Starting May 16th I will be co-coaching the “Learn to run 8k” program at our gym, Just Fitness. If you know me at all, or follow any of my social media, you’ll know that I’m not a fan of distance running… at all. And yes, I would consider 8km a good distance. But, I do believe that running is a part of having a great overall fitness, so I’m all about any distance under 10km.
Below you will find a few helpful tips for beginner runners. Read over them, get motivated and we will see you tonight!
1. Get Fuelled
Fuel for your run is important. You want to have a meal or snack 90 minutes before your run. This will give you time to digest and to fill your energy stores. You’re looking for something between 200-400 calories and high in carbs and protein. Quinoa, rice, sweet potato, oatmeal and either a shake or lean protein. If you don’t eat, there’s a chance you may feel light headed, sluggish and have low energy. Eat too late, you may have some stomach issues. Timing is important! Remember, 90 min to 2 hours before you run.
2. Post-Run Re-Fuel
This is just as important as what fuels your run. Again, high carb and high protein to restore those energy stores you just burned off. This would be the perfect time to eat your supper, but again, focusing on Quinoa, rice, sweet potato, oatmeal and either a shake or lean protein, plus veggies. You won’t need to increase your caloric intake by much with short runs, but you will need to plan your eating out to make sure you are using your food as fuel.
Being well hydrated is just as important as being well fuelled! During your run, drinking water is fine, however, making sure you drink 2-3L during the day, before your run, is more important. And making sure you’re drinking water after your workout is paramount as well.
4. Invest in the right pair of shoes.
I love shoes! Some may even say I have a problem. But I would consider myself a “cross trainer” shoe expert, not a running shoe expert. The only thing I know about running shoes is that they are terrible for cross training, squatting and deadlifting. Running shoes are made for running, and every single person is different, so make sure you seek out the advice of a shoe expert for your running shoes.
5. Mix in cross training to supplement your running.
Cross training helps keep muscle, and helps increase your heart rate and lung capacity, which are all important while running. It also helps balance out the lack of muscle developed during running and helps rebuild muscle that is broken down while running. It keeps you balanced.
6. Set small, achievable goals.
Break down your aspirations into daily, weekly, and monthly goals. We are starting with an 8km goal, but what are your goals during and after this program?
7. Push Through It.
I’ll be the first to say “running sucks”. I don’t run because I want to, I’m not one of those people. I run because it compliments the rest of my training. There will be a point in time where you’re just going to want to quit. It happens to everyone. Your legs will be burning, your lungs will feel like they weigh 100 pounds, but this is just a mental test. When you want to quit, tell yourself to push for just one more minute. To be successful you need to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
8. Stick to the plan!
Find or create a plan, and stick to it! For our program we have a plan for a reason, so make sure you stick to it.
9 .Rest and recovery is very important.
As much as cross training is important, letting your body recover is important. If you’re running more than what we are doing in our program (3x a week) and training 4-5 other times a week, your body can’t recover and you’re just setting yourself up for injury. You need at least one full day of rest every week.
I would never consider myself a long distance runner. Once upon a time, I was called a sprinter, but now I’m old, I wouldn’t even try to pretend to do that. However, with these tips, I’ve been able to push a 5km run in 24 minutes and I’m pretty happy about that. I’m someone who advocates that we should never run more than 5-8km, so please do not take this advice and try to run a marathon, however, if you’re looking for something great to do, to supplement cross training, go out and learn to run 5 or 8km.