10 Tips for Beginners

Regardless of whether you’re starting out as a walker or working your way through the ranks as a new runner, there are a lot of things that beginners often overlook that can make accomplishing their fitness goals much easier, rewarding, and enjoyable.

1. Register for a Race.

Being new to a sport usually brings boundless motivation. Give yourself a reason to stick with your training and fitness goals once things get tough by signing up for a race. Once you’ve got that milestone pinned on your calendar, you’ll have that added motivation every day to get out and stick to your regime.

2. Get a good pair of shoes.

Whether you’ve dipped your toes in the running for fun (and exercise!) pool before, or if you’re completely new to it, be sure to start your training with a visit to a store that specializes in running shoes. Here you’ll be able to be analyzed by an expert and be able to find a shoe that is perfect for your individual foot structure, gait, and goals – consider this time an investment in your own health. This is a Track Shack specialty – all we need is you, your current pair of shoes, half an hour of your time and we’ll have you out the door in the best kicks on the market for you!

3. Have a plan.

Just by getting up and out the door everyday you’ll be able to see improvements in your fitness, but these adaptations will come a lot faster if you follow a plan. Look into finding a local training group or running club to join – you’ll not only get the coaching and training structure you need, but you’ll be making friends and keeping it fun, too!

4. Have a buddy.

Even if you don’t join a training group, having a running partner will do wonders for your training consistency. Beyond having some banter to pass the time a bit quicker, having a training partner can help you achieve your own goals – having someone to make sure you keep it easy on your easy runs and to push you on your harder ones is invaluable!

5. Hit the gym.

Top runners aren’t just good at running, they’re usually solid athletes, too. If you want to achieve your goals, then you’ve got to do more than just go for easy jogs. Keep your overall athleticism by hitting the gym and focusing on sport-related moments (squats, deadlifts, lower leg stability, and abdominals) that will keep you fatigue resistant, strong and injury free.

6. Go fast - Go slow.

Don’t let your progression plateau or yourself fall into a mental rut by getting too routine with your runs. By having planned days where you really get after it, and others where you keep things nice and easy (what Joan Benoit used to call “Look at the flowers” runs), you’ll make sure your fitness is not only progressing, but that your body is primed and ready when that race you signed up for rolls around!

7. Track yourself.

Keeping a record of your training not only helps you stay consistent, but lets you pick up on trends about what motivates you, impacts your fitness,  or what could have led to that injury your last training cycle ended in. Taking a couple short minutes to journal and log your exercise and the factors around it (diet, sleep, etc.) gives you a great way to objectively look aback and remember the details of what works for you in your training.

8. Explore

Mix your routes up as often as possible. You’re already not running the same pace and distance every day (right?), so why would you want to run the same loop around your neighborhood? Pick a place to run to, find an interesting neighborhood to explore, find that new route to work, or just flow where the wind takes you – your mind and motivation will thank you.

9. Don’t be gadget-dependent.

Having a watch that tells you how far you’ve gone, your heart rate, your calories burned so far, calories per hour, elevation, pace, average pace, heart rate zone average, and speed in relation to Saturn’s second moon is nice, but the best part about running is its simplicity. Use the great training tools on the market, but also make time to go out for a run where you’re freed from your technological tether and can just enjoy what being in your body as it covers ground feels like. Starting out one of the best additional tools to have is just a simple watch like, the Timex Ironman, that gives you total time and ability to take splits.

10. Remember Restraint.

As awesomely fun, exciting, challenging, and moving as training can be, remember that it can’t be everything at once. You’ll reach that next level you’re trying to get to, get over that old injury, or impress that co-worker with your new bod eventually, but remember that it takes time! Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is a six pack, learn to enjoy the process and celebrate every small victory along the way.

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