Most of us have developed a weaker physical state during the pandemic, because of the limited training opportunities. But now where a vaccine is on the way around the world, each one of us has the opportunity to make the biggest comeback story in our lives. The aim with the 10 Best Ways to start running for beginners is thus also to attain better fitness, get great experiences, and meet ‘the new world’ with a new attitude.
So, with this in mind, it is also important not to demand too much of yourself if you want good running experiences at the beginning
How to start running
In the beginning, the body’s muscles and tendons need time to get used to the new form of load that running will be. Too many beginners run into overload injuries. The classic mistake for a beginner is to run too far and too fast. We tend to increase the amount of training in step with what you have air for, which means what the heart and lung circulation can handle.
It usually goes well for a few weeks – you may have gotten up to running 5-7 km three times a week – and then the problems manifest themselves in the form of pain in the knees, shins or Achilles tendons.
As a starting point, running is fantastic, but it is also stressful for the legs in particular, as it is the same structures that are stressed again and again in a rather one-sided way, seen concerning some other sports, such as handball, soccer or cycling, where the variation is greater in the load pattern.
This is something you need to take into account when you start running – just as you have to take into account your current training conditions, your age and your weight.
Increase your Running in the right way
When you run, your muscles, tendons, bones, heart and lung circulation will become stronger. But there is a big difference in how fast the progress is for the body’s different structures.
Your fitness – that is, what you “have air for” – can be greatly improved in just 1-2 months. For the muscles and bones, it takes a little longer, and for cartilage and tendon tissue it takes even longer – in fact, 6-10 months. As the tendon tissue is also very stressed during running training, it is here we often see overloads.
Let us assume that you are in good shape from a non-“weight-bearing” sport, such as ex. spinning or swimming, then there is an increased risk that you start too fast with your running project, as you already have ‘air’ to run long, but your legs cannot cope with the load at all, as they are not used to working with your body weight.
Therefore, you need to increase the load based on what the body’s tissue can cope with and not in line with what you have air for. A rule of thumb is to increase the amount of training by 5 – 10% extra per week.
As a beginner, it can be hard to get a sense of how many kilometers you have completed. We can thus easily misjudge the kilometers we have completed and end up running longer than intended. A good approach would therefore be to forget about the kilometer amount in the beginning.
Instead, start with the time you have been running – how long a time you have been out there as a starting point. You could start with 15 minutes of combined walking and run. The first 2-3 weeks you can ex. run for 1/3 and walk for 2/3 of the training time. After that, you can run in a larger and larger part of the training.
At this level, you from the beginning must learn to let the body’s signals determine the amount and intensity of the training. Your first goal could be to run for 20 min. without break, 2-3 times a week. When you can do that, you are ready for a basic training program.
Choose the same or a few running routes. In that way, it’s easy to see the development as you get better and better, it’s also very motivating. At the same time, you can be sure not to run too far because you have miscalculated the distance.
Running Shoes and Running Surface
Many of us do not want to invest in expensive running shoes until we are sure that running is something we really want to continue with in the future. However, you should not wait longer than a few weeks before investing in running shoes of good quality. Even if you do not run often as a beginner, the risk of running injuries is much greater in the wrong or worn shoes.
Running shoes are the most important equipment that you should acquire as soon as possible. Good running shoes reduce the load by running. Rather wait to acquire advanced running clothes. An old jogging suit and a thin windbreaker can easily be used in the beginning.
No matter how good your running shoes are, asphalt and tiles are very hard surfaces to run on. So, if you have access to gravel- or forest trails, you will make it easier for yourself. Both because the surface is softer and because you get a greater variation in the way you load your legs. Be aware, however, that running downhill is very hard for the knees.
Make Running a habit
Maybe the hardest thing about running is to continue the training. If you can create a good habit and make training a regular part of everyday life, it will be much easier and less complicated to train. A good way to increase motivation is to find a running partner. Appointments with another person also keep you to the training each week.
