Tips for Beginners
Spring is here, and that means you may be itching for a new form of exercise. If running is something you want to pursue, we are here to help. One of the biggest challenges a new runner faces is not knowing how or where to start, so we have recommendations for your training program!
You may have heard of Couch to 5k Programs. These programs are an excellent way to enable you to transform a more sedentary lifestyle into an active one, safely. The typical Couch to 5k running plan takes you from running 0 to 5K (3.1 miles) in a set amount of time, running 3x/week, with rest days in between. Depending on your baseline fitness level, there are various programs lasting from 4-to 9 weeks in length.
These programs typically involve interval training – a run/walk method, that allows you to train for a longer period of time than if you were to run constantly. The walking breaks give your body some time to recover. By varying your pace, your body is forced to adapt to different speeds, and your heart and lungs have to adapt to various levels of strenuous activity. Couch to 5K training slowly ramps up the amount of time you spend running and cuts back the time you spend walking until you’re at the point where you can run a 5K without stopping.
Tips for Getting Started:
- Take purposeful breaths, and spend time focusing on it.
- Recruit an accountability partner or training partner to help keep you motivated.
- Take time to warm up and cool down.
- Warm up the muscles and joints with dynamic movements – leg swings, high knees, butt kicks, quad pulls, Frankenstein kicks, knee hugs, toe, and heel walks.
- Cool down with a walk, some static stretches, and mobility exercises.
- Consider cross-training on rest days, such as cycling, yoga, strength training, or swimming.
- Strength training can help make running easier, build muscle, prevent imbalances, and help you stay injury-free. Try some bodyweight exercises, like squats, lunges, calf raises, and core and glut work.
- Consistency is key! Schedule your 3 runs per week and stick to it.
- Don’t worry about your speed, simply focus on your form and movement.
- Listen to your body. If you need an extra rest day, or to repeat a week, do it.
- Stay motivated by creating new running playlists or finding an interesting podcast to listen to.
- Stay fueled! Hydrate and rehydrate, especially during the warmer months. Always replenish electrolytes and have a well-balanced snack or meal.
- Give yourself a reward for reaching your goal!
We hope this helps you get started! View our exercise videos for runners to learn more and contact your local PT if any acute or nagging injuries prevent you from progressing or reaching your goals. As movement experts, we work to keep you healthy, prevent injuries, and create treatment plans to get you back on course.
By Shannon Riley, PT, DPT
Assistant Clinic Director