Taking that first step when it comes to running can be hard. We come up with so many reasons as to why we shouldn’t run that we forget about all the benefits running provides to us. Taking that first step is not easy, but making running a part of your life is worth it and the benefits outweigh the negative thoughts one might first have about taking up the sport.
You do not have to be an Olympian to be a runner. You can be a beginner and still take that first step and fall in love with running. That is my hope for you. As a beginner there are many areas of concern such as how to train, how to get stronger, how to stay motivated, and learning the mental tricks to beat that pain that often comes with being a beginner runner. Let me give you the tools of the trade and from there, the rest will come naturally.
One of the first concerns is how to train and how to take that first step as a runner. First and foremost is your diet. Your diet is what will keep you running longer and faster. Your diet will make it to where you can beat those hills with a smile and your diet will keep you from being in pain. A good diet consists of proteins such as chicken or turkey meat. I prefer a turkey patty for lunch and a grilled chicken breast for dinner. Along with the protein, you need to get in your vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, potatoes, and even yams. The way you choose to diet will also help you lose weight and gain muscle which is what every runner needs. Also, you will need to drink plenty of water. Water keeps you from being hungry and also helps fuel the body. Often times, runners will think that they are hungry when in fact they are actually thirsty, so make sure to drink a glass of water with each meal. Do not be afraid to take supplements such as BCAA chewables or tourine. This will help fuel your body and help keep your muscles healthy.
Once you have your diet together, the next thing to do in taking that first step is getting stronger as a runner. This requires that you either train outdoors or indoors depending on the season and where you might live. During the winter months, I find myself running a lot on the treadmill. This can become tedious, but we shouldn’t be afraid of the tedious workout sessions with our treadmill, we must embrace them. Running on a treadmill gives you a chance to go the distance without having to leave your home or the gym. When hitting the treadmill, you don’t have to stay on the treadmill for hours to get in a good run. You can get a decent workout in as little as 15 minutes by running at a faster than outside pace. What you want to do is run for three minutes and walk for two and repeat this until your 15 minutes is up. Another great benefit to treadmill training is learning how to pace yourself. The treadmill allows you to set a pace and stick to it, unlike running outdoors where your pace may change depending on where you are running and for how long. Remember the longer you run, the more likely your pace is to lessen outside. Inside, you have the ability to keep the same pace for the distance you want to run without slowing down! Also, if you do not have any hills to climb where you live, the treadmill is the best way to train. You can train on the treadmill for hills by gradually increasing your speed and raising the incline at a 2% grade for a minute then decrease the incline for three minutes and repeat for as long as you can.
Staying motivated always seems to be the hardest part. We can make several excuses as to why we don’t have the time to run. Motivation really comes from within. If you can remember that, then taking the first step will come naturally. We all are motivated, and if we are not we can find something or someone to show us that we do have that motivation. Load up your headset with your favorite songs that make you want to run or sing along while running. Enlist a friend to run with you or to ask you daily how your runs are going. Or, find a local running club that is hosting a 5K and sign up! Having something to work for is always a great way to stay motivated. The power comes from within, and I have faith in you.
And lastly, we must learn to avoid the mental tricks that running plays on our minds and bodies. No, we are not going to die from exhaustion. No, our feet are not going to fall off from running too far. And no, we will live to see tomorrow. A healthier tomorrow and one that you can say you started with just taking that first step in the right direction towards a new you.