#10 Find a Community of Runners
Running can be intimidating when you’re going it alone. Thankfully there are great communities of runners who welcome beginners. Many cities have group runs once a month or once a week where you can join in and run at your own pace.
#9 Use an App
There are many apps designed just for first-timers. The app Couch to 5 k for example, coaches you from the couch to the race course in just 8 weeks. You begin with walking and gradually add to the number of minutes you run.
#8 Register for Your First Race
Registering for your first race gives you a goal to work toward. It can also provide a good enticement if it is in a place where you’d like to go. Disney World and other fun places have their own runners’ weekends. Local races also take place to raise money for a cause, which can be a great carrot to get you moving.
Yes, shopping is a must for a burgeoning runner. Here’s why. You need running shoes that are perfect for your feet, or else you will wind up with sore joints, calluses and maybe even foot and ankle injuries. Invest in great shoes and clothes that wick away sweat from your body.
#6 Learn About the Talk Test
One of the toughest things to do is figure out what pace you should run at. Many people run way too fast in the beginning, burning out their bodies before they are even halfway through the race. The rule of thumb is that you should be able to talk comfortably while running. This may mean you walk a little more at first, but your stamina improves with time.
#5 Strength Training
While you are getting in shape by running, be sure to add in some strength training to give you an all-body workout. This also has the advantage of strengthening the muscles you use most in running. Lifting and cross-training on your off days reduces risk of injury and keeps exercise fun.
#4 Eat Properly
Try to think about what you eat and why by keeping a food diary. Do not skip meals. You won’t lose weight by working out and skipping meals, in fact you will gain weight. Track your progress and make adjustments if you find yourself not having enough energy. The night before your race, focus on loading with carbs so you have plenty of fuel.
#3 Learn How to Warm-Up
You should never start a run on a cold body. Dynamic stretching will get you ready. Dynamic stretches includes doing walking lunges, high knees, butt kicks and some brisk walking. Once you have warmed up, then you can run.
#2 Three Times a Week
Consistency is the key to the couch to 5k run. Begin by doing three training runs a week, each for 20 to 30 minutes. Do not worry about speed, which is unimportant in the beginning. The speed will come as your stamina increases. Make sure you space your runs so there is a day of rest between them.
#1 Learn Post-Run Recovery Habits
The race isn’t over when your training session is done. Stretch after your workout. Since running depletes muscle glycogen, you should replenish yourself by drinking chocolate milk every time you run for 30 minutes or more.