Fitness Articles

So You Want to Be a Runner?

Get Started on the Right Foot

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Be the Tortoise, Not the Hare. Once again, discipline is essential for a new runner. It is so easy to get caught up in the need to run fast; but as a newbie, running slowly will actually build endurance, which, in part, will allow for faster times in the weeks and months ahead. Only after you have a solid foundation should you look at adding in speed drills. With speed comes a higher risk of injury; this is when listening to your body is crucial.

No Pain, No Gain? Not Quite. Running should not cause pain. Let me repeat that for emphasis: Running should not cause pain. Soreness is to be expected when trying something new, but you should NEVER run through pain. Doing so could lead to bigger issues down the road. It is always better to take a few days off and allow the body to heal than to keep pressing on. As my running coach told me when I first started, "Your goal is to be a life-long runner, not just a once-in-a-lifetime runner."

You Need Strength to be a Runner. Strength training is a huge asset to runners. Building upper body strength will help stabilize the shoulders, while doing lower body workouts will help stabilize the knees and hips. In addition, strength training helps build those all-important glycogen reserves needed for running.

Enjoy the Journey. So many people run just to reach a goal, whether it is the 5K they signed up for or another; but for me the challenge is simply being able to run, which is something I never imagined myself doing before I began my journey to a healthier me almost four years ago.
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About The Author

Nancy Howard Nancy Howard
Nancy is an avid runner and health enthusiast. A retired pediatric nurse, she received her bachelor's degree in nursing from Texas Woman's University and is also a certified running coach and ACE-certified personal trainer.

Member Comments

  • Great article very informative. - 9/12/2014 7:15:35 PM
  • More good information, thanks. - 1/18/2013 10:05:03 PM
  • That was a enlightening article, thank you. - 5/2/2012 6:47:06 PM
  • I've been a runner for the last 35 years and this is sound advice for the beginner. Enjoy the journey!! - 11/16/2011 8:27:40 AM
  • Thanks for a great article. I just had a baby and am starting back into the exercise routine. I am just starting the Walk/Jog Your Way to 5K program! Thanks for great advice! - 6/10/2011 11:57:10 PM
  • Good read. - 6/10/2011 9:26:33 PM
  • Great article. Definitely agree with building the foundation first. It takes time letting your body acclimate but it's worth the investment. Also just got through the audiobook "Born to Run" by Christopher McDougall and it opened my eyes on many things running related and was also an awesome and well written book. Highly recommend it to any one new or deep in the sport. - 6/10/2011 9:20:39 PM
  • I am really trying to do this right. Wish you were here to be my coach live and in person! - 6/10/2011 5:42:46 PM
  • *Internet High Five* - 6/10/2011 3:47:30 PM
  • Another sparker said...you have to be a slow fat runner before you can be a fast thin runner. RWC!!!! - 6/10/2011 2:27:33 PM
  • yes, I need the reminder to go slow! I always want to be a great runner and sometime I need to remember that I have to be a so-so runner first as I build my way to great. Thanks!
    - 6/10/2011 2:15:29 PM
  • This was a great article for me, personally. I have always started out full speed ahead and then suffer with a lot of pain. Then eventually quit altogether. This time, I will start out slow and build up. Thanks for the great advice. - 6/10/2011 1:32:22 PM
  • The end of your article really meant something to me. I have always wanted to run, but never believed I could do it. With continuous help from SP, I will be able to achieve a dream. - 2/20/2011 10:13:39 AM
  • Great intro for me as I work my way back into running. I am signed up for a half in May next year and am only beginning. Sounds like I need to use my time well. What I liked about the article is the sensible approach to taking on a new challenge rather than 'let's get out there and do it!'
    Thanks! - 11/11/2010 9:06:17 AM
  • Woo Hoo - I am the first responder!!
    Loved the article and it has inspired me to try to start running.
    I will also go right to team and post.
    You are an inspiration to all who know you.
    Nancy - 6/17/2010 7:27:20 AM
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