Updated: September 16th, 2021
Want to start a running training plan? Beginners look here

Did you know? Running is considered one of the most beneficial forms of physical exercise. It has incredible health benefits that include strengthening bones, building muscle strength, and reducing the risk of suffering heart disease.

Did you also know, that it is one of the most effective fat burning aerobic exercises too?!

Running also boosts confidence, improves mental and emotional health, and is considered a stress reliever, a healthy social activity for all the family.

With all these benefits, it is no wonder why running is regarded as the most popular and most preferred form of physical activity.

Here are some tips for you, to prepare yourself prior to starting running training (pull up a seat, bring a notebook and pen).

Doctor’s Approval

If you are new to running, have an underlying health condition, classed overweight or haven’t exercised for a while; you need to seek your doctor’s advice just to make sure.

Mainly to avoid cardiac complications (like heart attack) brought on by starting intense running schedule out of nowhere. But your doctor will help you understand the best way to go about your running aims, so don’t fret. However, if you cannot get to your doctor, you need to do a self-evaluation to determine whether running is the right activity for you and your ticker.

Pick The Right Running attire.

When we talk about running clothes, there’s a lot that you might want to consider — for instance, the correct kind of fabric for your running clothes. Nylon, polyester and polypropylene are the most common fabrics because they are comfortable and allow sweat to escape quickly. Unlike cotton, which is highly absorbent and retains all the sweat making you wet, synthetic fabrics are a lot better. Wool is also great, especially for headgear and gloves.

The weather conditions also affect your choices; layering is essential in winter, whereas lightweight options in warm weather – bright color clothes are advised to reflect the sun; color is everything (remember those go faster stripes?).
dog with snow hat
Dependant on the terrain your deciding to run, get the right sneakers!. Because believe me, you do not want to be slipping around on a trail run wearing road running trainers. Although hitting the roads with a trail style tread isn’t comfy either. Confused? Someone a the store will definitely be able to assist; don’t panic.

Setting Goals

As you prepare yourself to start running, it is important to set reasonable goals. Goals are set to make you a better runner with time NOT overnight. Having a running coach around would help you to develop your training, goals (and Personal Bests’!)

The first goal you might want to put is consistency. Being consistent with running will help you understand your body’s capabilities, limitations, your mindset and motivations but also helps to ground your goals. The desire to run 5 times a week is much MUCH different to actually doing it.

It is crucial to start slow with goals; baby steps. That way you’re less likely to strain your muscles or make them sore (although there will be bits of that naturally, starting back up again – its perfectly normal). As you get better with time (and your run coach) and have a training strategy, you can start working on timing, splits, different training styles and increase miles to cover. Otherwise, it would be best if you focused on enjoying the training and getting better every time your out there.
woman running smiling

Proper Hydration

When we exercise, our body temperature rises above normal and sweating releases excess heat. It is important to note that you will need to hydrate to restore the body fluids lost through sweating (in fact even if you haven’t sweat; hydrate hydrate hydrate after a run).

Running while thirsty will make the experience and running performance very poor. You’ feel tired, like the route is much MUCH harder than it actually is, fatigue quicker and probably suffer a lower mood in general; It’s not much fun. So to ensure this doesn’t happen, we’re aiming for a clear urine test. If your urine is dark, get more water in before you head out to run, purchase a camelpack and take water on the run with you, or, If its light and clear (optimal) then go go go.

Prepare Yourself Psychologically, and Have a Positive Attitude

To prepare yourself psychologically, you have options:

  • Visualise yourself running your chosen route (or areas nearby), note how easy you find it, how much your enjoying it, and what you will feel like afterwards.
  • Actually walk the route you will take to familiarize yourself prior to training – especially if there is a difficult hill or terrain. Give yourself a positive thought or chat as you walk up it first – and I bet you’ll remember what you said in that exact spot when you run it.
  • Friends of mine love to make a music playlist that reflect the course – upbeat motivating songs for the hills and calming music for the cool down back home
  • Remember, this is a new challenge, your doing amazing and keep going!
  • Invite a friend and meet them prior – you can’t quit on your friend now can you...

You’ll hear a lot that running is 90% mental, so adopting a positive attitude would really help give you a head start – it will keep you going when you feel like you can’t, and it is going to make the challenge more achievable; and much more fun.

Stretch Before and After

Stretching helps everything,literally from lengthening your muscles and activating them for exercise. To mentally switching you on. Its a moment to assess how your body is feeling, if you need to alter your route, and check your kit is all in order. so make sure you take this time, a few minutes of dynamic stretches will do. Remember to also stretch after running – static stretches; holding each one for 30 seconds.

Have Adequate Rest

As excitement, motivation and ‘runners high’ is experienced more and more, it is imperative that you rest. Sleep a minimum of 7-8 hours depending on what your body needs (FYI: Its well established that women need more sleep). Having adequate rest is crucial – this is where your adaptations are, your growth and recovery is. Its where the magic happens. So don’t fall into the trap of running everyday and burning out, schedule at least 2 rest days a week, (that’s an order)
rest in a tree

Balanced Diet

As you prepare for your running training, it is important to also put your nutrition under the microscope. Your body will need more calories than usual, to perform well (and keep up with your goals).

There are certain foods to avoid. Things like sugary drinks, alcohol, ready meals, oily and highly saturated fatty foods. You will need a balanced diet with whole grains – lots of carbohydrates, protein, healthy, unsaturated fats, vegetables and fruits.

It is also advisable to eat light prior to a lacing up the running shoes. Running on a full stomach is uncomfortable with potential for stomach cramps. Although, avoid running on an empty stomach since you won’t have enough energy, its a happy medium we’re after. A little snack like a Bagel, smoothie or oats is great pre-run.

Just Do It

Finally, after all is said and done, the most important thing is to show up when you are supposed to (especially when you’ve invited your friend). All the planning and preparation won’t do you any good if you don’t start.

Just have fun, and let me know how it goes.

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