How to Run for Beginners without Getting Hurt
If you are like me, you have probably tried to start running multiple times. You can read about my journey to running here to get the deets. Yes, I’m that person that will say things like deets and da bomb to embarrass my son someday. Many of you that are reading this I’m going to venture to guess want to know how to start running. It is the first of the year and time to start something new. This is going to be a beginner’s guide on how to start running without getting hurt. Here are four bullet points talking about how beginners can start running without injury:
1) Start with walking intervals
2) Find a plan that works for you
3) Master your breathing
4) Do what you love to do- don’t force yourself to the next level if it isn’t sustainable for you.
Why start running?
If you’re thinking of starting to run, the first thing you need to do is find your why. Why do you want to start running? Is it just to lose weight, or is there something more motivating than that?
It’s important to have a strong motivating factor for running because it can be tough in the beginning. It takes a lot of effort and dedication to get started, and if you’re not really interested in running, it’s going to be hard to keep going.
That’s why it’s so important to find YOUR why – the reason that will keep you going when things get tough. So take some time and think about it – why do you want to start running? Write it down and put it somewhere where you’ll see it every day, so you can remind yourself of it when things get tough.
How to start running – step 1
Are you thinking of starting to run? Great! It’s a great way to get in shape, and there are plenty of training programs out there to help beginners get started. My personal favorite is the 4-week beginner’s strength and running program that you can download below. This program is designed to help you gradually build up your running endurance so that by the end of the four weeks you are stronger and have a bit more endurance.
It is not meant to get you running 5km in four weeks, which I’ve seen many plans recommend. Instead, it starts with two days of strength training, which you should start doing from the very beginning so that you set yourself up for success.
One thing that’s important to keep in mind when starting to run is that you shouldn’t try to do too much too soon. Many people make the mistake of trying to go from couch potato to marathon runner overnight, and this can often lead to injuries. So it’s important to take things slowly.
How to start running – step 1.5
If you’re a new runner, the first step is to get medical clearance from your doctor. There are many silent killers out there, so it’s important to get checked out before starting an exercise program. Even if you think you’re fine, high blood pressure can be a serious issue for young adults, so it’s best to be safe and get checked out.
Once you have medical clearance, the next step is to start running. But don’t just go out and run a marathon! Start off slow and gradually increase your mileage. And make sure to cross-train with other activities to avoid overuse injuries.
Running can be a great way to stay fit and healthy, but it’s important to do it safely.
How to run – step 2
Warm-up before each run/workout. This is another injury prevention tip as well as something that will make running feel easier for you. A warm-up isn’t walking for 5 minutes before you go for a run. I have a whole article about warming up for a run and what it involves!
Trust me. Spend 5-10 minutes to warm up. I used to only walk before my run for a warm-up and it would take me a solid 10 minutes of my run workout before I felt like I got into my groove. Now that I do a quick 5-minute warm-up? I feel so much better within the first minute of my run.
Hydrate and Fuel for your Run – Step 3
When it comes to running, hydration and fueling are key. You want to make sure you are drinking enough water throughout the day, especially before your run. I like to drink a full glass of water before heading out for a run, and sometimes I’ll also add in a Bodyarmor drink or Liquid I.V to get some electrolytes and energy in.
But hydration isn’t just important before your run – you also want to make sure you are staying hydrated during your run. I like to bring a water bottle with me on my runs, and I’ll take sips of water every few minutes. Dehydration can be dangerous, so it’s important to make sure you stay hydrated while running.
You definitely don’t want to forget fueling either. My history with dieting and disordered eating messed up my metabolism, so I need to make sure I eat enough during the day – especially before a run or a long run.
If you want a great resource on fueling for running check out Anne of Fannetastic Food because she is a registered dietician and a runner. She has a great amount of personal insight and experience to share with you!
Just run – Step 4
Find a buddy and then just go run.
If you’re just starting out running, the best way to get started is by simply going out and running. Don’t try to beat your distance or time each time you run – you’ll be far more successful if you do less than what your max ability is right now. This will help you from getting discouraged after a run if you don’t hit the max distance that you have ever run for each and every workout.
Running can seem like a daunting task, but it’s really not as hard as it seems. Just find a buddy to run with either in person or virtually, and then go out and run. Don’t overcomplicate things – keep it simple!
Final thoughts on Running without Injury for Beginners
If you’re new to running, the best way to get started is by following these simple tips. Make sure you get medical clearance from your doctor before starting any running program and then start off slow by gradually increasing your mileage. Cross-train with other activities to avoid overuse injuries, and make sure you hydrate and fuel properly for each run. Finally, just go out and run! Find a buddy to run with either in person or virtually, and keep it simple as you ease into this wonderful activity.
Helpful Articles for New Runners
See you on the road and keep running ~
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How to Run – Start Running for Beginners
Dr. Abby Siler, PT, DPT is a Physical Therapist with 10 years of experience in a variety of settings. She has spent the majority of her time treating athletes in orthopedic clinics and worker’s compensation cases. She is a runner herself for the past 15 years and a lifelong athlete. Dr. Abby loves to teach runners how to stay injury free and out of her clinic.