Running for beginners may often seem tough but with the right information, it’s possible to make it a lifestyle.
By: Gregor Areseb
Running is not as easy as it may seem but when done right it can be fun and highly beneficial. Like any other sport, it is imperative that you educate yourself before you make it part of your regime.
Running doesn’t require much and can be quite cost effective – which is why a lot of people choose to run rather than join a gym.
Apart from fitness and weight-loss, running can be therapeutic and helps to relieve stress and mild depression. When one runs they release chemicals called endorphins. These chemicals trigger a positive feeling in the body – This feeling is called “The runner’s high”.
If you want to make running part of your life, here is all you need to know:
Mental and physical preparation
The very first thing you do is to try and make running a habit. Habit makes almost everything easier. Once you have mentally prepared, physical preparation will be even more exhilarating and fun. See yourself running in your mind, having fun, making friends, and then, once you get into the game, it will be muscle memory.
Firstly, safety in running is often overlooked by beginner runners but it’s important to note how safe your surroundings are, as this could have a major impact on performance. In terms of gear, go for comfortable shoes – by design and make, streamlined running gear should suit the kind of weather a runner might be faced with, reflective clothing (for those who run at night) and also a whistle or pepper spray in case of emergency.
The diet for runners
The diet for runners is not that different, therefore a sound nutritional plan should always be a priority. What I recommend as a good foundation of supplements is to increase your protein levels by taking “Whey” protein, have a handy recovery shake as well as a pre-workout shake on hand.
Generally, most healthy diets will provide enough incidental carbs—by products of fruit and beans—to fuel you, and make your run efficient and successful.
Runners must also manage their eating habits with high-quality foods – Pay more attention to nutrient timing, and be aware of satiety signals so you don’t overeat by plate cleaning.
Eat whole foods that are as close to their natural state as possible. This will steer you to the most nutritious, fibre-filled foods that promote overall health.
Which time of the day is the best for running?
There are many studies being conducted on the optimal time to run, but I would say you can improve your ability to do something ‘by you’ selecting the right time of day to do it. Find a time that works for you and commit wholeheartedly.
Advantages of having a running partner, enlisting for a running club and getting running coach
The best advantage would be to have all three. A running partner synchronises your goals with that individual, and you both get to push one another, hold each other accountable and create a bond that is really sacred and special. The benefits of this partnership is multiplied once you enlist for a running club. The more people you are surrounded by, who chase the same goals as you, the more you tend to feel a sense of belonging and importance. Lastly, having a seasoned and qualified coach as your guide to structure your workouts can get your mental toughness going.
What’s a reasonable first month goal for a first time runner?
I encourage first time runners to do nothing more than a 5 kilometre race. Finishing is the goal here, irrespective of the time. Once these are more frequent, training has to intensify so that you can work on your next distance. Patience is advisable in this regard.
Weekly running schedule
For the body to adapt to running, one needs to strengthen the body well enough, through strength training, which I recommend. As a beginner you must run least 3 times a week, a relaxed 5k would suffice.
Making running fun
If you can’t see the fun in the run, it could get pretty boring for you quickly. Try involving family and friends as much as you can. Running involves a lot of travelling so this could also be a great way for the family to spend time after the run. Collecting medals and creating medal arrangements for your achievements could make you look forward to your next medal.
Measuring your progress
Every individual is different; as goals can be person specific. The best way to measure your progress would be to discuss with the coach or seasoned runners so they set a progress board for you.
The few benefits of running
Helps to build strong bones, as it is a weight bearing exercise.
Improves cardiovascular fitness – (The ability of the heart, blood cells and lungs to supply oxygen-rich blood to the working muscle tissues and the ability of the muscles to use oxygen to produce energy for movement).
Burns plenty of kilojoules.
Helps maintain a healthy weight.
Gregor runs “Fit to Run” – a running club that helps promote running and good health. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting & Finance, as well as a level 1 personal trainer certification and is currently busy doing his exercise science certification through Trifocus Fitness Academy. Gregor is also a Boot camp instructor and owner of the brand called RUN, which he started about a year ago. He lives in Windhoek, Namibia.