Running your first mile might feel like a daunting task at first, especially if you’re a lifelong couch potato. For the not-so-athletic members of the population completing a mile for the first time (without stopping for rest) is likely to require a solid pre-training routine, the right mindset, dedication, and of course, time. This guide will talk you through the ins and outs of working your way up to that first big milestone!
Many beginners report feeling sluggish and tired with aches and pains at the start of a running workout. By warming up before your first session you will lessen the aches and pains and the risk of injury, allowing you to get the most out of your workout.
Start off with a modest warm up routine that involves a light aerobic exercise such as walking and jogging for about five to ten minutes. Avoid static stretching exercises since they have been proven to be non-effective in improving running performance and may cause injury. Instead, engage in a variety of dynamic stretching exercises that include lunges and leg swings. The routine in the video below works well.
After the warm up routine, begin by doing a light jog while progressively increasing your speed in order to get your heart rate up and going to start running. With every passing week, less time may be devoted to walking before the actual run.
Remember, an injury can put you on the bench for weeks or even months! Saving a few minutes by skipping out on the warm-up is simply not worth it!
For beginners who lack stamina it will be important to work on cardio and general fitness. To do this you should begin running on relatively flat terrain such as an oval track or at a park on a mild day. Asphalt paths are the easiest terrain to practice on and if the path follows a road you can easily look up the distance you have travelled on Google Maps. During each session, challenge yourself to go just a little bit further than you did on the session before. For example, if on day one you managed to reach the library, try to reach the supermarket another 30 seconds down the road when you next train. You will be surprised at how quickly you improve!
If you’re unable to train outside, or even if you feel too embarassed due to a lack of conditioning (don’t worry, we’ve all been there!) treadmills can be a handy tool. Almost all gyms will have treadmills and you can pick up pretty cheap entry-level treadmills for home use.
It is important to note that in order to build endurance you should avoid running on a daily basis right from the get-go, as this may lead to injury. Instead, perform a running workout every other day which will give your body the recovery time it needs while also allowing for great progress.
Don’t Go At It Alone!
Joining a running club or training with a friend is a great way to stay motivated, and having somebody else with you will push you to your full potential. This page will help you to find your nearest club.