Running 365 miles or 588 kilometres in a calendar year is no joke, especially if you have never run in your life. But that’s exactly what Mark Zuckerberg is urging everyone to do. The Facebook founder announced at the beginning of the new year his resolution to run a mile a day in 2016, totalling 365 miles in the year. While there were some stumbles in his Facebook post about his ‘Year of Running’, he’s got his heart in the right place. That’s not to say that Zuckerberg’s approach is right. So what exactly should new runners and beginners do to get running the right way.
Forget about the distance
For one, many of those who Zuckerberg reached out to through his post would be new runners or beginners, with little experience of running. One of the objectives of FirstRun is to make runners out of those who have never run before, so we know a thing or two about coaching beginners on how to run. While it’s great to have an annual distance goal, that should not be the objective of running. The goal should be to run regularly without a distance or speed goal, but to get used to the activity and learning the technique.
It’s great to know exactly what you want to achieve through running i.e 365 miles a year, but what next? For many of our FirstRunners, the best part about running training is learning about running technique, increasing strength and speed gradually, and putting in those long runs. This gives beginners perspective about the ground still to cover on their running journey, instead of showing them a singular milestone at the end of the road. It’s important for beginners to know that running that mile is not the end.
Completing a mile should be the last thing on your mind when you start running. Instead set one minute as your first target. Your body will revolt before even that first minute ends. Run for a minute, and do a brisk walk for another minute or so, before running for a minute again. Run at a pace that’s not making you pant. There’s no shame in jogging if you can’t run with great pace initially.
Thrice a week
Yes, many people would tell you to run daily, but it’s simply not advisable for green runners. A good alternative is to set aside 3 regular running days in the beginning (runs broken with walks) and then allowing yourself one long run on the weekend after the first few weeks. It’s vital that your muscles and joints get time to recover from the run in the initial days. Otherwise you are likely to fall prey to many injuries, or would feel fatigued after just the first week. So take a rest day between your runs to focus on gym or bodyweight exercises.
Instead of going through your running journey alone, find a partner or a friend who can run with you. Not only will this motivate you to stick to your schedule, but even a little light-hearted camaraderie goes a long way towards keeping your spirits up. We all know how quickly time passes when you are having a great time, and so is the case with running with a friend. You hour-long run/walk will seem much shorter.
Join a club
Running in a club or a group gives you a sense of belonging and will teach you neat tricks that other runners adopt to finish the course. For days when you are lacking encouragement having a group of like-minded runners with you can be that added boost. Many Indian cities now boast running clubs and groups that meet and organise weekly runs. Running clubs also help beginners understand the nuances of running technique and makes their runs more efficient. And it also helps that you are likely to have the same runners alongside you during a race, if that’s your eventual goal.