brisk walking or even just a lap around the block. We're all at different levels, so NEVER let that discourage you.
Now, don't jump right into it thinking that you'll be able to run a full marathon your first time around the block! Don't push yourself too far or too fast or you could end up injuring yourself and putting your new lifestyle as a runner on hold.
Try beginning with no more than 20 minute runs, at maximum 3 days out of the week. Once you get a hang of that and feel confident in your ability to finish your 20 minute run, try scaling up.
Another approach is to run in intervals. Start with 3 or 4 minutes running, and then walk for 1 minute. Then repeat until you hit your minute goal. Your stamina will increase over time and you'll soon be able to run more easily, and safely as your body should adapt.
And lastly, focus on time, not distance. The mileage will come, but focus on keeping yourself out there at whatever pace you have to and don't hurt yourself trying to finish a mile goal.
2. Do I need any kind of special equipment for running?
Unless your into the barefoot running movement, you'll certainly need a solid pair of running shoes. This is really the only absolutely essential gear to get started, but we do suggest some others to make your runs much more enjoyable and thus more successful. So, unless you find amusement in standing out as the guy or gal who runs in blue jeans or some other semi casual attire, some sort of fitness clothing is suggested : P
When first choosing your running shoes, we suggest heading to a running specialty store where they can analyze your foot striking and pick the best pair for your running style.
For women, we suggest investing in a properly fitting sports bra. You can find some really cool ones made out of special moisture wicking material that can help keep you from overheating and leave you a little more comfortable on your run.
To bring your essentials along with you we also highly recommend a running belt for iPhone, keys, wallet, and anything else that you may want to carry with you on your runs. If you're running somewhere that's not crowded, it's a very good idea to have your smart phone on you in case of a fall or anything else that may threaten your safety.
If you're looking for a high quality waterproof running belt for iphone 6 Plus and all other size phones, take a look at our Foot Forward Running Belt which eliminates bounce completely with adjustable waist band and secure, easy access, UltraFlex pouch that expands to fit more contents than other running belts on the market.
3. Will I get sore?
If you look to soreness as a positive sign of a good workout, then you'll be happy to hear that when you start out you'll certainly experience some sore leg and ab muscles.
However, if you dread soreness like nothing else, don't worry. You'll push past it and once your body gets more familiar with your routine, it will lessen more and more.
Note: If you experience intense, acute pain anywhere on your body, take a break to let the area recover. This will help to prevent serious injuries and tendonitis like issues such as shin splints. Don't start training again until the pain subsides, and if it doesn't, see a doctor to make sure you don't have something more serious going on. Never overtrain!
4. How do I pace myself?
Pacing is something many a runner struggle with. A good way to determine if your're at a good pace is to use the "conversation test". If you can carry on a conversation with a fellow runner without gasping for air then that's a sign that you're around where you should be. It's a better idea to err on the side of caution and end up going a little slower than your ability than to overdo it.
5. Is the treadmill or outside running better?
Each option has its pros and cons.
Outdoor running is preferred by many because it offers fresh air, the potential for beautiful sights, and little bit different kind of a "runner's high". However, when it's 0 degrees outside, an indoor run can be quite the compliment to and outside run.
It's a little bit easier to change your pace as needed when outdoors, but the terrain typically causing more use of the tiny muscles in your feet which can create slight better balance training. That being said, the potential for injury increases a bit as well (of course, that's considering you don't face plant on the treadmill, by not operating it properly or tripping. Be careful!)
We suggest a combination of both. That way, if the weather doesn't permit an outside run, you can hit the treadmill and keep on your routine. There's even a school of thought that suggests treadmill running compliments outdoor running as the softer surface of the treadmill allows for a break in intensity of impact here and there, while allowing your routine to continue. It's possible that this could reduce overuse injury potential.
6. Should I keep away from running on hills?
No way! Running uphills a great way to improve your fitness level and work your muscles more intensely once you're able to. In fact, it can even be easier on your knees as the gravitational impact is lessened.
However, take it easy when running downhill as there is actually a greater gravitational impact and you can damage your knees. Especially if you're new to running.
7. What in the world are "side stitches"? This sounds dangerous...
Side stitches, also referred to as side cramps, are something most who have ever exercised have run into at some point. The cause is lack of oxygen in the gastrointestinal muscles and can usually be prevented by avoiding eating shortly before a run, making sure you're well hydrated prior to running, or lessened by bending over at the waist when you're exhaling during your run and/or by exhaling in a long and hard way.
8. What kind of diet should I stick to?
Make sure to eat healthily and balanced. That means don't go super low carbohydrate or low fat, get plenty of quality protein to support muscle growth and prevent atrophy, and get a good variety of organic fruits and vegetables.
Quality fats from sources such as:
- Coconut oil
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Grass Fed Meats
- Fish, Fish Oil or Krill Oil
- Small amounts of seeds and nuts
If you're getting into running to lose weight, you should start to see results somewhat quickly. You'll want to make sure you don't over or undereat. One thing about adopting a new workout routine is that you'll likely be hungrier than you may have been in the past. Just make sure to make healthy choices, eat natural, and don't overdo it on one particular food group.
9. Should I start competing?
Getting involved in a 5k or even 10k race is a great way to ensure you stick to your training. It is our belief that in order to be successful, setting goals is the first step. One very concrete goal is finishing an organized race. Whether you finish first or last, don't sweat it (well, you're going to be sweating for sure, but you get it...). Run to improve yourself. Even you come in dead last, try to beat your time next round.
A saying that we at Foot Forward Sports have coined (to the best of our knowledge) and strive to live by is:
ACCEPT WHERE YOU ARE. BE BETTER.
So stay encouraged! Stay focused! And report back on your progress by commenting below!