5 Essential Tips for New Runners

New to triathlon?   New to running as well?   Here are the top tips for safe and effective training.  First, develop a solid foundation (base). Base training is a particularly important element of run training. When training for the run, it is important to improve gradually, as running requires muscle strength and involves high cardiovascular, and respiratory, demands.

Running for Triathlon


Time, not Distance. Do not be too concerned with the distance covered, follow the time. It is easier to keep track of your progress using time as your measuring stick and not distance. Don’t be concerned about whether or not you’ve put in adequate distance for your race and measuring your running routes (this has always been a subject of debate, anyway).

Just set your sports watch on the countdown timer mode for the ideal time of your run. Set your watch to beep at the halfway point if you have an out-and-back course. Tracking time is also not as distracting as counting miles or kilometers, and usually helps to avoid excessive distance that can bring about over-training, or injury. The sample programs you’ll find in this article follow this rule to help you simplify your training.

Follow the 10 percent rule. Professionals say that you shouldn’t increase your weekly distance by over 10 percent. For example, if you’ve run 3 times this week for twenty minutes each, for a total of 60 minutes, the following week’s running time should not exceed over 66 minutes. You may increase your running time to 73 minutes the week after that (ten percent of 66 rounded off to the nearest digit gives you 7 additional minutes).

Another thing to keep in mind concerning this rule, is that you should back off by 10 percent every 3rd or fourth week of training, depending on your recovery and how long your running time is. That means you must reduce your running time for one week, and then continue increasing your time again by ten percent, beginning where you left off.

This decrease gives the body a bit of a chance to catch its breath from the increases in training and the cumulative stress you’ve put your legs through for three or four weeks.

If some of this confuses you, or you aren’t very good with figures, don’t sweat it. You just need to keep in mind to gradually increase your distance and put in an easier week of running exercises once a month.

Plan your exercises appropriately. Plan your harder running exercises for days that aren’t very close to other hard exercises. As an example, if you do a hard cycling ride on Wednesday that leaves your legs feeling like spaghetti, Thursday would not be a good day to put in a long run. Allow yourself an easy day both prior to, and after, hard runs. You will just risk injury if you do not.

Go for consistency. One of the most frequent mistake new runners make when training, is going out too hard, and then blowing up after the first couple of minutes. In order that your body adapts to prolonged hard efforts, like for example in a race, make your goal consistency for every run.

You do not teach your body and your mind good pacing by having erratic running exercises that, if you charted the pace, would seem like the stock market taking off. Maintain an even pace during your runs.

Focus on your form. Though form isn’t as crucial in running than in swimming or even cycling, it can help you to avoid injury. Focusing on form teaches your body to hone in on bio-mechanical improvements, and to run more efficiently.

If you’re a newbie, don’t obsess with it too much. Just focus yourself on running relaxed, smoothly and naturally, without any unusual jarring foot strikes. Everyone has a different running style; try to get a sense for yours, while focusing on possible improvements that may reduce unnecessary stress on knees, hips, and even the upper body muscles.

Use these quick tips below to help you find your form.

Tip 1. Minimize excessive bouncing motion.
Tip 2. Relax your upper body, especially the shoulders.
Tip 3. Find the stride length and cadence (number of steps you take to cover a distance) that you feel comfortable with.
Tip 4. Keep your arms and hands loose, letting them swing forward and back with the momentum, propelling you forward naturally.

Good luck, and train safe!


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