I’ve received a lot of questions on how to become a runner, or how to become a better runner. 🏃♀️ It’s amusing to me because many times people associate fitness with running. If you are fit, then you must run. This is absolutely not true.
FIT TO RUN
You don’t ever have to run one step to be in great shape, you know. It is ideal to do some form of cardio for endurance and heart health, but it doesn’t have to come in the form of running. I personally love running, which is why I do it often. But I think there are many people who don’t enjoy it, or have physical limitations or injuries that would be exacerbated and should avoid running, but are still able to transform their physiques and maintain a fit body.
So my first question to you, if you don’t run but want to be “a runner,” is: Why? 🤔
Do you want the feeling of accomplishment that comes with crossing a finish line, or do you just want to incorporate it as part of your weekly exercise routine without ever running a 5k? Do you want to start running because of the calorie burn, or do you just want to be able to run longer, faster, and build up your exercise endurance? If you are already a runner and want to be a faster runner, is it because you want to have better finish times at races and maybe place in your age group? Or is it because you want to increase the intensity of your running workout so that you can improve your exercise endurance?
FIND YOUR HAPPY PLACE
Here are a 6 tips to help you improve your running, whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, or advanced.
1. Reason to Run Identify why you want to embark on your running journey, or why you want to become a stronger or faster runner. What is the end goal for you (improve health, exercise endurance, personal records, medals and trophies?).
2. Join a Running Club or Group This is so important, no matter if you are already a runner or a newbie. Maybe I’m spoiled because I have an incredible running community where I live. Running has become so popular that I’m sure there is a great running club or group near you. Having people that can help support you and suffer with you can make or break your desire to continue, or your ability to improve. When I am meeting friends or fellow running club members for a run, it doesn’t even matter if I feel like running or not. We just start running and the miles fade away. Typically there are several different levels of runners at group runs, so you can find people who are beginners, or who run at a pace you are comfortable with. Or if you are looking to advance, meet up with the runners who are a little faster than you so that you can work on improving your pace, if that is your goal. 👍
3. Don’t Stop Weightlifting! This is so important. Regardless of how much you run, even if you are training for a longer distance race, such as a half or full marathon, don’t stop weight-lifting! You may need to back off a little, but weight-lifting can help prevent running-related injuries, keep your metabolism revving and make you a stronger runner (legs, core, back, etc.) 🏋️♀️
4. Sign Up For Training Sign up for official race training. Locally, we have several fall and spring training groups for various distances and speeds that are led by certified coaches and usually involve a fee. Often the training culminates with a race, but this is typically optional. Usually the training groups are hard work, but are a lot of fun too, as you end up meeting people who have similar challenges as you. The support network and access to experienced runners is great, and often great friendships are formed.
5. Run/Walk If you feel intimidated by the thought of joining a running club or group and want to try it on your own first, set your interval timer (the one you use for Nicole’s cardio workouts and cardio acceleration workouts 😉) to either 2 or 3 minutes of work, then 1 minute of rest. Run for 2 or 3 minutes at a time if you can, then walk for a minute. Do that for 15 – 20 minutes at first, then try increasing your running time when you feel you are ready. Beyond that, you can also try decreasing your walking time. This will help increase your exercise endurance and running strength over the course of several months.
6. Don’t Put So Much Pressure On Yourself There is no need to feel pressure to run a certain distance, for a certain length of time, or at a certain pace. Even the really fast runners I know are so encouraging and supportive of anyone who is out there giving there all, no matter your experience level or running pace. The only pressure you have is the pressure you put on yourself, and there really is no need for expectations when it comes to running. Just get out there and enjoy it!
If you don’t like to run, then don’t. You don’t have to be a runner to get in shape. But if you think you might like it and want to give running a try, then definitely go for it by following these tips. And don’t quit just because you aren’t “fast.” Keep at it! Even if you don’t ever become a “fast” runner (fast by who’s standards?), that doesn’t really matter either. I know several runners who don’t run very fast, but they’ve run 10 marathons or more (while I’ve only run one full marathon in my life)! Just get out there, hit the pavement and find your happy pace! 😁
ABOUT NAOMI RABON
One of the trainers on Nicole’s elite NW Fitness Training Team, Naomi is a certified Personal Trainer and Fitness Specialist through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. She is a NPC Figure competitor who has been involved in the health and fitness industry for over 12 years.