This article is made for beginner runners. Maybe you want to start running or improve your workouts, but you have many doubts and concerns about the basics: What clothes should I wear? How should I breathe? Do I need to make a specific diet to be a runner?
Do not worry, in this article, I will dispel those doubts that concern you by answering some frequent questions that, before or after, every runner has ever raised.
You can also read my article: 10 Common Running Injuries: Prevention and Treatment
12 Frequently Asked Questions from Beginner Runners
- Is it necessary to warm up before a workout? And Stretch After Training?
- Can I practice Other Sports besides Running? What is Cross-Training?
- What Clothes or Footwear Should I Wear to Train?
- At what speed should I run? How much time should I train?
- Should I Go Running in Fasting? Can I Run After Eating?
- Do I have to follow a specific diet to be a runner?
- How to correctly breathe when running?
- Is it necessary to run every day of the week?
- What do I do if I have a cold or can’t run?
- Is it necessary to have a training plan?
- Where to keep your keys, so you don’t lose them?
- How can I motivate myself to train regularly?
1. Is it necessary to warm up before a workout? And Stretch After Training?
Yes. Both warm-up before running, and stretching afterwards, are part of training and it is not recommended that you skip them.
Warming up is always necessary as a transition period. You should warn and prepare your body progressively to increase the pulsations and warm up your muscles gradually. You will only need a few minutes of gentle jogging, dynamic stretching, and some exercises for joint mobility. In this article, I explain My Secret Pre-Race Warm-Up
Just like warming up, you prepare your body for overexertion, doing static stretches will help you recover gradually after training. Also, it will provide you with multiple benefits such as: improving your flexibility, avoiding cramps or favoring the recovery of your heart rate and blood circulation.
2. Can I practice Other Sports besides Running? What is Cross-Training?
Of course. Doing other sports and combining them with running can have many benefits for you. This type of practice is known as cross-training and allows you to alternate your runs with other sports such as cycling, swimming or strength exercises.
Cross-training will complement your training, as you will increase the strength and the flexibility of the muscles that you usually useless when running. This will also reduce the probability of suffering injuries since you will be correcting those possible muscular imbalances that can occur by exercising only the muscles you need to run.
Another significant advantage of combining sports is that you will have variety in your workouts and you will not get bored of always doing the same. Remember that if you do cross-training, rest days are still important. Recovering the necessary time is essential to progress correctly and avoid injuries caused by overtraining.
Check this 5 Tips to Run Better
3. What Clothes or Footwear Should I Wear to Train?
All you need to go outside and start running are a good pair of shoes. Forget about taking out your old shoes from the bottom of the closet and thinking that with that, you will have enough. Make sure you get comfortable shoes that fit your type of foot, your weight or the way you run.
Whether you run in a cold or hot time of the year, it is important that you go comfortable and with the right clothes. You do not need to wear competition clothes. Technical and polyester shirts are very light and much more breathable than cotton.
For women, it is also advisable to wear a sports bra that fits well and is neither too loose nor too tight.
4. At what speed should I run? How much time should I train?
Many beginner runners worry about knowing which pace is most suitable for training or the time that should be devoted to training. Both things vary depending on the person, and the time they have been running.
The best way to determine your ideal rhythm is to run a workout slow enough to be able to formulate complete sentences or sing a simple song and not run out of air. This trick will help you know if you are keeping a good pace to start training.
On the other hand, to talk about how much time you should devote to each training is to talk about what your aerobic capacity is. If you have just started running, you will gradually increase that capacity by improving your fitness. Don’t even think about going out for the first few runs and spend 50 minutes or more. Start little by little, running from 10 to 20 minutes the first month and increase progressively.
My best advice is to get a customized and adaptable training plan according to your current fitness.
5. Should I Go Running in Fasting? Can I Run After Eating?
It is not, at all, a good idea to run immediately after eating. This can lead to digestive issues. Similarly, going for a run with nothing in your stomach can also cause you to run out of energy right away.
So neither one nor the other. A full or empty stomach is not the best option. I recommend you take a snack about half an hour before you start training.
Try to choose foods high in carbohydrates, and low in fiber, protein, and fat. For example, you could have a toast with jam, whole wheat bread with turkey and cheese, an energy bar, a banana, an apple or a glass of milk with cereals.
6. Do I have to follow a specific diet to be a runner?
If you are not an elite athlete or you are not doing a weight loss diet, you do not need to follow a strict diet to run. As I have already told you, it is not good to go on an empty stomach or just eaten before training. However, if you want to optimize your progress as a runner, there are some foods that you should promote in your diet and others that will be better to reduce.
