You have just decided to pick up the sport and are completely new to running. But you are not sure how to go about it. And what common pitfalls should you avoid?
Here are some tips for you.
Keep your goals small
Try to set small, achievable goals during your training sessions. For example, if you are a beginner and entering say, your first 5K race, do not aim to run 5K by the end of the first week. This is being far too ambitious and you would not be able to do it. Instead, set yourself say, an eight-week training programme, and aim to successfully run your first kilometre by the end of week one.
Doing this breaks down the challenge into much more achievable targets, and by the time the race comes, you will feel much better prepared for it, both physically and mentally.
Do not run too fast too quickly
Many beginner runners tend to try and overexert themselves at the beginning and run at speeds that they are not capable of. But as a beginner, it is very important for you to start slowly, get used to your pace and gradually build up the intensity over a lengthy period of time. Do remember that you will eventually improve your speed as your body gets used to the exercise. If you go too fast too quickly, you will end up overtraining yourself, and as a result, get injured and suffer a lengthy lay-off from running.
Combine walking with running in your training scheme
It is okay to walk during your training runs. Walking is not considered as cheating. In fact, it helps build up your stamina, fitness levels and endurance safely, and prevents you from overexerting yourself at the same time.
Make running regular
As a beginner runner, do not simply run “as and when you feel like it.” You should instead, try to incorporate running into your regular lifestyle. For example, you can set aside four days every week to go running and make sure that you actually go out running on those days. If you do not have specific days set aside, there is a high chance that you would just procrastinate and tell yourself that you will run “tomorrow” but in actual fact, “tomorrow” will never come. But by having a regular running routine, it definitely helps with your consistency.
Feel free to use the bathroom during runs
It is not embarrassing when the call of nature beckons during a run, regardless of whether it is a race or a training run. In fact, it is very common for runners to need to use the toilet during races, due to nerves or drinking too much water in the lead-up to the run.
So you should not hesitate and do not attempt to hold in your call of nature until the run is over – otherwise the rest of the running will not be comfortable for you.
Listen to your body
Feeling fatigue and tiredness in your muscles is perfectly normal and should not be excuses for you to stop, but if you start to feel dizzy or extreme pain somewhere in your body during your run, do not continue. Instead, you should stop immediately and walk back. If the pain persists, do consult your doctor to ask whether you should continue running or take a break from your training until you are fully recovered.
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