Get out and run! This is not going to be a grid of what workouts to hit and when because that is not important to start running. The most important things to focus on as someone new to running are consistency and longevity. Below, I’ll outline some of the best things I have learned in the last 2 years. This is what I did when I started and continue to do. I have a 5:05 Mile and 1:34 Half marathon after 1 year of consistent run training.
I have found it incredibly helpful to just get out and run. I started with a goal of 30min/4 times per week. By doing this, you will figure out what you have time for and what days work. I have seen plenty of people put 30min to an hour of work into building “The Perfect Training Plan” only to break it 2 days in because they don’t have enough time. Instead, they could have used that hour to run. When 30min is easy, try to build to 45min per run, 4-5 times per week. Maybe you need to wake up earlier, go out right after work, or skip your favorite TV show to get in the 4 runs each week. Just go out and run!
Figure out which days are the best for your runs and try to stick to those days. I know I won’t schedule anything for Monday or Thursday night because those are two of my run days. This helps my diet as well. My breakfast is normally better, and I will have a lighter lunch knowing I want to feel good for my run.
Find a group, post your runs on Instagram, or find a training partner. Groups are the best way to make sure you are running consistently. Most local running stores have a group run at least one day each week. Drop in and ask them. If they don’t maybe they would be interested in starting one. If there is not a local running group, look for a running partner. Convince a significant other they should run or find a coworker that has also talked about running. If neither of those options work, start posting about it on your social media. Some people might dismiss it, but you would be surprised how much support comes out of a simple “My first 5-mile run” post. You might even find a friend nearby who is looking for a run partner. Look at getting a Strava profile. This is an incredible account that tracks your runs and shows you runners in your community. This might also help finding run groups. If you love data, there are several Strava plugins you can get that really advance how much you can over analyze runs.
Keep It Simple
There are so many plans out there with different style runs. Don’t worry about that when starting out. Back to the first point, just run. By running consistently, you will make so much progress in one year. A plan based on where you are now could be too slow or low volume after 3 or 4 weeks.
Become a student of the sport. Don’t run through sharp pains. Figure out where the pain is and research what could be causing it. If you have the time to run, then you have the time to do a proper warm up and cool down. Do not sacrifice a warm up for additional miles. That would be like stepping over $100 to pick up a quarter. Find a good yoga studio or a yoga channel on YouTube. Commit to stretching for 20min per day. No reason to spend half of you week in pain from the running.
What I Have Done
First 6 months: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday 4-6 mile group run. Sunday Morning group long run. I built up a community that would call me out for not showing up and people that were training for the same distances I was.
Next 6 Months: Monday, Thursday group run. Tuesday speed work on the track with a group. Sunday Long run.
Now: Monday, Thursday group runs. Tuesday, Thursday morning Tempo runs with a group. Steady Saturday runs solo. Long group runs on Sunday.
These group runs introduced me to an awesome running community. I started out hating every step of the run but following these steps has changed that mindset entirely.
Most Important Step!! Have FUN. Keep the mood light and happy. Running should be enjoyable and stress relieving. Enjoy the process and don’t overthink it.