Starting To Jog For The First Time? My Advice For Beginning Runners
I’ve been running for 24 months now and I’ve covered 3,000 miles in that time. It hasn’t been easy but I’ve picked up on a few things that I wish I’d known when I first started out.
How To Learn To Run Properly For The First Time?
You already know how to run properly.
Case in point. You’re walking alone down a quiet lane and out of nowhere a man dressed up as Marilyn Monroe emerges from the hedgerows and pouts at you whilst swinging a leather whip around his head like a mace.
Do you a) Google ‘how to run quite f**ing quickly’ on your smartphone or b) run quite f**king quickly?
Seriously though, a lot of publications (*cough* running magazines *cough*) deliberately make running seem more complicated than it actually is to shift units.
If you can flee from sexually ambiguous Monroe-queens, then given enough practice you can run any distance you like.
The only difficult part is maintaining your running over a period of time and that’s where a schedule can come in quite handy.
Overcoming Pre Race Nerves As A Beginner Runner In Your First Few Races..
I am always a nervous fucking wreck before any race.
I tend to over think everything. When will I hit the wall? When will I take gels, energy drinks or sports beans? What if I need a shit in between toilet stations and I’ve nothing to wipe my ass with? What if I collide with a drunken elf at mile 12 and he batters me into a bloody pulp? What if I meet the love of my life at a water station and instead of saying “hi there” I lose my nerve and accidentally gob in her face?
All of these thoughts and more are unnecessary and don’t reflect reality (except maybe the last one).
Races aren’t any different from normal runs apart from the spectators and the marshalls handing out drinks around the course, both of which are positive things.
Remember, everyone out there is feeling nervous. You are not alone. Try talking to someone during the race and they’ll say exactly the same thing. Even the elites are feeling on edge.
Keep your mind focused on staying the course and you won’t go far wrong. All other thoughts will only serve to increase the stress you feel.
The Mistake Of Setting Yourself A Finish Time Goal In A Half Or Full Marathon
I set myself the time goal of completing the Belfast City Marathon in 5 hours. I knew inside that if I didn’t meet that goal that I’d have failed.
I finished in 5 hours and 56 seconds.
At the finishing line I was relieved that it was over, but annoyed that I hadn’t achieved my target. Then I stopped to think. I had just completed a marathon for the first time. 26.2 miles. Holy hell.
And here I was berating myself for not finishing it 57 seconds quicker than I wanted to! Insanity.
The 5 hour goal wasn’t even something that I had thought through properly. I googled something like “what’s a good time to finish the marathon” in and “5 hours” came up as one of the first results. It was arbitrary.
Yet setting a time target turned what should have been a completely positive experience into a bitter-sweet one.
If you’re new to running and wanting to complete a marathon, don’t want about timing in your long runs or in the marathon itself. You will only ruin what will be one of the best experiences of your life so far.
Go out to enjoy every single run in marathon training as the time will some day come where you can longer run.
I’ve Entered A Long Distance Race And I’m Terrified That I Won’t Be Able To Complete It.
I’ve been there and done that.
When I entered my first marathon, the furthest I had ran was 5k. At the time, running even 10k seemed impossible. Running 10 miles was only for those with natural ability.
Entertaining the thought of marathon distance set me into a panic.
It shouldn’t have. You can ground yourself in the progress you’ve made so far. Whilst I had only run 5k before, a year earlier I could not run at all.
To try to gather some self belief, I set out each day to run a little further. 5k became 5.5k, which became 6k.
Starting to jog long distances becomes a piece of cake with enough practice.
With incremental increases like this I was soon running a 10k. Which then became 10 miles. And then a half marathon..
If you find yourself being overly negative about the race distance, just stop thinking about it altogether and focus on running. You will never progress if you’re locked into a negative mindset, but you will get better by running that negativity off.
You will soon realise that the greatest hurdle to overcome as a long distance runner is your own mindset. Running the distance almost becomes secondary to the battles raging within.
I Find Running Very Difficult. Will Jogging Ever Get Any Easier?
I used to ask myself this question repeatedly when I was first starting to jog and I’m glad to report that running definitely gets easier, especially if you stick with it.
It’s important not to burn yourself out too quickly with exhausting workouts. You need to create a sustainable program which will allow you to run consistently over a period of time without quitting. Entering a local race event can be a great way to ensure that you keep running!
If you’re still finding running difficult at the minute, try to stick it out. Slow down, relax and try to enjoy exercising.
When I first started jogging outdoors I found it immensely difficult. Not only did I have to continue running but I had to avoid cars, dogs and other angry people.
Nowadays I can go outside and actually enjoy my daily runs. This may sound odd but I jog outside to relax. It soothes my mind and lets me be alone with my thoughts.
Best Way To Start Running. Jogging Outdoors Vs The Treadmill For Starters
It doesn’t matter where you’re starting to jog at, as long as you get going. When I began in the gym I was under the impression that the treadmill didn’t actually involve real running.
Well, of course it does. You might want to set a 1% incline on the treadmill to add a bit more resistance to your workout but other than that treadmill running provides an effective starting point into running.
