Written By: Adithi Tirumalai
I like to think I had a pretty traditional experience with running. You know how the story goes: as a college student, I was leading a pretty sedentary lifestyle, my nose buried within my e-textbooks for over five hours at a stretch. The most walking I’d do was probably half a mile to the campus library, where I’d repeat the exact process with the physical library textbook copies. At a point, I realized that I was literally sitting down all day, and decided I should probably start exercising to keep my health in check. Naturally, I turned to running, as it’s one of the only forms of exercise that requires minimal equipment. Here are three of the tips that helped me get into running when I was just getting started.
1. Go outside!
When I was starting out, I was so intimidated that I spent hours browsing the web to come up with a beginner friendly plan, look up tips that other runners had, and quite frankly, distract myself from actually getting out there and running. While this could be important in the beginning, if you actually want to start running, it all comes down to establishing the habit. Get used to going out (unless you’re using an indoor treadmill) and holding a certain pace, reaching a certain distance, or simply reaching a certain time goal of say, 20 minutes a day. Once your run becomes a habit, you’ve conquered half the battle. From there, you can build up your distance, time, etc.
2. Try the run-walk method!
There’s absolutely no shame in the run-walk method that instructs runners to run for a certain amount of time and walk for some time. In fact, Olympian Jeff Galloway advocates for this training method! The last thing you want to do is muster up the motivation to step outside for the first time, run without any preparation, and stop ten minutes later when you can’t feel your legs anymore. The run-walk method is a great way for beginner runners to get their feet wet. The general consensus is to run for 1-5 minutes, walk for 1-2 minutes, and then repeat for the duration of your run.
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3. Find a running buddy!
Having a reliable running partner makes things a little easier, not to mention more enjoyable since you’re sharing the experience with someone else. Your buddy doesn’t necessarily need to have the exact same pace as you, a trainer will work fine too; all you need is someone else to help keep you motivated and honest. As long as this person can help you get up and get out regularly, you’ve hit the jackpot.
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4. Don’t forget the music!
Don’t disregard the effect of music on your run. Different genres of music can be uplifting, motivating, and exciting, which can definitely help when it’s time for your run. Having a playlist ready with your favorite songs can have a more powerful effect than you think, since it could distract your focus away from your grueling running route. Personally, I consider myself a lover of all types of music, but because of all the never-ending work that always pops up, I only ever have the chance to enjoy music in the background. The thought of listening to my music undisturbed while running is motivation in itself for me! It is only when I go on runs with my music that I have the luxury of enjoying guitar riffs or analyzing soothing harmonies!
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5. Keep a training log! Filling out a training log each time you complete a run might seem rather tedious at first, but trust me when I say it can be a definite form of inspiration for a sport where you have to start slowly and gradually increase! A journal like this can help you keep track of how far you’ve come and what you need to improve on to reach your goals. Some things that I kept track of in my training log as I was starting was duration, miles, pre-run/post-run snacks and any special notes corresponding to the run. I also recommend noting down how you felt after a run if you changed your routine, so you can see if there are any common trends.