It’s Not Too Late To Become A Runner

Women running in the snow

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Alyssa Bialowas

woman runningRunning has many benefits for your health, from helping you lose weight, to relieving stress and boosting your mood, and preventing diseases like cancer and heart disease. There are different types of running, and depending on your goals, you can train yourself to become whatever type of runner you aspire to be. Do you want to run a marathon? Are you determined to run sprints? Or perhaps you simply want to become a strong casual runner? 

You can get started running at any age and transition the type of runner you are whenever you want. Whether you want to become a sprinter, endurance runner, or casual runner, here are the steps you need to take.

Steps to Become a Sprinter

Sprinting is a faster form of running performed in short spurts, where the runner maintains the same speed throughout the run. If you’re an endurance runner or casual runner who wants to become a sprinter, here are three steps to implement now:

1. Focus on Your Posture and Core

Proper posture is key for all runners, especially for sprinters. Keep your spine straight, your head upright, and your shoulders relaxed. Make sure to engage your core, as the more stable your core is, the more power can be adequately transferred through your body, and in turn, the faster you can run. Always work your core in your workouts.

2. Strike Your Foot and Shorten Your Stride

If you want to pick up speed, use aggressive foot strikes when you run your sprints, landing squarely on the ball of your foot. You want to keep your contact with the ground as short as possible. It’s also beneficial to shorten your strides so you run faster and more efficiently.

3. Drive Your Arms

Your arms are going to help you build momentum as you sprint. Bend your elbows at 90 degrees and drive them backyards for explosive speed. 

Related Article: Push Or Pull? Sprinting Mechanics and You

Steps to Become an Endurance Runner

Endurance running is running over long distances of at least 5 miles. To be an endurance runner, you need to have good cardio, stamina, and mental strength to keep you going. To build endurance, execute the following steps:

1. Slowly Increase Your Mileage

Don’t try to run 6 or 7 miles right away if you’re used to running 3. Slowly increase the length of your run as your body gets used to the new pace and breath, and your muscles become less fatigued.

2. Work in Intervals

Interval sprinting is a great way to build leg strength and lung endurance, which are essential for endurance running. If you don’t usually do sprints, start with a 10 second sprint every few minutes, and work your way up to 30 seconds.

3. Run Hills

Running up hills can be tough, but it’s another way to build muscle strength and lung capacity. The best way to do hills is outdoors in nature, but you can also use the incline on the treadmill as a foundation if you’re not ready for the outdoor hills.

Related Article: HIIT Hill Workouts For Runners

Steps to Become a Casual Runner

If you’re just getting into running and are dedicated to become a casual runner, here’s how to start off strong:

1. Find Your Pace and Breath

Most new runners start off running too fast and aren’t able to maintain their pace. If you’re gasping for air, slow down. If you feel like you could have a full-on conversation with someone, try going faster. Your pace will depend on factors like genetics, how fit you are, and the distance you’re going, so find what works for you.

2. Vary Your Runs

Running the same route or on the treadmill all the time can get boring quick. Once you can run comfortably for 20 to 30 minutes, it’s time to change up the scenery. Run outside if you always run on the treadmill, change up your route, and add in intervals if you want. This will keep your workouts exciting and ensure you don’t plateau.

3. Don’t Skip Recovery Work

Proper recovery is just as important as your running technique. Make sure to walk for a few minutes once you’re done your run, especially if you’re sore. Keep your body moving, and make sure to stretch after you run, no matter how long or short the run is. Start this from the beginning so it becomes a habit.   

Related Article: Become A Runner At Any Age 

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