Graduating from treadmill to the outdoors can be difficult. You are best alternating your workouts from outdoors to indoors to get a proper feel for the terrain you’ll be working with. I was extremely reluctant to go outdoors when I first started running but that was more to do with the fact that I was self conscious about my appearance at the time.
Is Running Every Day For A Beginner A Good Idea? It Can Be And Is A Good Running Routine For Beginners!
It depends on much running experience you have, how intense your workouts are and how long you’re running for each time. If you run 2 miles steadily every day, then there should be no problem.
It’s impossible to say for sure though. You are your own best judge. If you’re in visible pain after each run when you’re starting to jog, then you’re pushing yourself too hard.
It is better to air on the side of caution, than to injure yourself.
There are runners out there who call themselves ‘streakers’ (no not that type) who challenge themselves to run every day and report on their experiences to like-minded joggers. This can be a great way to sustain motivation over a longer period of time.
How To Successfully Increase Your Running Distance As A Beginner.
If you want to become a distance runner, then it stands to reason that you need to run for longer. If jogging for a greater period of time seems an impossibility at the minute, try dropping your speed by a notch.
You’ll find an extra reserve of energy by the time you’re normally ready to stop.
Let’s say that you can run 0.5 miles before needing to stop. If you decrease your pace by a minute per mile, then you’ll find that running 0.75 miles is easier. Once you can run 0.75 miles easily, you’ll be able to run the same pace that you previously used for the half mile run.
As Someone Who Is Starting To Jog, How Do I Breathe Whilst Running?
How do you normally breathe in every day life?
Sound like a stupid question? That’s because it is! If you’re continually out of breath on the run, then slow down until running is comfortable. Dropping the pace by 1 minute per mile can make such a difference to how quickly you tire during a run.
You should be able to hold a conversation with a friend whilst training for distance running. A good tip is to monitor your breathing closely whilst jogging. This can quieten the mind and make running seem easier than it normally appears.
How To Start Jogging In The Morning?
If it’s winter where you are, then running in the morning is easier if it’s dark outside.
I did my first runs in the early hours of the morning. I found it much easier as I was self conscious about the way that I ran. When I thought about others watching me run, my bowels loosened, heart rate spiked and my will to run/live waned.
Training in the early hours offers you the chance to run in peace and to make a perfect start into the world of running.
I started jogging outside in December 2010 and boy could I sweat. This made me even more self conscious.
Over time my sweating decreased, I enjoyed running more and cared less about what others thought about me. By the time summer came I felt great running outside at any hour of the day!
You’ll experience the same thing if you just give your training time!
Try Not To Fall Into The Trap Of Overeating To Reward Yourself For A Long Run
In March and April 2011 I was running distances of between 16 and 18 miles in preparation for the Belfast Marathon 2011.
After my long run I’d typically reward myself with a large Domino’s pizza and several bottles of cider. Before I knew I’d have eaten all of the calories I’d burned on the run (at the time close to 2,500 kcal) and would feel bloated all evening and next morning.
I’d weigh myself the next morning and I’d be 2lbs heavier than I was before the 16 mile run.
This became a vicious cycle in the end. Whilst there’s nothing wrong with treating yourself after a success, if it gets to the point where you’re eating or drinking away your fitness gains, then you’re only defeating yourself.
I quickly learned that progress is the greatest reward of them all. Food and drink are only short term rewards and can ruin your progress.
Getting Back Into Running After Stopping. How Do I Start Jogging Again?
Don’t feel bad about giving up running before, everyone needs a rest now and again.
The only way to get back into running is to get out there and jog for however long you can last.
I stopped jogging last June until around mid-July and I was ashamed of how much fitness I’d lost after running the marathon.
The first run back was hard and extremely demoralising. I tried to go on a 4 mile run around town but lasted 2.5 before having to stop altogether to get my breath back.
The lesson I learnt here is that it’s a lot easier to just keep going with running every week, rather than stopping and starting again. There is no shame whatsoever in missing a run now and again but you must not let your running slip. If you just keep going then the mental and physical benefits you’ll reap are enormous.
The best way to start running again is to enter a race for charity, tell your friends and family about it and get out there and work towards your goal. I did this myself, entering the Belfast Marathon 2011 in July 2010 whilst drunk.
The sheer fear of failure forced me out of the door most mornings, even in the winter!
Falling Into The Trap Of Entering Every Race You Can Find After Completing Your First Event
When I completed the Belfast City Marathon 2011, the next day I was so excited about my running future that I entered the Lisburn Half Marathon, Birmingham Black Country Half Marathon, Great Scottish Run and the Dublin Half Marathon.
Out of all of these races I only completed the Great Scottish Run. I felt like an idiot for wasting so much money.
What I’m saying is that you should plan ahead when entering races. Do you really have enough time to prepare for it? In my case, I stopped running altogether in June 2011, meaning that I was completely unfit for Lisburn 2011. By the time the Birmingham Black Country half came around, I was even worse off. I even travelled to Birmingham intent on running it but slept in for it after too much beer and burgers the evening before.
It can be quite demoralising if you don’t run the races you’ve set out to. Don’t let this put you off entering events though. Just think each entry through a little more than I have.