6 Bits of Advice for First-Time Runners

So you’re ready to make a break for the wonderful world of running? Consider this your official welcome. Running is great for the body and the soul, but before you get started on your journey toward a new you, take a couple minutes to read through a few bits of advice. We’ll have you trucking along in no time.

#1: Start Slow. Sure, you may have been able to sprint when you were a kid, but running is all about endurance, and the body needs time to develop cardiovascular strength. If you aren’t in shape, break the ice by walking 30 minutes a day. After the first 10 minutes of each walk (the warm-up), alternate jogging for two minutes and walking for five minutes. Repeat the cycle until the 30 minutes are up.

After a few days, you’ll start to build your endurance and be able to run for longer distances. Once you can comfortably handle those two minute jogs, increase them to four-minute jogs. Look to increase your jog times every week, even if only by a minute.

#2: Avoid running too much. Running is outstanding for the cardiovascular system, but not so great on your joints. Many new runners become addicted to running and find themselves pounding the pavement every day. While experienced runners can handle this much running, new runners should limit their run times to 30 minutes per session, and only run 3-4 times a week in order to prevent injuries. As you develop strength in your joints and leg muscles, you can gradually increase your run times.

#3: Stretch before and after you run. One of the most common injuries among first-time runners is a pulled hamstring, and it almost always happens because the runner isn’t diligent about stretching. Be sure to take ten minutes before and after you run to perform hamstring, quad, and adductor stretches. Stretching before you run helps warm up your muscles and prevent injuries, while stretching afterwards helps the muscles recover and heal.

#4: Be seen. Whether you run during the day or at night, it’s important to wear some type of high-visibility gear (i.e. reflective vests, headbands, wristbands) along with light-colored clothes so that you can be seen by drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians.

#5: Invest in running shoes. While you don’t need any special equipment to run, you definitely need a quality pair of running shoes if you want to keep your joints pain free. Be prepared to spend at least $70, as you typically get more for your money when it comes to buying dependable running shoes.

Keep in mind, no two pairs of feet are the same, and not all running shoes are made for all types of feet.  Go to your local running shoe store and try on several pairs of shoes from different manufacturers. The associates there will also be able to guide you towards a pair that is best for your feet.

#6: Stay alert. The best thing about running is that you can do it anywhere, but running outdoors also requires you to be aware of your surroundings at all times. Though many runners like to use their headphones while they run, using both earbuds at any volume can take away your ability to hear vehicles, dogs, cyclists, or pedestrians. Without full hearing, you not only put yourself in danger, but others as well.

To stay safe, one option is to use one earbud and tuck the other one under your shirt, but as we all know, the sound quality of one earbud on a dual earbud set isn’t very good. On the other hand, an even better way to listen to audio and stay safe while running is using a single earbud headphone set, such as the XDU Single Earphone from Far End Gear.

By channeling both sides of a stereo mix in one earbud, the XDU Single Earphone allows you to fully enjoy your favorite music or podcasts while keeping one ear open so you can stay aware of your surroundings when running. Unlike other single earbud sets, the XDU Single Earphone even features a reflective fabric-wrapped cord that helps you stay visible when running at night.

Good luck!