There’s no secret to get fit fast without putting in the work. You may ask yourself, “how can I start running?” It doesn’t matter if you already have a decent cardio base, or if you haven’t trained seriously in a long time. Running will always start out as a brutal exercise.
After a semester off from running I can feel myself getting back into the swing of things. A month ago I was struggling to run under 7-minute pace for a simple 40-minute run. With patience and a consistent effort, I’m able to do this with ease now. 65-75 minute runs now feel easy to me, and going under 7:00 pace is not difficult anymore. 50 days ago I was struggling to hit 20-30 miles a week; two days ago I logged my first 70 mile week for the first time in nearly half a year.I’m still building up to be at the place I want to be for this Fall. I know I’ll get there, it’s part of the process.
Below you’ll find what’s worked so far for me this summer. Keep in mind, that you won’t immediately be able to jump up to 70-mile weeks if you’re new to long distance running. This’ll be my 8th year running and 4th in college. For a beginner searching for tips on how to start running, I would recommend building up to around 20 or 30 miles a week. With time, the fitness and strength will come.
A horrible diet leads to low energy. Low energy means you won’t want to run. Not running and then jumping right into a race or a sharp jump in mileage=injury.
I have a friend who can easily rip a sub 15:00 minute 5k. When I first met him he was injury prone and frustrated with his performance. I watched him turn into one of the top runners in the New York City area. Aside from lifting weights, he followed these tips that I incorporate into my training today.
- Clean diet. Eat plenty of greens and eliminate junk food. My friend actually turned into a vegetarian, and his fitness skyrocketed. Personally, I need to eat meat. For the past few months, my diet has revolved around: beef, rice, eggs, and plenty of fruits and spinach.
- Don’t restrict yourself too much on only eating salads all of the time if you choose to not become a vegetarian. You’ll binge on junk food.
- Juicing! This is an excellent way to get all of those nutrients from vegetables. Carrot juice is great for your heart health, boosts immunity, and is loaded with vitamins and antioxidants.
- Cut off all of the soda and drink mainly water.
- For absolute beginners, focus on running 20 minutes nonstop every other day of the week.
- The main idea for those wondering “how to start running,” or to “get fit fast” is to focus on consistency.
- Build up to 30 minutes running for 5 days a week.
- Take an off day if you have a sharp pain near your foot or ankle. Remember, you’re still building up. There’s no use in asking questions about “how to start running” if you’re injuring yourself every couple of days.
- Don’t worry too much about how fast you go when you’re first starting out. Keep it simple.
- The Long Run: Always incorporate one day of the week to run the most out of any other day. This’ll help improve your fitness levels and sustain your training for the future.
- Keep track of your runs and workouts. It’s important to record your weekly mileage so you know when to take the next step and up your mileage or not. Sign up for a free Running2Win account here.
- 100m strides. At the end of some runs, you should add 100-meter strides where you start out slow and build up to a fast sprint. This is how you create turnover (builds up speed) and stretch out the legs after a run.
- For days when you need to nurse an injury, you can still incorporate cross training to maintain fitness.
- You can swim or bike to improve fitness levels or as a supplement to your aerobic capacity.
- Cross Training is also a fantastic way to recover after a hard workout or tough week of working out.
- Stretching is vital after every run. If you don’t stretch after a workout, you’ll definitely feel it the following morning. Personally, this is something I always have to remind myself to do. It’s easy to just relax and do nothing when you’re finished with a run because you’re already tired.
- Foam Rolling helps to reduce tightness and soreness. You can use it to massage out the knots and aches in your body. Read more about optimal recovery here.
Sample Beginner Plan
(assuming you have built up your cardio)
After a couple of weeks of building up endurance, here’s a basic framework of what to do for training.
Monday- 45 minutes easy pace (7:00-7:30 per mile) about 6 miles +6 x100m strides
Tuesday- 45 minutes easy pace (7:00-7:30 per mile) about 6 miles
Wednesday- 50 minutes easy pace (7:00-7:30 per mile) about 7 miles
Thursday- Off day/Cross train if you would like
Friday- 45 minutes easy pace (7:00-7:30 per mile) about 6 miles +6 x100m strides
Saturday- Off day/35 minutes easy pace (7:00-7:30 per mile) about 5 miles if you feel strong
Sunday- 60 minutes long run (7:00-7:30 per mile) about 8 miles
Weekly Mileage: 40