your first mile
Whoever said starting is the hardest part has never run a mile. Sure, getting off the couch and being active isn’t easy, but the hardest part about running is having the willpower to keep going. When you’re just starting, the hardest part is breaking down all your mental barriers and believing you can do it. But along with overcoming the mental aspects, it also helps to ensure you’re well prepared. Fueling your body, warming up, buying the right gear, and finding a running group can help motivate you. That’s why we created a list of tips to help you run your first mile!
FUEL YOUR BODY
It might seem obvious, but how can you exert the energy of a mile if you aren’t fueling your body with the proper nutrient-dense food. Life can get busy, but never too busy for the fuel your body needs to function! This includes drinking water – hydrate, hydrate, and hydrate some more! Focus on eating a balanced diet, including whole grains, healthy protein and fats, vegetables, and fruit. And as your mom says, don’t forget to take your vitamins! Fit2Run offers a variety of nutrition products, such as SaltStick Caps or GU energy gels.
I know you want to get started – but wait! You have to warm up first! It’s important not to forget this step so you can avoid injury. Dynamic stretching, a movement-based stretching, is the best stretch you can do before you run. Check out this blog post on dynamic stretching to learn more. Fit2Run also carries all the essential injury prevention and recovery gear to keep you running.
ENGAGE WITH OTHERS
For many beginners, a mile feels long if you’re running without something to distract you. Whether that is a music playlist, a podcast, or an engaging audiobook – you’ll need something to keep the pep in your step. Spotify is an excellent app with numerous playlists and podcasts specifically curated for runners, check out this Fit2Run Spotify playlist! Staying in tune with how your body feels during a run is also important. Pain is a good indicator you should slow down and take it easy. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day!
WALK & RUN
You may need to alternate between walking and running for the first couple of weeks until you get your endurance up. This is normal! Try running for a few minutes, and then walk when necessary. It’s important to listen to your body when pushing yourself. Soon you will be able to slowly increase how long you go without stopping! Check out this blog on the best tips for beginners on increasing their mileage.
wear the right gear
Having the right running gear can make or break your run. Weather-appropriate clothing, some good moisture-wicking socks, and a great pair of shoes are all you really need. That’s why we encourage everyone who shops at Fit2Run to try our in-store Gait Analysis, which finds the best running shoe for how you run. Check out this blog post about the running gear you may need to get you through your first mile.
FIND A RUN CLUB/GROUP
Having a running buddy can be a great extra competitive push to help you complete your first mile! Many brands offer weekly run clubs or quarterly fun runs – including F2R Run Club! Come out and meet fellow runners and make friends with people who are at the same point of their running journey, or get tips from more advanced runners.
Running every day when first starting your running journey will lead to muscle burnout. Making a schedule and alternating your runs with yoga, pilates, or even walking can be beneficial in your healing process and keep your muscles limber. Cross-training is also important when starting your first mile because it puts less stress on the bones and joints and prevents injury. Don’t forget those rest days!
focus on breath and form
Having good upright posture when you run is essential because having your chest open and shoulders back allows for better airflow. Another tricky part of running your first mile can be controlling how you breathe and figuring out which technique is the best for you. As a beginner, you should try to get the most oxygen you can so many runners say to breathe out of your nose and mouth. Tip: Breathing deeply from your stomach instead of your chest can also help prevent side stitches. For more information about how to breathe while you run, check out this blog!
A lot of beginners need help with pacing themselves when they first start. You end up sprinting for the first couple of minutes and are so winded after half a mile that you have to stop. Try conserving your energy by going a farther distance but at a slower pace. With time and practice, you will be able to speed up!
STATIC STRETCH TO COOL DOWN
Stretching after your run is just as important as before your run! Cool down with some static stretching, stretching your muscles to their furthest point and holding it for 15-20 seconds. This helps increase your range of motion and decrease your risk of stiffness and muscle strain to get you done with your first mile.
get adequate SLEEP
Getting enough sleep every night is critical for those training and even in general. Muscles break down every time you run, and rest allows the body to repair itself so you can run even faster. Studies have shown that getting 8 or more hours of sleep improves coordination, motor skills, and speed – so get those z’s!
YOU GOT THIS!
Running your first mile is not easy, but with the proper preparation with these tips you can make a difference and meet your goal! Don’t forget to visit your local Fit2Run to pick up all your running essentials!