The beginner’s guide to running
New year, new goals – right?
Whether you want to lose weight or get back in shape, running is a good solution for becoming healthier and more active. It also helps to improve your lung function, boosting your immune system and lowering the risk of high blood pressure.
In order to create the perfect beginner’s guide to running, we decided to have a chat with former elite middle-distance runner Morten Munkholm, who is now a running coach. Morten ranks on the 8th place on the all-time Danish ranking list on the 1500m in the time of 3.39 min. Therefore we assume that he has the know-how on how to start running 😉
Thanks to Morten, we have gathered 7 tips to get started with running, so that you can dive into your training right away!
- Set a goal
Morten suggests that you should always set a goal in your mind before you start running.
“Set a realistic goal or find someone who can help you with setting a goal. Find something that motivates you – whether it is to lose weight or to run a certain race.”
Having a goal will help you stay focused in the long run. Write your goal down in your calendar or on a post-it, so you will see it often!
- Embrace the run-walk method
Most beginners should consider starting with the run-walk technique, which will allow building strength and endurance to run for extended periods of time.
When trying the run-walking technique, Morten advises the following:
“Try to run with 80% of your maximum pulse. In this way, you can reduce the risk of getting injured. Make sure that you don’t run too intensively all the time.”
A beginner’s program could look like something we indicate in the table below.
Remember to start and end your runs with a 5-minute walk. This is a good way for the muscles to adapt to the training and for your heart rate and blood pressure to fall after your run.
Also, remember to do proper warm-up exercises. These could consist of reverse lunges on each leg, followed by squats, side lunges, butt kicks, and high knees.
|1||1 min||1 min||18 min|
|2||2 min||2 min||20 min|
|3||3 min||2 min||20 min|
|4||4 min||3 min||25 min|
|5||4 min||3 min||30 min|
|6||5 min||2 min||30 min|
|7||6 min||1 min||28 min|
|8||8 min||2 min||30 min|
|9||9 min||1 min||35 min|
|10||10 min||2 min||36 min|
|11||12 min||1 min||39 min|
|12||15 min||4 min||38 min|
|13||15 min||3 min||54 min|
|14||20 min||2-3 min||44 min|
|15||25 min||2-3 min||55 min|
|16||30 min||0 min||30 min|
Please note that no runner is the same! You should listen to your body and run in a way that feels right for you. After 16 weeks of continuous and steady running, you can try to run for 30 min straight.
- Don’t worry about the pace
As a beginner, most of your runs should be done at a slow pace or at a conversational level.
“You should be able to talk when you run. It shouldn’t be all the time, but you have to be able to say a few sentences. You shouldn’t try to seek improvement every time you go out for a run. The classic mistake is that you feel comfortable with a certain route around your neighborhood and when you have run that a few times, you want to run that route faster than the previous time.”
Starting out by running slowly will help you prevent overtraining and injuries. You can focus on increasing the speed when you have built endurance, strength, and confidence.
- Give your body the time to recover
So, your first run went great and you want to hit the roads again, right? ☺ But you should actually take a day off to recover fully from your training – especially in the beginning.
“The golden word is progression! Within progression, there are three parameters that you should consider. The first is the duration of your run, the second is the speed of your run and the third is the number of runs. You should try to consider one parameter at the time, so your body can progress and recover.”
Your body needs time to adapt to the new demands on the cardiovascular system and prepare your muscles and bones for the next run. When you build strength and endurance, you can use the “off-days” to cross train and improve your strength.
- Pick your gear
You should treat yourself as a runner from day one! Don’t undervalue proper running gear, as this can give pain and eventually injuries. First, consider finding the right shoes. Choose a shoe that feels good and gives you the right amount of comfort. A good idea would be to visit a shoe store, where you can get a running-test and receive expert knowledge.
Secondly, while most runners focus on shoes, socks are just as important too. Blisters and bunched-up socks are painful and can keep you sidelined for days. You want a breathable, comfortable sock, that is also sweat-wicking and prevents blisters. DANISH ENDURANCE offers a wide range of running socks that will keep you going for days! Have a look at our webshop
- Don’t get discouraged
Keeping a training log will give you insights into how far you have come and will keep you on track with your goals.
“Find happiness about running and remember what kept you running in the first place. Focus on and enjoy the process, rather than looking ahead all the time!”
You can also consider making running social, by finding a group to run with or a friend. In this way, you will get motivated and you will stick to the plan by having training partners. You might even strike new friendships by finding a running group on Facebook or at your local club.
- Spend some time in the kitchen
When you start running and gradually increase your training, nutrition is definitely a thing you really should consider. Eating well will help you get the most out of your training, ensuring you stay energized on runs, and recover properly afterward. Make sure to eat something 1-2 hours before a run and to have a good recovery meal after your run.
The basic nutrients you should be eating are carbohydrates, protein, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. Carbohydrates provide you with energy for your run, while protein plays a vital role in muscle repair, recovery, and growth. Fats are good for your heart rate and your recovery, and vitamins as well as minerals are good for your immune system and will help your body to fight infections.