Perhaps running is one of your fitness goals for the New Year and why not – it’s a great way to maintain your fitness, relatively inexpensive and something you can easily do as we remain socially distant in the current pandemic. Whether you are completely new to running or just picking it up after a couple year hiatus, we’ve got some tips to help you get started!
1. Start slow, start short
Starting with a half-mile, quarter-mile, or one lap around the block may be the perfect beginning
run for a first-time runner or someone resuming running for the first time in years. In the
beginning, don’t worry about your pace. Focus on safely finishing a short distance and work
your way up from there.
2. Give your body time to recover
Even experienced runners know the importance of good recovery. The importance of post-run
stretching, even after a short run, cannot be overlooked. Moreover, your body may also benefit
from other tools utilized by runners, such as a foam roller or tennis ball. If you have questions about proper recovery or how to use any of these tools, a clinician from Athletico can help!
3. Invest in good running shoes and gear
If you’re new to running, the high price of new running shoes may seem daunting. However, as
any runner will tell you, quality footwear is a must. The cost of shoes greatly outweighs the
potential injuries and medical costs associated with running with subpar or improper footwear. Footwear should be changed every 300-500 miles. If you do not know where to start with running shoes, your local running store is a great resource and their experts can suggest the best shoe(s) for you. If you’re currently in physical therapy, your physical therapist may also be able to help.
If you’re running this winter, it’s also important to stay warm and dress in layers. For more tips on how to run safely in the colder, winter months, check out this blog.
4. Walk breaks are okay
There is no shame in taking a walk break when running. Many argue that walk breaks can
reduce the risk of injury. Some runners will even do a run/walk program interval, where he or she will
run for a few minutes, walk for a few minutes, and repeat. It’s important to listen to your body so you don’t overdo it.
5. Keep track of your runs
A journal or a free app like Runkeeper or Strava can help you track your speed, time, and distance. An app or journal is also useful to compare your runs over a period time so you can track your improvement.
6. Set small, achievable goals
Goals can help keep you accountable and motivated. Some runners like to build goals into their
7. Find a plan
It may be difficult to decide how to begin if you are trying to run for the first time. A simple
Google search for running plans or the running app on your phone should help you find many ways to begin your running journey.
8. Get your technique critiqued
An endurance specialist at your local Athletico can assess your form to ensure you are running
safely and properly, even if you have no signs of pain at all. The best time to address your
running form is before the onset of symptoms.
9. Try new routes
Always ensure your safety, but a new route may help keep you motivated and inspired to keep
running. It is amazing how a simple change of scenery can boost motivation. Additionally,
running on new surfaces, terrains, inclines/declines, etc. can also reduce the risk of an overuse
10. Don’t forget to cross-train
Just because you want to get more into running doesn’t mean you should neglect other forms of
physical activity. Just as mentioned above, too much running can lead to a potential overuse
injury. Cross-training involves incorporating other forms of physical activity into your overall
regimen. Some examples include yoga, resistance training, and cycling. Your physical
therapist can also help recommend a plan that’s best for you.
11. Find a buddy or group
Even veteran runners need extra motivation from time-to-time. A group run (socially distanced,
of course) can help you break through a slump or plateau. Even just one running partner can
keep you accountable to your running plan and help you meet your goals.
12. Remember, everyone is a runner
Some may be quicker or more experienced than others, but everyone who laces up their shoes
and hits the pavement or trail is still a runner. The people running a 15-minute mile or walking a 30-minute mile are still infinitely faster than the person sitting at home on the couch.
If you start running and experience any unusual aches, pain or injuries, schedule a free assessment. A free assessment by one of our licensed physical therapists can help provide peace of mind and get your recovery process started before an injury worsens. Free assessments are available in-clinic and online through our telehealth platform.