Beginner's Guide to Running

Spring is one of my favorite times of year. Flowers bloom, the weather gets warmer, and the days get longer. Basically, it’s the perfect time of year to start running. Running is one of the easiest ways to get in shape. Unlike fitness classes or working out at the gym, with running, you can put on your sneakers, walk out the door, and go. For someone, like me, who has a packed schedule this is the easiest and fastest way I stay in shape. It’s also great for you! Studies have shown that consistent running can prevent obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and strokes. Running, and the hormones it creates (endocannabinoids), also can immediately lift the mood of those suffering from anxiety and depression.

Image by Sydney Payne

Image by Sydney Payne

Running sometimes gets a bad wrap. Usually the first thing someone tells me when they find out I love to run is “I could never run. I hate running.” 

I think the main reason people hate running is because they try to go too hard too soon. Running takes cardiovascular strength and like with all strengths it takes time to build.  When you go to the gym for the first time you don’t start with 15lb weights right away, you start with the 5lb weights or 2.5lb weights. Same with running, by the end of my 10 week program you’ll be able to run 3 times a week for a full 30 minutes at a time. After you can do that, it will be time to reassess your goals. Maybe you just keep running 30 minutes, 3x per week, or maybe you want to train for a 5k or half-marathon. Whatever it is, there’s nowhere to go but up!

Before you get started a couple things to keep in mind:

  1. One of the best parts about running is you don’t need much, but it is imperative that you have a good pair of running shoes. Google a local running shoe store in your area if you don’t already know about one already. Experts at the store can analyze your gait and make sure you have the best shoe for your body. There isn’t a specific brand that is best; everyone is different and it’s important to find the shoe that is best for you.
  2. There are good days and bad days, just like with any type of workout. Don’t expect to feel perfect every day. Be patient with yourself and stick with it!
  3.  My guide is based on “minutes ran” not “mileage ran.” I do this for a couple of reasons. First, if you’re having a good day that probably means you’re running faster than normal, it doesn’t do you any good to stop at a specific mileage when on that day your cardiovascular health increases. And vice verse, if you’re having a bad day nothing is worse than having to make it to a certain mileage instead of just finishing out your workout in minutes. Second, it’s just easier. If you don’t have a specific route. It’s ok. You can run out 15 minutes and back 15 minutes. Easy, peasy.
  4. If you don’t schedule your workouts, they won’t get done. Figure out when it’s easiest for you to get exercise in and write down a schedule. I’ve made a downloadable PDF that’s easy to follow. On three days out of the week, follow the running/walking workout i’ve created. On the alternating days of the week either go on a 30 minute walk, do any other exercise you enjoy, or take the days off. It’s up to you!
Jordan McKee