When I was a new runner, back in high school at Cherokee High School, I was very fortunate to have older, more experienced runners to guide me through my early first experiences of high-level running. Unfortunately, not everyone will have built-in training partners readily available to explain the ins and outs of distance running.
Whether you’re 14 or 54, new runners do not know everything – and that’s simply okay! Using these 6 easy-to-understand guidelines, you will be able to take up running, find success, and enjoy it for years to come.
To be successful over the long haul, these 6 tips to be successful can go a very long way to ensure miles and miles of happiness.
As a new runner, you’ll eventually find there are some situations you just haven’t experienced before. It might be something like plantar fasciitis or how to approach a tempo run. Either way, being optimistic is a beneficial strategy to use. According to entrepreneur.com’s Zach Cutler, “optimism allows us to learn from failures, pick up the pieces and move on …”. Yes, please! Being an optimist gives us the chance to have some setbacks and still kick some ass.
Be a Realist
Believe it or not, as a new runner, you’ll see some things you’ve never seen before: chafing, blisters on top of blisters, upset stomachs and so, so, so much more. In an article written for psyche, they said, “developing the proper tools and using the proper resources for developing healthy coping strategies”. It’s ok to not have all the answers upfront. Build skills that help you overcome those obstacles.
You probably aren’t going to go from your couch to ultramarathoner in a short period of time. To start, you’ll probably want to master a shorter distance – 5k, 10k or 10 miler. Those are attainable, achievable, and you DO have to do some work in order to see success.
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Make Gradual Changes
When you’re new at something, you really shouldn’t make a whole lot of changes all at once. Start with changing your diet or how often you work out, then, over time and they become second nature, adjust your sleep patterns and the length of your workouts. Small changes are much easier to adopt and eventually maintain for a long-term approach.
Accept Delayed Gratification
We have to accept that some things that we do will not immediately pay off. You can make a drastic change in your workouts but may not see any sort of result for weeks or months. Stick with it! Be patient and know that even if the result isn’t exactly what you were expecting, you’ve still gained valuable experience and knowledge that can assist you later on.
Learn From Others
Part of being new is the understanding that you don’t know everything. When I first got into coaching – way back in 2008 – I didn’t know all the ins and outs of setting up a daily training program for a team, adjusting workouts based on intuition, or knowing when to stop a run/workout short. But now that I’ve been coaching for 11 years, I have a better grasp on what to look for and because I’ve been willing and open to learning from some of the best in the sport, I’m able to have a better command over my craft.
Whether you are trying to get into distance running or you want to pick up a new instrument, these 6 tips are crucial to stay patient, invested and involved, and keep it up for months and years to come. Based on the research by Grit author Angela Duckworth, she suggests finding something you have interests about, spend ample time working on the task, figure out what the “big picture” is, and finally, get help when the going gets tough. Here is her TED talk which has been watched more than 8 million times.