Learning to Run: Part 1

Let me guess..

you’re not a runner? It’s not for you. You were always the kid with the slowest mile in gym class? Your parents made you play running sports so now you’re scarred for life? Or maybe you just HATE it. I hear these excuses everyday. And that’s exactly what they are.. excuses. Please don’t think I’m judging because I am not. I was there once too. I used to think I hated  running but honestly, I hadn’t run outside since I was in high school. Okay, maybe once in college but I’ll save that story for another time.

Running is more than a great workout. There is something therapeutic about it. Anyone who runs knows what I’m talking about. But just like any therapist, you need to get to know each other first. The biggest mistake people make is reading a blog like this and thinking because your brain knows what to do now, your body must too. That is false. As you learn to run you are teaching your body a habit. It’s a good one but habits take time. Baby steps.

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Here are my tips for beginners.

**For the first 2-4 weeks start by running 1 mile a day (that will literally take you 11 minutes max), every other day. It’s only a mile, no need to change your current workout routine. Don’t worry about your pace just yet. Instead, focus on this:

  1. Lead with your feet. Lean back to take pressure off of your knees and engage your glutes.
  2. Open up your chest by pulling your elbows back twice as far with each stride. This will allow more oxygen to enter your lungs making you feel less like you’re going to die.
  3. Engage your core the entire time. Always be flexing your abs (this is easier to do when you lead with your feet).
  4. Be light on your feet. You want your weight to be above the waist. You can do this by engaging (or flexing) your core, back & arm muscles. Remember to relax your shoulders though.
  5. Take long strides. Longer strides will minimize bouncing which can be hard on your stomach, especially if you ate or drank too much liquid.
  6. The best running advice I got was from a friend of mine who was a runner in college and she told me to mentally detach my upper body from my lower body. If you think of them as two separate bodies you are less likely to get a side ache or tire out.
  7. Take deep breathes. Whenever I feel like stopping I take 3 deep breathes.. breathing in through my nose and out through my mouth. This is tough to do while you are running but you are really helping your body out by doing so.

1 mile will start to feel shorter. When that happens try increasing your distance a little bit each time. Never stop challenging yourself.

*Note: Be sure to take care of your body. Get in the habit of stretching/rolling both before and after your run. Also, hydrate two hours before your run and then again after.

Remember,

your hate for running is only in your head. Keep an open mind and challenge yourself. You might be surprised to find out I’m not entirely full of shi*. 🙂

Stay tuned for Learning to Run: Part 2 (touching on heart rate zones, pacing yourself, choosing your distances, running shoes & more). Make it a personal goal to be ready for part 2 which I’ll post in about a month.

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2 thoughts on “Learning to Run: Part 1

  1. Tami says:

    I am 57 and terribly out of shape. I am 5′ and raised on a farm where we were outside from morning to dark. I was so healthy, I was never sick and weighed between 98 and 120 until menopause. I would like to start running but I don’t know where to start or how to start. Since I started the big M I have gained 50 pounds and If I try to run. I make it less than a tenth of a mile and Im done. Im out of breath. Please help with any info you may have to get me on to a good start.
    Thank you,

    Tami

    Like

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