How To Start Running
I’m going to talk about how to start running today. Or at least how to start if you’re a beginner and you struggle with actually getting to any speed.
I’m by no means a running expert.
But when I first started exercising, running was my thing.
And it took me a little while to build some endurance, to build some stamina and to be able to actually run for more than five minutes without getting completely fatigued and completely out of breath.
The Most Important Thing To Remember
So before we begin, before we go any further, I’m just going to add a standard disclaimer. There’s no such thing as a perfect workout routine, perfect exercise, or any of those things. It’s down to what you can do safely, what you can do consistently and what you enjoy. And also really what your goals are.
For someone that’s looking to build strength and build muscle, they’re probably not going to get much benefit out of trying to train for a marathon, for example.
Benefits Of Running
Some of the pros of running.
It’s just good exercise. You can do it anywhere. You don’t need any equipment. It can feel really empowering, freeing and can help you clear your mind.
You can just go out for a run and there’s nothing else to think about nothing to distract you. It’s just you and the pavement, or you and the grass or whatever surface you’re running on.
Downsides Of Running
On the flip side, if you’ve got any injuries, or if you find it boring, then it’s not the best exercise.
Also, if your technique, isn’t great you’re at a higher risk of injury.
And as it is a repetitive motion as well, you want to make sure that you keep your volume at a sensible level, unless you’re training for an endurance event, in which case you want to build up your volume gradually so your body adapts.
My History With Running
When I first started exercising, it was all about running. Not weights, not cycling, not classes or spin or circuit training or anything like that.
It was just running.
When I joined a gym, I was getting on the treadmill and hitting the point where treadmills generally switch from walk mode to jog mode, around 7.5-8 km/h.
And I was actually okay with that. The speed was kept steady. I could run on a flat surface. And it was very easy to pick and build some endurance there.
I got up to about 10 km/h running speed in about three to four months. And then I thought “this is great, let me challenge myself a little bit more. Let me sign up for a 10K.”
The 10k run I picked was outdoors, on uneven surfaces across fields and parks
So it was going to be on grass.
Running Outdoors Or Treadmill Running
Running on a treadmill was never going to really get me set up for that. So I started running outside and that became a whole separate kind of equation.
First of all, you don’t have the treadmill to tell you what speed you’re going at. So you have to be a little bit intuitive and understand your body and your movement.
Also, you have to rely on yourself to be able to hold that speed. If you’re fatiguing and your endurance is dropping or you’re out of breath, it’s much easier to stop.
And then also treadmills are firm, flat surfaces. Running outdoors is nothing like that. Especially if you’re running on grass. It’s softer, it absorbs impact (which is actually better for your knees, but it does mean that your legs don’t spring up), which means that it does take more effort to actually run.
And then, of course, uneven surfaces mean that you need to be a little bit more cautious, a little bit more careful.
I got very comfortable running at a 0% incline on the treadmill, there’s pretty much nowhere in nature that is a 0% incline.
While I had done really well on the treadmill in the gym, it was basically that learning to run all over again when I started outside and I found it a hell of a lot harder.
3 Ideas To Help With Running Outdoors
When I started running on the treadmill, it was about seven and a half to eight kilometres an hour. I tried to run at what felt to me like that. And I used to get out of breath and my legs used to get tired very quickly.
So when I started outside, it was probably about 5-6 minutes and then I would need to pause and then go again.
Walk And Jog
Then I tried doing a sort of walk-jog thing. So you jog for a few minutes, take a little bit of recovery and then jog again.
And the concept is that over time, you reduce your walking period so you actually build into that steady jog, which kind of makes sense. Eventually, you’ll lose the walking periods as your stamina goes up and you’ll just jog it. Even though I could take shorter walking periods, I was still hitting that cap at that five-minute block.
I went from a five-minute jog, 90-second walk, five-minute jog, 90-second walk, to a five-minute jog, minute walk, then a five-minute jog, 30-second walk.
But no matter what I was doing, I couldn’t get past that first five minutes.
Super Slow Jog
I don’t even know how I came up with this, but I realized that jogging and walking are different movement patterns.
Your body is moving differently and if you want to be able to jog around for longer then you need to be able to train your body, to carry on that movement pattern for longer.
So I did this weird thing. When I was doing this in a public park, I was getting a hell of a lot of weird stares. But basically, I started jogging on the grass at a speed that was actually slower than a brisk walk, which isn’t really something that you can replicate on a treadmill.
So if I would say my walking speed around that time was probably 4-4.5 km/h. I was jogging or following the jogging movement pattern up to what I would have said was 4-4.5 km/h, but probably a little bit less.
And then I was first building up my time that way. So from five minutes, it was very easy to go to 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 minutes.
When I got to 10 minutes, I felt like I had busted through that 5-minute ceiling. And then I started to increase my speed. And basically, that’s what worked for me.
I got my body trained in actually just holding that movement pattern, for longer periods of time, as it got more and more efficient at that, it became easier to actually work on scaling up. First I was building up my stamina as to how long I could hold that pattern.
And then I was very gradually increasing my speed from there.
Progressing From 10K To Marathons
And then it just went on and on from that. So when I signed up for that 10K, it was about five months away.
I was slower than I wanted it to be, but it was about an hour and seven or an hour and eight minutes. But I didn’t stop to walk at any point.
So that was a success and I thought, “This is great. It’s keeping me motivated, on track, and setting me up to meet a certain goal.”
So then I signed up for another 10K, this was actually all on-road and that was in May, the following year. The first 10K was in September, so I had a good 7-8 months to train.
It meant running outdoors in winter, which was less than ideal, but I did it anyway. And when that 10 K came around, I wouldn’t say I breezed it, but I did it in 51 minutes. So that was a big deal for me.
From there, I started to drift off from running a little bit as I did more weights, but I haven’t given it up entirely at this point.
And then I actually ended up doing the same 10K the next year, and I did it in 47 minutes.
And then I thought “Let’s do a marathon!”
As part of that, you have to do quite a few endurance runs.
So I was going to prepare by also doing a half marathon. And I did that half marathon.
I did it in a decent time. It was an hour and 51 minutes or something like that.
And I didn’t have to stop at any point, but when I crossed the finish line, my first thought was “I never really want to do this again.”
I thought because I loved running 10km, a marathon being four times the distance would be four times the fun. But no chance. It just wasn’t for me.
How To Start Running For Beginners
If you are just starting with running, then you’ve got a few options.
Number one is to just start the treadmill, start light and then build up from there and then transition to outside if you want to transition to outside.
Number two is to try the walk-jog method.
So you do a block of jogging, a block of walking, bulky jogging and buck walking, and then gradually you reduce your walking periods.
You’ll be able to eventually bridge the gaps between your jogging blocks, and you’ll actually be able to hold a steady jog.
Or number three is to try what I did, which is actually slowing your jogging down to basically slower than your walking speed.
Build up endurance with that jogging movement patterns. So for example, if you burn out at 5 minutes, you start with 5 minutes and then look at building up to 6, 7, 8, 9, or 10, however long you need to.
And once you’ve gotten comfortably past whatever that block was for you that’s when you start to increase your speed. And that’ll build up your stamina, and your fitness, and bring down your runtime.
So that’s my story about how I started running, how I went from not being able to run to actually being able to do it and kind of how I fell in love with running too.