Want to know a secret? I used to HATE it too! I was never an athlete in high school. And way back 20 years ago when I was in the police academy I was ALWAYS last on our morning runs. Every. Single. Time.
Flash forward to now. I love to run! And I’m pretty ok at it lol.. But it took being coached on HOW to run to get me to this point.
Here are my top 5 tips for beginning runners. These are the specific things that helped me go from back of the pack at the police academy, to actually enjoying running. And I know they will help you too!
Start small and increase slowly.
You don't have to run a whole mile to start. If you are in a neighborhood with telephone poles, start by jogging the distance from one pole to the next, then walk the next two poles and repeat. Once you feel comfortable there, jog two and walk one. Or start with a small distance and increase 10% each week.
Time your breaths.
This was the biggest game changer for me. And one of the ways you can learn to become comfortable while running. This will also help you find a comfortable pace that you can sustain for a longer time. Start by just being aware of exhaling as you step down. Once that becomes habit, work on finding a pace where you can breathe in for 4 steps and breathe out for 4 steps. This takes conscious effort and practice but if this is the only tip you use, its the most bang for your buck.
Land on your mid foot.
I am a reformed heel striker! Out in front heel striking means you are putting on the brakes each time you step down. Instead, try shortening your stride and land on your mid foot. This will allow your body to move into the next step more efficiently and will be less jarring on your joints.
Keep shoulders, arms and fingers relaxed.
When we run, we need oxygen. The more muscles we recruit, the more oxygen we will need. Unless you are sprinting or going up a hill, most of the time your upper body does not need to do the hard work. Stay relaxed and you may find you can breathe easier.
Lean at the ankle, not at the hip.
We can use gravity to our advantage to help us run better! Ever put on your ski boots, strap on your skis and lean super far forward in your boots? OK maybe I'm just weird. But you get the idea. If you lean forward from the ankle far enough, you are going to fall forward. If you lean from the hip, you are probably going to have a really sore back. Running is really just controlled falling. Over and over.
Start with one thing at a time. These steps are not in order, so pick the one that will be the low hanging fruit for you. Layer on the next one only after you feel pretty comfortable with the first.
Not sure where to start? Need help putting all the pieces together? Book a half hour with Coach Paul or Coach Aimee. We will take a closer look at your form and give you the exact drills you need to push the needle forward.