Running is a smart way to get in shape. It doesn’t require expensive equipment or membership to a fancy gym. All you need to get into running is some good shoes and a great place to go!
There is, however, a downside to the sport: runners are very susceptible to foot injuries. This is especially true for new runners, or athletes who are coming back after a long break from training.
Why New Runners Get Hurt
New runners tend to try for too much, too soon. Throwing your body all in to a strenuous activity, without giving yourself time to get used to this new type of movement, leaves you vulnerable to injury. In fact, runners are most likely to get hurt during their first three weeks of training! To avoid this kind of devastating set-back, we're offering you a safer path towards reaching your runners' bliss. First up: start slow.
In your first weeks of training, we recommend sticking with short distances and a slow-and-steady pace: you may feel safest using a walk-run mix to reach your target distances. After taking it extremely easy for three week, it may be time for slightly bigger challenges, and that's ok--as long as you approach each new milestone with caution.
Your training plan should only see you running three days each week. And on these days, new runners should stick to 20 minute sessions. Stick with this time limit until you feel comfortable really comfortable, and the training feels easy. That's the point at which you can start to gradually increase those workout times. And remember, if an increase feels too challenging, it's always ok to go back to an earlier training schedule that felt better for your body!
When you're just getting started, I don't want you worrying about how many miles you can log or how fast a pace you can achieve. Instead, I want you to focus on how long you can keep running without having to stop and catch your breath or take a break. As you get stronger, your body will begin moving faster, almost of its own accord--that's when you'll notice you've run farther during a session, even without extending your run time! At this point, you might want to run for 30 or 40 minutes at a time; but then again, you may want to stick with what's working for you. You see, that's the ultimate key to running safely: listening to your body. If, at any time, an addition to your running routine doesn't feel safe or comfortable, don't try and push through. Instead, stop running for that day. When you head back out, go back to an old workout that didn't hurt. I'll take slow and stead progress over quick, painful advances any day of the week!