The first run can be intimidating. There are a lot of unknowns that can cause anxiety the first run is usually the hardest to finish. But it is always best to look at the glass half full- you have armed yourself with all of the things needed to complete your run successfully. You have new shoes, new goals, and fresh ambition. All that is left is creating a game plan and stepping out the front door.
Creating a game plan is the fun part. There are three questions that you get to answer to plan the perfect run: Where, When, and How.
The first part is picking where to run. First, choose indoors or outdoors? If you choose indoors, will you be running at the gym on a treadmill, or would you rather show your game face at an indoor track? If you choose outdoors, you have more variety to choose from- your neighborhood, a local park, a nearby trail, or an outdoor track. A popular way to start is to choose a short, 1-2 mile loop in your neighborhood. That way you are in familiar territory, you can make it home easily for water or if the kids call because the toilet is overflowing, and if you are feeling good, you can do it twice. Check out local trail maps or try mapmyrun.com to see where others in your part of town are running.
Once you have pinned down the location of your run, next comes choosing a time to run. In talking to runners, this seems to be the most important part. It is important to schedule it in- I’m talking day-planner with ink scheduling. If it is not scheduled, it is easy to put it off until tomorrow, and then the next day, and the next…you get the point. So choose a day of the week and a time of the day that you can reserve for you. Many people get up at the crack of dawn to get in their workout. Others prefer after work because it provides a nice wind-down for the day. And if you are one of the lucky few that has a shower at work, a lunch time workout can be the perfect midday break. No matter what you choose, it is important to write it down, schedule to meet a friend, cancel all meetings or visits, and/or anything else that might get in the way of you taking care of you!
Finally, figure out how. Are you in good enough shape from other sports to go out and run for 30 min? Is this your first run so you will need to take walk breaks? Picking out how to complete your first run is the fun part. It is like being the head coach and picking plays for the Saturday night game. If this is your first run, I recommend the 30/30 training program. This program gives a great outline for the warm-up, workout, and cool-down segments of the run. Additionally, this plan allows for incremental increases in intensity and duration. Any way that you do it, make sure it is fun as well as achievable.
The last step is walking out the front door. So…head out there and go for it!