If you’re running for the first time or running again after a long break, it can be hard to know where to start. There are many running tips and routines you can try, but not every technique or routine is best for every person. Let’s discuss five ways new runners can improve their runs.

1. Set Realistic and Attainable Goals

If you’re running for the first time, it’s important to set realistic running goals. These goals can be short-term (a goal for every run), long-term (running goals over a period of time), or any combination of the two. If you’re just starting out, begin your runs at a slow, comfortable pace, and take walking breaks when you need them. It may also be helpful to set goals regarding consistency, such as running three times a week.

Setting short-term goals can help each run have a purpose. Most short-term goals are distance-based or time-based, like “run one mile without stopping” or “run for 30 minutes.” Long-term goals might look more like increasing your stamina for longer runs, running a certain amount of miles in a month, or improving your pace for a certain distance.

Whatever your running goals, don’t be discouraged if you don’t reach them right away! Many fitness goals will take time and dedication to accomplish.

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2. Wear Proper Shoes

When you decide you want to start running regularly, you may want to invest in a pair of proper running shoes. There are many brands and types of running shoes available on the market today, including running shoes designed for specific foot types like high arches or flat feet. When trying out new running shoes, it is helpful to do your research online or go into a store with knowledgeable staff who can help you determine the shoe that is most appropriate for your feet and running style.

3. Focus on Breathing

One major tip for new runners is to relax your muscles and focus on your breathing. Breath control and a consistent rhythm can help your body get the oxygen it needs while running (without needing to take big gasps for air). Focusing on your breath can also keep you more alert and aware of your body during your run.

4. Choose the Best Time of Day for You

Some runners swear by running first thing in the morning, while others find running at night to be more beneficial. The best time of day for you to run will depend on your daily schedule and running preference. You may also want to take your route and environment into account. Will it be light enough outside to run in the early morning or in the evening, or are you running indoors on a treadmill or track? Are you running in a busy area and want to avoid the crowds? If you’re unsure what time of day would be best, experiment for the first week or two of running to see which routine you like best.

5. Don’t Worry About Your Pace

If you are new to running, you may be unsure about how far, how long, or how fast you should be running. Spoiler alert: there is no correct answer! Worrying too much about your pace or distance when you’re just starting out will likely make you feel more pressure and cause you to run less effectively than if you were just running at a natural pace that feels comfortable.

However, for new runners looking for a little bit of structure, it can sometimes be helpful to follow a running plan or meet with a fitness coach to create a routine specifically for you. If this sounds like it would be helpful, contact a local personal trainer or fitness coach to talk through your options!

Running is a great way to stay fit, but running for the first time can be intimidating. Fortunately, there are many ways beginner or novice runners can improve their running routine and make it easier to get started.

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