What Do I Need to Start Running?
You know that running is in fashion and you only see benefits in its practice: it improves your physical condition, it is ideal for good health, it helps you lose weight or keep it off and it is cheap.
Ready to start running?
However, you still have many doubts before starting to run, these are the doubts of the beginner: what to eat, how to motivate yourself, how to avoid an injury, what is essential to buy, what is the proper outfit and gear you should wear, where to find the best shoes for long distance runners and a lot of other things.
However, you don’t need to dwell too much on these doubts as we’re here to help you prepare what you need before you get started. Here’s some very basic advice so that you can prepare yourself mentally as well as physically and become a real runner. Are you ready?
Find the Inspiration
Every runner was once a beginner, don’t forget that. This is a stage you must go through and the inspiration phase will be essential for you to become a runner or to finally decide to give up.
Bye Bye Excuses!
You will have to forget about excuses forever: ‘I don’t think I have time this week’, ‘it’s too hot/cold’, ‘it looks like it’s going to rain’, etc. If you want to start running you’ll have to get rid of those kinds of excuses that only affect you and prevent you from achieving your goals.
When you come up with an excuse, automatically think about why you decided to start running: to get in shape, to lose weight, to have a hobby, to meet a personal challenge… whatever it is. Remembering ‘why do you want to be a runner’ will motivate you, so keep that idea in your mind.
Log All Your Progress
Sometimes we want results too quickly and our efforts to be noticed, but as in any sport, you will have to be patient and train hard until you start noticing something. That’s why it’s highly recommended that you record all your progress, however small, in a calendar, a diary or a mobile application.
If you keep a record of your training, it will serve as a motivation to keep improving, you will be able to see clearly your evolution and it will help you feel a little bit guilty the day/s that the excuse has been stronger than the training.
Don’t ever give up
You don’t have to set impossible goals. You don’t have to aim for a gold medal or run a marathon in 6 months. Even if things happen in your life that take away your desire to run, don’t stop. Get back to it as soon as you can, even if you have to quit for reasons that are not your own.
Persistence is the key. That’s why every time you think about giving up, remember the effort and work you’ve already invested in getting where you are. Don’t waste all the progress you have made so far, even if it is only a little, you must always keep going.
One of the best ways to motivate yourself to practice something is to share it with someone. If you find yourself a training partner, it will be much easier to motivate you not to skip training and to share doubts or new discoveries.
Try not to make it a person who is much more advanced than you or very competitive, because the idea is to share a hobby, not to give rise to a struggle of egos. On the other hand, you can also join a group of beginners through the Internet or a group of acquaintances around you. Meeting new people can also be a good motivation.
Start Preventing Injuries
To be able to start running you don’t need to be in perfect shape beforehand, but you do need to have a minimum of clarity about your health and fitness. You will have to take into account at least a few important things.
If you have doubts, ask your doctor
If you have suffered from any kind of ailment in the past, had an operation that required difficult rehabilitation or have a family history of cardiovascular problems or other diseases, it is best to see your doctor. Inform him that you want to start running and have him confirm if there are any risks or problems with running.
Similarly, if you have not had a blood test for a long time, it is important to get up to speed. Think that in a while you will be able to have another check-up and see how your life change and new habits may have influenced the improvement of your health.
Assume You Will Have Discomfort
When you start running there will be days that you will have trouble. It’s something you have to deal with, especially in the beginning. Even regular runners often have occasional pains that arise when a muscle group is forced a little more during training or for other reasons.
Don’t panic if you notice cramps, muscle or joint pain. This is normal at first, as your body is getting used to running, but it is temporary and won’t cause serious long-term damage. If the pain persists after several workouts, then it’s best to visit your doctor and make sure everything is going well.
Don’t Forget to Stretch
Just because you’re a beginner and won’t be running much at first doesn’t mean you don’t have to stretch. Spend at least 10 minutes every day doing dynamic stretching before training. In this article, I’ll explain all the keys to a proper warm-up, so make a note of it.
By stretching properly, you can prepare your various muscle groups for the effort you’re about to put in. It is also a way to avoid injuries and reduce any post-workout discomfort you may have as mentioned in the previous point.
Take care of your nutrition from the beginning
If you want to lose weight running, the first thing you should do is go to a nutritionist to recommend a diet that can be combined with the exercise you are going to do.
Whether this is your long-term goal or not, it is important that you consider some questions about nutrition.
Don’t overdo it with hydrates
To run you need energy and carbohydrates give you that, but you have to control yourself. Running 3 or 4 kilometers at a gentle pace will burn at most 200 or 300 calories, so it’s best to eat modest amounts of carbohydrates. You don’t burn everything running, especially at first.
In fact, if you’re going to start running regularly, it’s best to eat healthy foods throughout the day and eat something light at least 2 hours before training. Running without food or having eaten a heavy meal is not a good idea in either case.
Hydrate When You Need It
It is true that when you start running you will notice that you sweat a lot, especially if you run in a warm climate. But, unless you’re an advanced marathon runner, you won’t need a hydration plan or energy drinks for the time being. So drink only when you’re thirsty.
Drinking water before you go running and a little more after your workout will be enough. Don’t forget to avoid excessive consumption of calories in sugary drinks as well. If you drink during your workout, you may get the unwanted side pricks (flatus), so it’s best to leave it until before and after your workout.
Avoid Unnecessary Supplements
Don’t buy everything they try to sell you to get results faster: supplements to lose more weight while running, miracle products to run faster, etc.
The best thing is to follow a healthy diet, eating natural unprocessed foods (fruits, vegetables, proteins, etc.), as this will give you the same result and save you money and, in some cases, even trouble.
Equip Yourself Well
Once all the above key points are clear and we are ready and convinced that we are going to become a real runner, it is time to equip ourselves properly.
Little by little you will expand your sports wardrobe and invest more in your equipment, but you don’t need that much to start with either. Be realistic!
Wear good shoes
As you know, shoes are the essential element that every runner needs to practice this sport. That’s why it’s important to choose well. It is not recommended that you start running in non-sporting shoes or other unsuitable footwear. Click here in case you want to read the most complete review guide when it comes to selecting the perfect running shoes.
The best thing to do is to first have a test to determine your footprint at a specialized sports center, by seeing a chiropodist or a physiotherapist. This way you can find out if you are a pronator, supinator or neutral runner and choose the right shoes for your foot, your weight and your running style.
Wear Lightweight and Comfortable Clothing
You don’t have to get the best of the last season in sportswear. Choose an outfit that is comfortable, lightweight and breathable. It is very important not to accumulate sweat while exercising, so you should avoid cotton clothing at all costs.
Breathable socks that are resistant to scratching can be very useful in your workouts. And if you are a woman, don’t forget to wear sports bras that are neither too loose nor too tight, so that you are comfortable and perfectly supported.
Don’t Buy Gadgets
Heart rate monitors, accelerometers, GPS watches, pedometers, sleep meters, scales that calculate your muscle mass… There are dozens and dozens of products you will find on the market designed especially for runners. But are they really necessary for you?
At the beginning we recommend you to choose something simple, a stopwatch or a bracelet that measures the most basic parameters. You don’t need to invest a lot of money in a gadget that you won’t get much out of at the moment.
We do advise you to take a music player with you, as listening to your favorite music can always boost your motivation and make your workouts more enjoyable.
Now there’s only one more thing you need to do: run!
Do you already know everything a beginner needs to start his runner’s adventure? As you can see it’s not much, the most important thing is conviction.
You must be persistent, forget excuses and have a lot of patience. So, you know, after having clear what you need, the time has come: look for a goal and a training plan and… Run!