Running is counted among the easiest and most doable forms of exercise. Running regularly helps you keep fit and active, maintains your cardiovascular health, and helps you burn those excess pounds. Some studies like the one published in the Physiology and Behavior journal suggest that running is excellent for your mental health too.
Did you know that in ancient Greece and China, champagne was the hydration drink of choice for runners? The practice of runners and athletes drinking alcohol continued through Victorian times too.
Today, we know that alcohol is bad for your hydration and must be totally kept at bay. Runners have many hydration options that are healthier.
Beginner runners often feel overwhelmed by the overload of information available everywhere. We list a few tips for beginner runners covering various aspects such as:
- The right running techniques to start with
- Planning the right balanced diet
- The various hydration options you can choose from
- Choosing the right running gear.
Top 7 tips for beginner runners:
So, you have finally decided to start running for your health and wellness reasons. What is the right place to start? We list a few running tips for beginners.
1. Understand the best running technique for beginners
Most novices feel that they can run a 15 minute or 30-minute stretch on their first go. When they can’t achieve this, they start getting disheartened and give up altogether.
The important point to remember is that the process of running to reach your goals is a slow and gradual process.
Start your first run on your first day with a warm-up walk. Slowly progress into a brisk walk. This will set the tone for your running.
On the first day you may be able to spend just 15 minutes total in the whole process of warming up and toning down. That’s fine. Focus on maintaining continuity over the next few days.
Once you get into the groove, you will be unstoppable.
2. Create a running plan:
A good running plan will help you stay on track and focus on your goals.
- Start by aiming to finish your run in 30 minutes. These 30 minutes will include your warm-up, walking, jogging, and cool downtime.
- Slowly, try increasing the time you spend running. Spend fewer minutes on warming up.
- Walk till your body is ready to run, run till you feel tired, slow down and start jogging, then continue walking, repeat the process till you reach the 30-minute mark.
- Once you feel comfortable enough with this routine, you can increase the total time spent.
- Mixing quick bursts of runs with jogs is an excellent way of training your body.
3. Stay hydrated:
The very fact that we have included hydration as the second running tip for beginners speaks volumes about its significance. The importance of hydration for beginner runners is often ignored due to a lack of proper awareness.
When you run and sweat, your body loses its fluids and along with fluids, electrolytes are lost.
So what are electrolytes?
Electrolytes are charged particles that carry a charge, electric impulses, and signals within your body.
When you sweat and don’t drink enough fluids to compensate for the loss, you will experience a loss of these electrolytes resulting in dehydration.
Common symptoms of dehydration include:
- Reduced urination
- Stronger smelling pee
- Increased/ irregular heartbeat
- Variations in blood pressure
When ignored, these symptoms can turn life-threatening.
The right ways to stay hydrated for runners:
Dehydration happens because you lose important electrolytes that control and manage various functions in your body.
Staying hydrated is among the top running tips for beginners to lose weight. According to an article published in the Frontiers in Nutrition Journal, staying hydrated can help with reduced intake of food and increased lipolysis, both of which contribute to weight loss.
So, what is the best way to stay hydrated?
Electrolyte drinks and sports drinks are formulated to cater to the unique hydration needs of athletes and runners.
Here are a few tips for staying hydrated the right way:
- For running sessions lasting 15 minutes to 30 minutes, water is ideal for hydration. You can also sip on electrolyte drinks if you feel the symptoms of dehydration.
- For sessions lasting 45 minutes or more, electrolytes, sports drinks, and energy drinks are indispensable.
- Drink about 200 ml of fluids about 30 minutes before the run. This will help condition your body.
- Keep sipping fluids every 15 minutes throughout your run.
- Drink about 200 ml of fluids about half an hour after the run is complete.
- Ensure to stay hydrated throughout the day.
4. Consume a well-balanced diet
Focus on consuming an electrolyte-rich diet that includes whole grain, lean meat, fresh produce including fresh fruit, vegetables, milk, and milk products, nuts, and seeds.
This will give you enough nutrition and calories to help you stay on top of your plan.
Did you know it is possible to achieve hydration through the food you eat? Water-rich foods such as watermelon, cucumbers, zucchini, cantaloupe, and peaches are all excellent sources of fluids.
Consuming water-rich foods is an excellent way to stay hydrated.
5. Focus on your breathing:
Among other running tips for beginners, breathing is considered very important. You must concentrate on your breathing process while running. This will ensure proper oxygen supply to your brain and good blood supply to your body.
Improper breathing can lead to feelings of dizziness. You can also include meditative breathing as a part of your warm-up and cool-down routines to condition your body to handle the stress.
6. Choose your gear well:
Running in your everyday shoes may do you more harm than good. Your running shoes should fit you well, have enough cushioning to offer a comfortable run, and have an ergonomic design to give you the maximum comfort when you are running.
Many brands sell shoes specifically designed for running. Always buy your running shoes from a reputed brand. Such brands put a lot of time and money into R&D. So you know that you are getting the best product.
Other gear you may think of investing in include:
- Breathable socks.
- Breathable shirts are made of wicking material that is easy to dry.
- Water bottle or electrolyte drinks for hydration
- Running shorts/ pants/ skirts.
Investing in proper running gear is essential to ensure a comfortable running experience.
7. Choose the right running surface:
What kind of surface is ideal for running? There are many options with each having its own advantages and disadvantages. Let us take a quick look:
- Ideal for fast running and best option for light runners in good form.
- Can be hard on your joints and not suitable for long runs
Forest or park:
- Most popular among runners
- Provides the ideal cushioning and softness
- Increased risk of injuries due to uneven surfaces and rocks/stones
- Excellent training ground
- Can overwork your calf muscles
- Ideal if you want to run indoors
- Many options and settings are available
Depending on the feasibility and pros and cons we listed above, you can choose the best running surface.
Running is an excellent workout for both physical fitness and mental well-being. The best part about running is that anyone belonging to any age group can do it. The best running tips for beginners include starting low and slow, setting achievable goals, taking recovery breaks if needed, and most importantly, staying hydrated.
Consistency and patience are the keys.
So, what are you waiting for?? Wear your gear, grab your bottle and get running!!