The number of calories you eat will depend on the duration and intensity of your workouts. What is clear is that the average calories you burn while running is usually about 100 per km, so you will need to eat enough not to feel dizzy or too weak when you finish training.
Usually, it is recommended to include 60-70% carbohydrates (cereals, rice, pasta, bread), 20-30% of healthy fat sources (avocado, oil, nuts) and 10-15% of proteins (fish, meat, legumes) in your diet. Try also to avoid processed products, but you should not refuse to eat the foods you like. Remember that moderation is the key, so indulging in small quantities is not a crime.
7. How to correctly breathe when running?
Breathing is one of the biggest concerns for runners, and there are many myths about its proper execution when training. What should be very clear is that you should breathe both through your nose and your mouth.
Keep in mind that your muscles need a considerable amount of oxygen to keep moving while you do your workout. Therefore, breathing only through the nose, you are not supplying enough oxygen.
Another essential aspect is that you breathe directly from the stomach and not from the chest. Deep abdominal breathing will always help you to inhale much more air and also prevent the annoying side pains. Remember to exhale through the mouth all the air you take and thus eliminate all the carbon dioxide you have inhaled.
8. Is it necessary to run every day of the week?
Most runners take at least one or two days off a week. According to experts, resting at least one day a week reduces the frequency of injuries. That day off gives your body the time to recover and regenerate.
For beginner runners, it is advisable to start running every two days so that you leave a rest day between each run. In this way, you give your body time to recover and gradually build a habit.
If you want to exercise on those days, you can cross-train with other sports such as swimming or cycling. A more advanced runner can rest only one day a week or even take an active rest day by performing a low-intensity physical activity.
9. What do I do if I have a cold or can’t run?
If for some reason you cannot run, and you lose a day of training, do not try to recover it by training more time in the next run. With this, you will only overload your body.
If you miss one or more runs, even a week for work, the flu or vacation, don’t worry. The important thing is that when you can, you train again as usual and do not quit.
If you have a cold and you don’t know whether to go for a run, there is a reliable method. If your symptoms are above the neck (runny nose, sneezing or sore throat) yes you could do your training. Of course, taking it easy and without doing it very intensely.
If your symptoms are below the neck (chest congestion, severe cough, vomiting, diarrhea, body aches), it is better to stay home and recover entirely before running again. Ask your doctor if you have questions and avoid running if you feel dizzy or have heavy sweating, fever or nausea.
10. Is it necessary to have a training plan?
The short answer: YES
If your goal is to go jogging to lose weight, relieve your stress or just stay fit, you don’t need to set a strict training plan. But you do need some kind of strategy. If you run too hard or too light, you won’t lose weight.
A structured training plan is a good idea if you are training with a specific goal in mind, such as a 5 or 10 km race or a half marathon. In these cases, a plan will help you train consistently and regularly and keep you safe as you progressively increase your fitness level. Be sure that is a plan designed for beginner runners.
11. Where to keep your keys, so you don’t lose them?
When you go running, the less you carry, the freest, more comfortable and safe you’ll feel. But, even if you don’t want to bring anything, at least you have to take your house key, and that’s where the dilemma comes from. Where do I put it?
Many technical clothes usually include small internal pockets to put your keys. Try to bring just a single key or if you need more than one, wrap them in foil, so they don’t move.
If you do not have pockets or do not trust them there are some tricks that can be useful: tie them to your shoe, put them in the sock, hook them to a bracelet or catcher on your wrist, hide them in the bracelet where you wear your music player or mobile, tie them tightly in the laces of your pants or even hook them with a safety pin on the inside of your clothes.
12. How can I motivate myself to train regularly?
The main thing is not to be discouraged by going for a run and seeing other runners pass you quickly or what they may think of you. Remember that they, at some point, were also newbies. They perfectly understand the effort you are making because they also lived it.
Look at the objectives and goals that you hit with your workouts and give yourself time to see the results. Don’t expect to catch up and feel comfortable too soon. Little by little, you will feel more secure and begin to notice the physical and mental benefits that running will bring you.
Do not go running only when you have free time. According to experts, it usually takes about 3 weeks to establish a habit. If you set a schedule and a few days of the week to go running, this will help you to follow a routine and not give up so easily.
Recording your progress in an app, listening to inspiring music, or running with a beautiful landscape in the background are some extras that can motivate you as a beginner runners and associate your workouts with your me-time.
Don’t Let Being a Beginner Runner and Doubts Stop You!
As you can see, the world of running is much more extensive than many people think. It goes much further than going outside and just running.
In today’s article, I wanted to dispel some of those doubts and fears that can slow you down when you put on that pair of shoes and dare to let out that runner inside you.
More and more questions will arise, and you will want to keep answering them, and that will only mean one thing: That you will be progressing! So, you know, go for it!