One of the most important things a beginner runner needs to remember is to begin slowly. Take it from Kimberly R. Shah, a triathlon and marathon coach who works with athletes from beginner to advanced. But Kimberly doesn’t just coach the athletes. She’s one herself. Kimberly has traveled the globe competing in triathlons and road races of all distances from 5K to Ironman, placing and winning in numerous races.
She has developed some guidelines to help beginner runners get ready for that first race. Once you have that foundation, you’ll be on your way to build on it and achiever higher athletic goals.
1. Start small. Going from couch potato to race runner can be a frustrating journey if you set your goals too large. Plan on entering a race a few months away so you can increase your training gradually. For example, if you are new to exercise, try walking a mile at brisk pace or try intervals: two minutes running to one minute walking, to get your body and heart adjusted to your new challenge.
2. Eat right. This means both before and after exercise to make sure your body gets enough good quality food (that’s right, no McDonald’s) to power you through your new training routine. In addition, supplementing your diet is crucial to obtaining optimal health and athletic performance.
Supplementation is essential for good nutrition, especially for competitive athletes who can benefit from quicker recovery, better and faster muscle development and energy for sustained high performance. Recently Kimberly has been recommending a new product line to her clients, Niyogin nutrition supplements. She is a firm believer that positive results beget more positive results. Her clients using the Niyogin products are seeing quick results so they are more likely to stick with the program. Also, Kimberly has a finicky palate and a sensitive digestive system. Other supplements tasted bad and upset my stomach, but the first time she tried the Niyogin protein powder, it was amazing.
3. Learn to rest. Training programs should include lighter days and heavier days, but always take a day off in between to let your body and muscles recover. Ideally, running three days a week with a days “rest” in between is perfect. On these rest days, stay active but try a different form of exercise to get your body moving in a new way.
4. Mix it up. A big point Kimberly tries to make with her clients is that they need to cross train to be successful. Pick a day to focus on strength training and another to do cardio (swim/bike), then add 3- 4 days of running and a rest day.
5. Prepare. Make sure you have your race day plan in mind, from food to shoes to who is going to carry your wallet. The more prepared you are the less stressed you will feel and the better you will race!