The Total Beginner’s Quick Guide To Running
“What do you know now, that you wish you knew when you started running?”
We asked this question to a number of experienced runners of various ages…
Whether you’re just starting out, or have been running for decades, you’ll learn something from their answers…
How do I get started?
You could try walking for an amount of time that feels comfortable – anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes. Once you can walk for 30 minutes easily, try adding one- to two-minute running intervals into your walking. As time goes on, make the running intervals longer, until you are running for 30 minutes in one go…
Is it normal to feel pain during running?
Some discomfort is normal as you add distance and intensity to your training. But real pain isn’t normal. If something feels so bad that you have to run with a limp or otherwise alter your stride, you’re probably injured. Stop running immediately, and take a few days off. If you’re not sure, try walking for a minute or two to see if the discomfort disappears. If it doesn’t disappear, consult your GP.
Do I have to wear running shoes, or are other trainers fine?
Running doesn’t require much investment in gear and accessories, but you have to have a good pair of running shoes. Unlike all-round trainers, running shoes are designed to allow your foot to strike the ground properly, reducing the amount of shock that travels up your leg. They’re also made to fit your foot snugly, which reduces the slipping and sliding that can lead to blisters.
What’s the difference between running on a treadmill and running outside?
A treadmill ‘pulls’ the ground underneath your feet, and you don’t meet any wind resistance, which makes running somewhat easier. Many treadmills are padded, making them a good option if you’re carrying a few extra pounds or are injury-prone and want to decrease impact. To better simulate the effort of outdoor running, you can always set your treadmill at a one per cent incline.
Where should I run?
You can run anywhere that’s safe and enjoyable. The best running routes are scenic, well lit, and free of traffic. They’re also preferably soft under foot. Choose trails or smooth grass rather than roads. Think of running as a way to explore new territory. Use your watch to gauge your distance, and set out on a new adventure each time you run. Talk to other runners about the routes they run. The more varied your routes, the easier running will feel.
I always feel out of breath when I run. Is something wrong?
Running causes you to breathe harder than usual, so some amount of huffing and puffing is normal. Most of that out-of-breath feeling diminishes as you become fitter. Concentrate on breathing from deep down in your belly, and if you have to, slow down or take walking breaks. If the breathlessness persists, slow your running down for a while and maybe consult your GP at your earliest convenience.
I often suffer from a stitch when I run. Will these ever go away?
Side stitches are common among beginners because the abdomen is not used to the jostling that running causes. Most runners find that stitches go away as fitness increases. Also, try not to eat any solid foods in the hour before you run. When you get a stitch, breathe deeply concentrating on pushing all of the air out of your abdomen. This will stretch out your diaphragm muscle (just below your lungs), which is usually where a cramp occurs.
Should I breathe through my nose or my mouth?
The Ideal is to breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth. However, this is not always possible. In reality it’s different for every individual and it will take some time to figure out what works for you… As long as you’re getting a good flow of air in and out, that’s the most important factor.