Many people are probably wondering how they’ll deal with COVID-19 during winter. As runners, we’re pretty lucky, and we can participate in our sport every day of the year by simply lacing up our shoes and walking out the front door. At the start of the pandemic, there was a running boom, and since lockdowns and facility closures look like they’ll continue this winter, there’s a good chance we see Part 2 of that boom in the coming months. Here are nine tips for any new runners out there (and maybe some reminders for even the most seasoned of running veterans).
What to buy?
The most important piece of equipment to buy as a runner is your footwear. If you plan on running regularly, it’s a really good idea to take the plunge and buy a good pair of shoes. Don’t stick with whatever shoes you have, because if you run in them enough, you could hurt yourself. We know shoes can be expensive, but they’re worth it. When it comes to other gear and accessories, there are many other items that are certainly worth the money, but shoes are the only investment that’s absolutely necessary for a new runner.
Don’t worry about time
Don’t focus on running quickly, especially to start. It’s more important to take it easy and build your mileage. Once you get up there and have a regular schedule, you can incorporate speed into your workouts.
Try a workout
So you’ve slowly built your weekly mileage and now you think you’re ready for some speed. Try a track or hill workout to really put your fitness to the test. But be careful — if you push yourself too hard, you could get injured. When you’re first getting into workouts, keep their total distance on the lower side. Then, just like you’ve already done with your weekly mileage, slowly progress to longer runs.
Keep track of your training
This might sound strange to new runners, but it can be helpful to keep a training diary. You don’t have to write pages and pages for each workout, but jotting down a few notes after every run is a good thing to try out. This can help you keep track of what works for you and what doesn’t, and when you look back on past workouts, you can gain confidence from seeing all of the hours and kilometres you’ve put into your training.
Don’t be afraid to walk
We know it’s called running for a reason, but even the best athletes have to walk from time to time, so don’t be afraid to take a break mid-run. You’re new to the sport, after all, and it will be way more enjoyable for you if you allow yourself to relax when things get tough. Try running for one minute and walking the next. Once you feel like you can go longer, bump up your run interval. Eventually, you’ll be running 5K without needing to stop at all.
Do your best
It can be easy to feel inferior to other athletes who have been running for years, but don’t worry about them. It’s better to run at a pace you’re comfortable with rather than trying to keep up with anyone else. The same goes for distance. Don’t let anyone make you feel like you have to run as far as them. You’ll get to the point where you can match their distance eventually, but for now, it’s important to listen to your body and to only go as fast and as far as you feel comfortable.
Test different terrains
You’re new to running, so why not explore the different avenues of the sport? Hit the roads, have fun on the trails and hammer the track. You might find that you like them all equally, or you could discover a passion for one surface in particular.
Don’t be shy
If you have a running-related question, ask it. Runners love meeting new runners, and pretty much everyone in the sport will be more than happy to answer your questions. We’ve all been in your position, and we’ve all had more experienced runners help us out along the way. Ask your questions and let your soon-to-be running buddies help you out.
Just get out the door
Perhaps the most important piece of advice for any runner is to simply get out the door and start your run. Even if you don’t feel like running, we guarantee that five to 10 minutes into the workout, you’ll be happy that you got outside.