Beginners guide to running …

All of us want to look good. All of us want to lead a healthy life, but most of us do not know what does that mean. Most of the people believe that they are leading a healthy life. While they live in this illusion, their body takes toll and they are sooner or later surrounded by one or the other chronic diseases. Be it heart related issues, be it obesity, or for that matter the most common disease of India which is diabetes.

Anyways, I do not intend to scare with my above paragraph, but the truth will remain a truth even if it is not spoken and kept aside. I prefer to speak my mind and the truth. At least, I believe that is the the only way to make people believe in you. So here are common myths on fitness:

  • First thing first – Don’t blame your genes for you being fat or you being unfit, Your body is what you eat.
  • While you live in illusion of eating clean and being fit. Your body grows old with lots of unknown illness
  • The common myth in an Indian society- If a person is working out, running etc. He wants to look good or impress some opposite sex.
  • Fitness has nothing to do with looking good. It is one of the by-products.
  • Fitness is not for living long. It is for living healthy.

The simplest step that one can take towards fitness is running. Now, people who have read my earlier posts, who know me, would complain – Since, I love running, that does not mean that everyone has to love the same. In fact people actually make faces when I suggest them to run. They see no use in running. So let me list few benefits of running to you so that I can make my case more strong in support of running.

  • It increases your body metabolism
  • It helps in improving stamina
  • It increases body blood circulation
  • It increases your body’s immune system
  • It helps in better concentration
  • It strengthens muscles
  • It helps to improve cardiovascular fitness
  • It helps to build strong bones, as it is a weight bearing exercise
  • It burns fat faster than any other way
  • Last but not the least it helps you manage your weight

On the go..

There are many more which I have not listed above, but I am sure a doctor or a certified fitness expert could tell you 100 more reason to start running.

So by now those who are motivated enough to start running, let me write the Do’s and Don’ts for a beginner.

Shoe:

So when it comes to running, the first thing that comes in my mind is shoe 🙂 I am fond of running shoes and trust me I have 12 pairs of running shoes. Not all of them are in use as I keep neglecting old ones.Anyways, that is me and my over spending on shoes. You don’t have to buy 12 pairs before you start your run. Just a pair is enough for you. Before you arrive at shoe store, make up your mind on money you are going to spend on your first running shoe.

The question comes – I am a beginner, do I really need to buy an expensive shoe? I don’t even know if I am going to continue after 1-2 days. It is normal to have doubts in your mind. But don’t worry, since you have reached at shoe store, I will help you fix your budget on a nice running shoe. A decent running shoe starts at INR 2500. Of course, those wont come with fancy colors or with high-tech cushioning. My first running shoe were about INR 3500 from Adidas. Those were nice sneakers with decent cushion. However they were neutral shoes (for every feet type). As you grow more as a runner, you realize that there are mainly three types of feet(Pronation):

  1. Neutral Pronator
  2. Over Pronator
  3. Under Pronator (Supinator)

Since, I hate re-inventing the wheel, therefore I will share the link which will help you finding your feet type and the kind of shoe you need to buy. Now it is up to to you, how much money you want to invest in your shoe. However, make sure you buy the right shoe, else you might not like the idea of running after your first run.

A simple test to determine your foot type. (Neutral, Pronator, Supinator)

t-shirts & shorts:

Any t-shirt and shorts would do, however, make sure they are not too thick, because body will release sweat and you will eventually feel uneasy after 1-2 kilometers. Any thick t-shirt or short will leave rashes on your body (Underarms and groin, and trust me it pains a lot later, even applying deodorant will be a torture for your body).

So now you have everything that you need to start a run. I prefer few more accessories, like my GPS enabled apple watch and Nike -Run Club app installed on it, so that I can track my run and other stats. Anyways, those are optional.

Before you start your run, I would suggest you to drink a cup or half black coffee. This will not be a good experience for those who are fond of coffee with milk and sugar. It will taste horrible to them. But trust me gradually the taste of black coffee will grow on you and you will start hating the milk and sugar coffee. Black coffee will act as stimulant to your body and will help you in burning more fat. Some of the online articles talk about eating fat burner pills. When you buy any natural fat burner pill which cost somewhere about INR 3000 to INR 4200 a box of 60 capsules. You will realize that you actually bought capsules of coffee and green tea extract. So better use black coffee in its raw form. Green tea also helps in increasing metabolism and acts as anti-oxidant. So my money is on black Coffee as a pre-run drink. You may use green tea 2-3 times in a day instead of regular tea with milk and sugar. Sometimes, I use green tea with honey a natural sweetener. It is optional.

If you never ran earlier in your life, so I would suggest you to start your first run on a treadmill for 1-2 kms for at least a week or two. Then graduate it to road running. Anyways, if that is not an option, then start your run on the road and prefer early morning. Because traffic and pollution is less on the road. I run on my apartment’s society road which is always neat and clean and plenty of trees around. I am sure not everyone would get such place to live. So better run in a park or a garden or public lawns where running tracks are available.

During weekdays I run in the morning where I run 6 kms/day for five days. Either on Saturday or Sunday I run 10-15 kms depending upon the mood. Overall my target is to touch 40 Kms/week . Similarly, you can also set your weekly target. May be for beginners it could be 12-15 kms a week. Follow this for a 2-3 weeks and then increase it to 20 kms.

Now comes the important part of the running, the result. It is important to track your weight. I personally make sure to check my weight every fortnight. I also use InBody measurement equipment for all my body stats and make sure what, my body composition is. In order to know how to calculate the body stats without any expensive device. Please refer my earlier post on fitness.

While it is important to track your result, it is equally important to track your diet. Unless you do not eat right, it will be of less use to run. Make sure that you switch to a healthy diet. Increase your protein intake and reduce your fat and carbs. Off course, when I say reduce – I mean reduce the intake an switch to cleaner options.

Drinking water is a key throughout the day. While you run, you sweat a lot and the water and salt level goes down in your body. While you loose water, your body muscles tends to cramp. So it is important for a runner to consume lots of water throughout the day. Water consumption increases the metabolism, improves blood circulation, lowers the body salt level, thus reduces the blood pressure.

So this was a quick beginner guide for a running enthusiast. I would try to add more thoughts in this post, but for the time being I think this is more than enough for anyone who wants to try running.

I would really appreciate if the reader sends their experiences! I will post their experiences on my website with due credit.

So happy running !

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Abhishek Sinha

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