If you are starting to run or you are going to run, it is better to do it following the advice of an expert or friends who have experience in running to help you follow a training. Of course, you probably don’t have any running friends or know an expert. Well, here is a decalogue of advice collected by several runners I train.
Do a footprint analysis
Many beginners don’t realize how important it is to use a good pair of running shoes that is appropriate for each person. And it doesn’t have to be the most expensive or the most advertised model, or the prettiest or the one on sale. The ideal is to go to a specialist store and do a footprint analysis. There they will measure your foot, see how you walk and how you run (they can do it on a treadmill).
Once they define your footprint they will be able to tell you which tennis models may be suitable for you, taking into account that you are a beginner in the race. Because tennis also depends on what you are going to run, that is to say, if you want them for training in the mountains (cross-country), or if you are going to run alone on pavement, if you are going to train on the court or if you want them to compete, and if they are for competitions what distances you are going to run with them.
The tennis for short distances (5 km for example), are very light and do not have as much support as the tennis for a marathon or longer distances, which are also light but with a sole with much more support since the amount of steps you give in 5 km are less than one eighth of what you would give in a marathon. If you don’t have a specialized store nearby you can also go to a chiropodist, physiotherapist or any other professional in the area. Friends with running experience can also be very helpful.
Set a real goal and register for a race
As in every project, it is very important to define a goal in order to know where we are going and what we are going to do to achieve it. If you are just starting to run and you are not yet in good physical condition, the best thing to do is to register in some recreational race as part of the training plan you choose, so that you can try out a little what resembles a competition.
And as a main objective, sign up for a 5 km race. Only if you already have time running I would recommend the 10 km, but on principle, with 5 km we are fine. Signing up for a race will allow you to have an objective distance over which to define your training. By setting a date you will have a certain time over which you will look for a training adapted to your level of condition and the objective you have in mind.
Choose an appropriate plan for your level
If you have just started running and you have decided on a 5 km run as your first objective, look for a training plan for this distance and for the beginner level, i.e. choose a plan that is compatible with your current form. Don’t underestimate yourself, the plan should cost you a little bit of work but you will be able to follow it, but don’t overestimate yourself either and want to run more distance or faster than you should. On the internet you can find many sites with a variety of training programs for different distances and levels.
Run slowly or, if necessary, walk, no problem. The first step to running will always be walking. During the first three months you could manage to talk while running, this is a very curious measurement point of your physical condition: if you can talk and breathe normally while running, you are already in good physical condition, while people who cannot yet talk while exercising, pant a lot because they are not yet in good physical condition. Concentrate on running longer or longer distances gradually and not so much on improving your pace.
Better with friends
Training partners will help you maintain a healthy lifestyle as well as run on the days you don’t feel like it.
That is, there are times when we are lazy getting up and running, but since we already have one or more friends, we don’t want to leave them behind so we go. And, what do you think?… the same thing happens to them. That’s why, running with someone is much easier and less likely to avoid it. Besides, socializing in the race makes it more fun and safer.
Minimum 3 days per week
Three or four days a week training plans allow you to recover between sessions with enough encouragement for your health and well-being to continue to benefit. Don’t skip workouts and try to stick to the whole plan. If you miss a day, don’t try to recover, just stick with the plan as it is.
Don’t forget that the days off are part of the training process. We need to lower the level of other activities to adapt to the training. This is how you gain strength, form and speed. At a minimum, you should get a full day’s rest from the exercise.
The “magic crossover” (in English the famous “cross-training”)
Cross-training” or “entrenamiento cruzado”, as it would be translated into Spanish, means that you not only run, but also include sessions of other sports in your running training. Cross-training can be done two days a week, for example, where you look for activities that improve your muscle strength and flexibility such as weight training, yoga, pilates, upper body strengthening or calisthenics.
These exercises complement and strengthen the work done in the race. And you could also combine them with other aerobic sports such as swimming and cycling, which will also help you get stronger as well as avoid injury if you run too much.
One of the most important things we have to do when we start a training plan is to modify our diet to be in line with the new healthy lifestyle. If you eat healthy you will have the energy to run, recover, feel better and perform better.
Even if you are not in a hot climate, when you do an exercise like running, you sweat, and you lose not only water but also many minerals. You need to drink more water, and you may even want to have an energy drink after your workout. You should drink water even if you are not thirsty.
The 10 to 20% weekly rule
This rule refers to the fact that the increase in mileage and/or running time should be done gradually and never be more than 10 or 20% per week. It would be best if you never do more than 20% over the previous week to avoid injury and allow your muscles to get used to the training load in a staggered manner.
Patience is one of the “gifts” that not all of us have and that we should learn to manage. The training is directed in a gradual way so that you assimilate all the training correctly, so that the body gets stronger little by little and also so that, mentally, you acquire experience and get to know yourself more and learn more about yourself, your capacities as well as your weaknesses in order to work more on the latter and be able to achieve the objective you have set for yourself.