Do’s and Don’ts for Beginners

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You are an absolute beginner who wants to take up running? Whatever drives you, there are some principles you should follow. If you stick to the do’s and don’ts below and if you are ready to invest some time and patience, it is very likely that your introduction into running will be successful. How to get started ? – We provide you with the answers by clarifying four important questions:

1. Why even torture yourself with regular running training?

The question of motivation is crucial. If you don’t see a reason to run, you won’t do it, at least not voluntarily. If you are still not convinced, here are some further arguments:

  • Running is fun.
  • Running brings joie de vivre.
  • Running is easy. It can be conducted anywhere.
  • Running changes your body sensation.
  • Running keeps you healthy.
  • Running is the easiest and the most efficient sport to train your heart and circulatory system with. Both heart and cardiovascular diseases are still the most common causes of death in the Western world. If you exercise regularly for at least 3×30 minutes a week, chances are good that you will live longer and that you will not depend on external assistance later on.
  • Running changes your mind. When running, you can relax and replenish your energy reserves.
  • ..because running is the most natural and most beautiful kind of movement that exists.
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If you respect some basic rules introduction into running will be successful © Oliver Farys

2. What do I need in order to run regularly?

If you are motivated and healthy, nothing more is required. However, in order for beginners to start successfully, it is of benefit if a couple of additional things are in place.

  • Patience and commitment. Although first signs of progress will manifest themselves rather soon, even in running you have to work for success.
  • Running is an eccentric sport. This means that you lift from and land on the ground, through which you have to cushion your body weight with every step. If you want to start running, it helps if you are not too overweight.
  • Individually customised running shoes. This minimises the risk of early stress fractures.
  • People running together with you. This is no duty. However, it is really helpful to have a fixed date with friends or with a running club. This makes it impossible for your baser instinct to prevent you from going.

3. Do’s: What should I bear in mind when taking up running?

Beginners are often overambitious and there is a risk of wanting too much. Especially beginners should be very aware of how they set up their training. Appropriate footwear, strength gymnastics and the necessary rest in between are further decisive points to be observed in order to be able to run free of complaints. So: Don’t go from 0 to 100. Start with small amounts. Later, increase first the training frequency. It is only as a second step that you should increase distance and as a third step that you may increase speed. Beginners should thus try to first run 3x 20min before they run 60min at once.

  • It cannot be stressed enough: Increase the amount of your running training slowly! The maximum is an increase of 10% per week.
  • Approach longer distances in combination with walking. For example, you could do your first 60min session in the following manner: 15‘ walking, 15‘ running, 15‘ walking, 15‘ running.
  • The right equipment is of great importance. Getting your shoes from a sports shop with adequate consultation as well as wearing sports socks are reasonable investments in your health.
  • Core strength and a stable leg axis are the basis for a smooth and efficient running style. Strength gymnastics with your own body weight are a part of running training.
Core strenght exercises should be an integral part of your training
Core strength exercises should be part of your running training

4. Dont’s: What should I avoid in any case?

The “don’ts” derive from the “do’s”. Following the Russian proverb “repetition is the mother of wisdom”, we are going to emphasise the most important points once again. As a beginner, avoid in any case:

  • increasing the amounts of running minutes or kilometers too rapidly
  • running too fast too early
  • running in too old or inappropriate footwear

Conclusion

The biggest danger lies in wanting too much too early. If you are a beginner, the best piece of advice we can give you is to start carefully and to focus on a relatively slow increase in both training amount and intensity. As an African proverb suggests correctly: grass doesn’t grow faster if you pull on it. Furthermore, it is essential that you vary your training and that you train your whole body. Running.COACH can help you with all of these points. Our beginners programme offers you a clearly structured, gradual buildup that supports you with your introduction. It is individual and dynamic like all training plans by running.COACH. The tips from our experts support you in your decisions. For each training session you will be provided with exercises for warm-up, stretching, running technique or strength so that you train your whole Body. This way, we guarantee that your will take up running successfully.
For beginners running.COACH is the ideal support, as it provides assistance in all relevant aspects.

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If you’re new to running, running.COACH makes sure to do the right thing

Everyone Can Learn from Running Legend Frank Shorter

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The American Frank Shorter was the dominating marathon runner of the 1970s. In 1972 he won the marathon at the Olympics in Munich. And he did in a very impressive way: Already in the first half of the competition, he broke away from the rest of the field. He finished more than two minutes before everyone else. Four years later, at the Olympics in Montréal, he won the silver medal. Between 1971 and 1974 Shorter also managed to win the prestigious Fukuoka Marathon in Japan four (!) times in a row.

Shorter’s Olympic victory did not only represent his most important sporting victory. His success also raised awareness of running among the American population (the Olympic marathon was broadcasted live on US television) and this is how he played a central role in making running attractive for the broad masses. His achievements, especially the victory at the Olympics in Munich, thus significantly contributed to the running boom to emerge in the USA.
Shorter’s career was remarkable for various reasons.

Frank Shorter shortly before his greatest achievement: winning the olympic marathon 1972 in Munich.
Frank Shorter shortly before his greatest achievement: winning the olympic marathon 1972 in Munich.

First: It was utterly successful. He won ten out of the fifteen marathons he took part in. His worst result, along with an abandonment, was a fourth place. Shorter achieved all of those victories between 1971 and 1975. This shows that he performed at the absolute top of marathon for six years.  How could he succeed for such a long period of time? Most probably, as a result of his belief in the importance of peaking his shape before major competitions. He finds it almost impossible to be in the best shape possible two times in one season, he says. As a consequence, he only participated in a few important competitions a year and he tried to always be in his absolute top shape only for the Fukuoka marathon and the Olympics (thus, to “peak” his shape).

Second: Shorter was no top athlete in his school years. It was only at the end of his academic career that he started to train seriously and to achieve good results.

Third: Shorter initially trained on track. He was very competitive in 5000m (PB 13’26’’) and 10’000m (PB 27’45’’) as well. This is something he has in common with runners like Paavo Nurmi, Emil Zatopek or Derek Clayton.

Those three points can be a lesson to learn from for every amateur runner. Firstly, it is worth focusing on a few important competitions a year. This especially applies for longer distances. Training or preparatory competitions are always possible, of course. Secondly, it is not necessary to be at the top at a young age. For longer distances, structured training can lead to great results even at a later stage. Thirdly: Fast legs on shorter distances lead to better performances on longer distances. This explains the importance of speed work and interval training.

But how did Frank shorter train? The great American runner once summarised his training philosophy, claiming that he had a simple view on long distance training: “two hard interval sessions a week and one long run […]. Every other run is aerobic and you do as much of that as you can handle. Do this for two or three years, and you’ll get good.” (Source: Sandrock Michael, Running with the Legends, East Peoria 1996, 156.)

This is what his training weeks looked like:

A.M. P.M.
Monday 11km (4:00-4:23min/km) 16km (4:00min/km)
Tuesday 11km (4:00-4:23min/km) 4x1200m (3:06-3:12min/km)
Wednesday 11km (4:00-4:23min/km) 11km (4:00-4:23min/km)
Thursday 11km (4:00-4:23min/km) 12x400m (1:00-1:01)
Friday 11km (4:00-4:23min/km) 11km (4:00-4:23min/km)
Saturday 11km (4:00-4:23min/km) competition 16km
Sunday 32km (16km 4:00min/km, 16km near 3:07/km)

(Source: Noakes Timothy, Lore of Running, Capetown 2003, 419.)