It seems like after a certain age (26?), everyone embraces long-distance running. Goodbye, day drinking; hello, marathon training. Running has many benefits, from increased happiness to weight loss. It may even reduce your risk for certain kinds of cancer. But if the farthest you’ve ever run is to catch the subway, the idea of doing it for exercise can be daunting — even if you are totally in shape from other workouts. Just one jog can make you question why anyone would ever want to run 26.2 miles, especially for fun.
So we got Elizabeth Corkum, a top running coach with the Road Runner’s Club of America, to share her tips on pounding the pavement the right way — whether you’re just trying to survive one mile or you’re dreaming of future marathon medals.
1. Keep it short
Don’t get overambitious: Just because you can handle a killer SoulCycle class or sweaty hot yoga session doesn’t mean your first few runs should last the same amount of time. Instead, stick to 20 to 30 minutes (you’ll be surprised at how long it feels!). “If you need to combine walking and running, that’s totally fine and will help build cardiovascular strength,” says Corkum. “As your body adapts to the demands of running, you can increase your time. Building slowly minimizes injury and mental burnout.”
2. Focus on minutes, not miles
It’s tempting to measure your run by distance, but trying to add even a quarter mile each day can be tough when you’re just starting out. “For a new runner, focusing on minutes is best,” says Corkum. “As you become stronger, your pace will naturally increase.” And once your pace increases, you’ll start covering more ground in less time — track your time and distance during each run, and you’ll see how quickly you progress.