Create Your Own Beginner Running Plan
So you want to start running? You’re going to need a beginner running plan! And don’t worry, you won’t have to become a running expert just to create this training plan. You’re a runner when you start thinking of yourself as a runner, no matter what fitness level you’re at. Say it with us: I am a runner! And voilà, that was the hardest part. Think of yourself as a runner, and you are a runner.
Next is the training plan for runners (aka you). The training plan we’re going to cover is for runners of all abilities because it will allow you to adjust based on your personal requirements. Whether you want to be a long-distance runner, sprinter, or obstacle-course runner, you can create a plan using the components we’re going to cover. Good training plans aren’t just a list of runs — they are 360-degree plans that incorporate four key components: gear, training, fuel, and goals.
The Basics of a Running Plan:
- Gear up
Having the right gear is essential, but you don’t have to go all out like you see some runners do. Just get the basic necessities to ensure that you’ll enjoy every run and not get hurt. The beginner list is short and simple: sweat-wicking shirt, shorts or pants that don’t rub, good socks, and good shoes. Having some kind of distance tracker is nice, but not essential. The runners that you see with a ton of equipment have gathered those pieces over the years, as they assessed their needs for them. Start out simple and smart.
Common Mistake #1: Not using the right kind of shoes. Just any old tennis shoe won’t be enough. Find a brand that caters to running, as they have conducted decades of research and development into creating shoes for runners. There are also many different types of shoes based on the specific anatomy of your feet and how you run (your gait). Most running stores offer a free shoe fitting to help you find the right fit.
- Train consistently
Most runners set up a weekly schedule and they stick to it. You want a consistent number of running days and rest days, and you should stick to the same schedule every week to keep things simple and attainable. Here’s an example of a typical training plan: Sunday, Tuesday, and Wednesday are short-run days. Thursday is a cross-training day. Saturday is a long-run day. Monday and Friday are rest days. Keep the short-run days short, but increase mileage by 10-20% every week on your long-run days.
Common Mistake #2: Running too fast, too far, too early. This is how new runners get injured in their beginner running plan. They try to do too much, too soon. They also ignore aches and pains that don’t go away, which develop into more long-term injuries. If this is a big concern, see if there are training teams in your area. These teams are typically backed by the organizers of populars running events, and they will have everything thought out for you. They’ll teach you when to run, how far to run, and how to increase mileage safely. Plus, you have a group of new-found friends to encourage you on your journey.
- Fuel your body
Fueling isn’t just eating a good meal before a run, it involves eating right before, during, and after each run. Runners treat their bodies like a beloved machine, and they focus on providing the right kind of food in the right amounts. You don’t need to craft a detailed fueling plan just yet, but you should consider basic principles for fueling. In general, you’ll want to consume carbs about an hour before a run, and follow-up each run with protein. Fueling can get much more complicated than that, but you don’t need to worry about that in the beginning. Personally, we’re fans of having a Chia Bar before a run and a plant-based protein shake afterwards.
Common Mistake #4: Not having a good diet all week long. Runners who eat good food before and after a run but spend the other times of the week eating poorly will not have good long-term running fitness. Make sure you’re eating superfoods all week long, while also cutting out things like junk food (barring a special treat every now and then). Eat well and you will feel the results.
- Find a goal run
Look for a short, easy run to tackle in the next 6 months or so, and sign up for it. This could be a 5k, 8k, or even 10k. Having an event in your future is a good way to give yourself accountability in your beginner running plan. It also helps you set your training plan by identifying a clear, concise goal. If you’re going to run a 5k, then you know you’re going to have to work up to at least 3.1 miles. For a 10k, that’s 6.2 miles. Set your plan accordingly, and even think about writing it out on a calendar. Marking off the days you complete will help you track your progress and mentally encourage yourself to meet your goal.
Common Mistake #3: Not having a defined, accountable goal. Set a date, and make yourself accountable for meeting it. (Trust us, it works!) Without a hard deadline in mind, it’s easy to skip a run in your training plan. Then another. And another. Until you’re suddenly skipping most of your runs and not making progress anymore.
If there’s only one thing you remember from this post, it should be: consistency is king. If you have 4 runs scheduled in a week, then make sure you run all 4 — no matter how tired/bored/uninterested you may feel that day. Unless you’re truly ill, go for that run. Afterwards, you’ll be happy that you did! Remember to fuel consistently, too. You’re sure to find the right fuel for you in our wide collection of superfood products. Fuel up and fly on your next run, Warriors!
Ready to go the distance? Check out these marathon tips for beginners!