Make progress slowly ...
It is imperative — and this is a point on which all medical studies agree — that you do not increase the number of kilometres run too quickly. When taking up running again after a long break (or if you're getting started with the sport for the first time), prudence is advised in order to avoid injuries (which are usually fairly slight).
In concrete terms, you should limit your increases in distances run to 10% - 15% at a time. So if you run 15 kilometres one week, you should not run more than 20 kilometres the following week, and so on. It is preferable to add a different complementary training session — swimming, cycling, or even yoga — to your weekly routine rather than increase your distance run too zealously.
... and steadily!
No one can expect to make progress and obtain (conquer!) those great sensations that come with running, without sticking to a regular routine. Several things to bear in mind:
- It often takes no more than 40 minutes to complete a relatively active running session. Running is a sport that doesn't require a lot of time!
- It's best to add one mid-week training session to your routine from the very beginning. Select the day and time based on your personal and professional obligations. Then stick to it except in case of emergencies.
- Naturally, you'll most likely schedule your longer training sessions for the weekends (given that you'll have more available time then). However, you should take care not to make your weekend training sessions too long.
After about three months of regular running, it is advised to begin running three times a week. This is the basic foundation needed to reach solid milestones and undertake a training programme that results in sustainable progress.
Set realistic goals
You won't become a champion from one day to the next. But you will make amazing progress if you are methodical. Don't try to set the bar too high in the first weeks, especially if you haven't had much experience with sports activities. Remember:
. In addition to progressing gradually (wear a stopwatch to track your runs) and regularly, you must get to know your body in order to have a clear understanding of your limits.
. During the first weeks, ideally alternate between a fast walk and a slow jog. Then gradually decrease the length of your walking times and increase the length of your running times.
. Don't try to quickly reach high-intensity levels of exercise. Think endurance! There's no point in pushing yourself until you're out of breath (too intense). You should be able to maintain a conversation the entire time you are running (even if it's just with yourself). Always listen to your body.
. Setting reasonable objectives can, and should, go hand in hand with being ambitious! Quickly sign up for a competitive event held in your city or region. Start off with a 5 km run: this is an ideal distance for your first competitive event.
Pay attention to the quality of your running gear
Besides the obvious, it's important to keep some essentials in mind:
- If you're starting to run, purchasing a pair of actual running shoes is essential. There are several factors to consider when choosing a pair of shoes, including your weight, stride type, and the distances run during your training sessions or competitive events. Seek advice and don't be afraid to try out several different shoe models.
You'll get more out of your springtime running programme if you do it with others. Spur each other on, and enjoy friendly company. Running is a team sport!