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A Beginner’s Guide to Running: How to NOT Run like An Idiot!

Do you know how to run?

It’s a simple question, and probably something you might not even think about. After all, what’s so tough about running, right?

You put one foot in front of the other, repeat the process as quickly as possible, and BAM you’re running!

However, did you realize that running improperly, especially for long distances, can do some serious damage to your body while not even giving you the benefits you’d expect from putting in all of that effort?

Not cool, I know.

Luckily, Nerd Fitness is here to help!

Today, you’re actually going to learn how to run the right way, keeping you healthy, happy, and injury-free.

Before we jump in, I want to mention our 1-on-1 Coaching Program, that many Rebels utilize to start a running practice or to prepare for an upcoming marathon.

Here’s how it works: we get to learn your goals, lifestyle, challenges, and situation: Kids? An old injury? A job that requires travel?

All the above?

We got you covered.

We’ll then pair you with a coach from Team Nerd Fitness that fits your personality and situation. They’ll work with you to build custom workouts and nutrition guidance to meet any goal you might have.

Unless that goal is ruthless world domination. Use your powers for good, okay?

Do you want to run?

First and foremost, when people tell me they’re going to start running, I always ask: “do you enjoy running?”

If the answer is “no,” then I yell at them (nicely), “THEN DON’T DO IT!”

If you are starting to run because you want to lose weight, but don’t actually enjoy running, I HAVE GREAT NEWS!

You don’t have to run; in fact, there are more efficient ways to burn the right kind of calories.

Your diet will be 80-90% of the weight loss battle anyways, so if you can find a way to start eating healthy and reduce your calorie intake, your exercise can come from activities you DO enjoy – hiking, strength training, martial arts, Ultimate Frisbee, whatever.

Now, if you answer with something like:

  • “Yes! I love running.”
  • “I like interval training and sprints.”
  • “I don’t love it, but I need to complete it for a fitness test.”
  • “I’m running a 5k for charity/work and want to do well.”
  • “Not yet, but I think I could…”

…then we can continue the conversation!

Let’s take a look at the first few important steps (get it!) when it comes to running.

What to do first

Before you even THINK about strapping on a new pair of Nike shoes and going for a run around your neighborhood, we need to get a few things straight:

Your body needs to have a base-level of fitness before running becomes a viable option.

Every time you run, every time you take a step, you put the pressure of your entire body weight on the muscles, tendons, and joints in your legs, knees, ankles, feet, and toes.

If you are overweight and have improper running technique, that means your joints and tendons are taking an absolute POUNDING for however many steps you take during your run: around 6,200 steps in a 5k, 12,200 steps in a 10k, or 50,000+ steps in a marathon.

You’d have to be crazy to want to do something that hurts your body 50,000 times in a row!

So, clean up that diet, strength train every other day with something like our Beginner Bodyweight Workout, and then do some form of low-impact activity on your off-days.

Simply put, if you’re not losing weight, it’s not because you’re not running enough. It’s because you’re eating too much, so start there.

And then let’s add in some activity that’s low-impact:

  • Walking – go for a nice long walk around your town, and keep your head up. Enjoy the scenery.
  • Hiking – my personal favorite: get out and see the world!
  • Biking – easy on your joints, gets you moving.
  • Swimming – very low impact as the water holds you up.
  • Elliptical – although I’m not a fan of spending all afternoon in a gym on a treadmill, this is the better option as it removes the opportunity for joint impact.

To Recap: strength training, reduced calorie consumption, and low impact activity – build up at your foundation to prep your body for running. The less weight your body has to carry around, the less work your legs and joints have to do, the less likely you’ll be to damage your joints and/or injure yourself.

Now that you have a solid foundation and you’re ready to start running, you can move on to the next step.

If you don’t know where to start on changing your diet, or have had trouble with it in the past, I got you.

We created the Nerd Fitness Diet cheat sheet to help you get going. It’s a level up system designed for you to adopt new healthy habits, that will stick, by slowly progressing you from a newbie to an expert.

If you’ve had trouble previously, perhaps it’s because you changed too much too quickly.

Want to check it out? You can grab it for free when you join the Rebellion in the box below!

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