If you want to run alone, it can be a good idea to vary the training by having several different routes to choose from. You can start with an overview by using Google Maps or similar apps. Try to measure some possible running routes in the neighboring area and if possible take your bike and check them out.
Combine running with other forms of training. It can increase motivation and at the same time provide variation in the body’s load pattern, which helps to prevent injuries. Alternatively, you should choose fitness-demanding training that involves the large muscle groups of the legs.
by supplementing the running training with stability and strength exercises, you get an opportunity to become stronger and avoid some of the injuries that occur concerning an untrained body. But also cycling, swimming or roller skating are topics here. It is about finding alternatives that are relieving to running so that the load pattern becomes different.
Every time you land on your foot by running, you give your body a load of 2-3 times your own weight. When you develop and use other muscle groups by performing other movements as in alternative training, you become a more resilient and complete runner.
You get stronger by resting
Keep in mind that when you train, the body becomes weaker, and it must therefore have a period of rest so it can build up and become stronger again – according to the super-compensation principle before you train again next time. It is very individual what intensity the individual can handle and depends mostly on the current training condition. In general, you should run shorter distances than a few long distances. Also, remember that it should be your body that decides – not your training program!
Be aware of the running pace
As a beginner, it can be difficult to know how fast you should run, but a guideline is that you should not run faster than you can have a conversation while running. You can use the Borg scale to find your talking pace. It’s a good idea to start with this scale because you learn to become aware of your body’s signals. Later you can shift and use a heart rate monitor (HRM) with your personal training zones.
Running is more than just getting one leg in front of the other. As a beginner, it is a good idea to start thinking about how you move. Let’s assume you start by playing tennis, then you will typically start by mastering the basics such as hit the ball, so you can get it over the net and within the lines on the other side. And maybe you can even avoid getting a sore arm due to poor technique.
Poor running technique is not among the most serious causes of running injuries, but many runners experience an easier and gentler run by working with the running technique
Soreness After Running
From time to time, most of us will experience soreness 1 – 2 days after running. DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) is the name of the condition that occurs 12 – 48 hours after hard training or movements you are not used to. DOMS can cause stiffness, soreness, local swelling, and decreased strength, and it can also cause pain in the muscles.
Soreness is a normal response to a load you are not used to. When a muscle is trained harder or different than usual, it will become ‘worn’. The wear consists of small microscopic tears of the muscle fibers – also called ‘micro-traumas.
The wear on muscles, connective tissue and tendons is compensated since the body rebuilding itself – and a little better than before (Supercompensation). We can say that the body is always preparing to do its best. So, when the body repeatedly experiences ‘worn,’ it builds itself up to be able to handle the loads better and better after every time you have trained. That’s how you get in better shape.
When we experience soreness in the muscles two days after training, it’s because when the muscles are used more than normal and become worn, inflammation occurs around the worn place. the inflammation is natural and must occur for the body to rebuild itself. It is this type of inflammation that causes pain in the muscles.
But it takes some time before the inflammation is so severe that you become sore. So, even though your body is working on ‘high pressure’ to repair you, you become sore until the inflammation is gone again and the muscle is recovered.
There was a time when people thought that stretching exercises could help against DOMS, but there is – so far – no clear evidence that stretching exercises can help against DOMS. It can rather be the opposite. Because intensive stretching exercises can also provide DOMS.
So, there are no clear methods to help against the delayed soreness in the muscles. However, there is something we can do to help against the unpleasant symptoms:
- Prioritize your sleep. At night, most of your recovery happens. The less you sleep, the less restitution
- Do calm stretching exercises. Some people find this comfortable to stretch stiff muscles.
- Go for a walk or do other low-intensity training/movement. Warming up the muscles reduces the soreness.
- Avoid increasing the load in your workout significantly from one day to the next. Gently and calmly increase your amount of exercise and load.
- Do ‘cool down’ after your workout, jog calmly at the end of the run, do less strenuous exercises after strength training etc.
- Warm up when you exercise. The better the muscles are warmed up, the better they work.
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