How to Start Running in 30s? With 10 Simple Steps!
In January 2016, the 32 year-old me decided that she was going to run, literally. To start running in 30s! I don’t know what came over me when I made that choice. Maybe because it was a new year and in that spirit, I felt obliged to make a resolution that I knew that I wouldn’t be able to stick to.
It was an insane thing to do because at that time I firmly believed that I do not have a single athletic bone in my body. I committed to a 3K run with no clue as to how or where to start. I basically set myself up for failure.
Being a mother has many advantages, and one of them is the adulation you get from your kids. Little B’s pride knew no bounds when she knew her mother was participating in a “proper” race. Back from school and on the way home she would ask me almost every day, “Did you practice running?” And I realised, of everyone else in the world, she is the one person I cannot let down.
So I tried the best that I can to train. Within a few weeks, I started noticing improvements in my body. Those improvements motivated me further and that motivation lead me to train more which lead to more improvements. My running kept snowballing (though gradually!) until what I thought of as a one-off race became the one activity I can’t do without.
It’s Never Too Late!
In 2016, being 32 years old, I thought I would fail in a 3K race. In 2018, being 35 years old, I am training for a half marathon, being sure that I’ll finish it in a decent time.
When I am asked by fellow mums, if it is too late for them to start running in 30s, I answer them back saying “look at me, I did it in my 30s!”
Yeah I know, my answer reeks of narcissism, but I do not mind! I am extremely proud of my journey and I even like to show off. And because I know running made me a better version of what I was, I truly wish for you guys as well to try out this bliss.
Probably that’s why you are reading this blog in the first place. You are in your 30s, interested in trying running but are unsure like I was about what to do and how. Or you just want to see if running can actually help you achieve your health goals. So if you want to give running a go, here are the ten tips that helped me start running in 30s, hopefully following them will do the same for you.
Running Tips for Beginners #1
Find a Race and Sign Up For It
If you thought that the first step for getting started with running is to tie up your trainers and head outdoors, you are wrong!
The first step is to find a race to run and then commit yourself to run it. Having a particular race and hence a set date in mind is a great way to get all pumped up for running. It is like having something concrete to work towards rather than running without any aim.
You can even bribe yourself here, for example deciding that if you can make it through this race, you will treat yourself to a fancy running gear.
Do a little search over the internet and find out the forthcoming races in your area. Search for running events of distance ranging from 1 mile to a 3 km or even 5K. You will be training for the race so don’t be daunted with the distance, at least not yet ;P .
There are plenty of websites that Google can direct you if you search for “find races near me.”
Running Tips for Beginners #2
Choosing Between a 3K Race or 5K Race
I would personally recommend 3 km (3K) of distance for a beginner racer as the distance is challenging enough and yet not intimidating. Just in case, on the day of the actual race, if you are not able to run the entire distance, with a 3K race you could always walk and finish it off.
If you are not able to find an appropriate 3K race, you can look for a 5K race as well, just know that training for 5K will take longer than training for 3K.
For a beginner woman in her 30s, 3K training should take between 1 to 2 months and 5K training should take between 3 to 4 months. I know you would have work and family commitments that might disturb your running schedule often. I’m a freelancing mom, I get it! And hence the above training durations that I am estimating, are quite relaxed.
So opt for a 3K if it is happening in the next two months and opt for a 5K if it is happening in the next 4 months.
Running Tips for Beginners #3
Fun Run? That’s Even Better!
If you are still anxious about “the race,” try finding a fun race organised by a charity or a family run sort of a thing. These races are focused on raising awareness about a social cause rather than serious running. And hence, the mood at these races is relaxed and positive. You can even find women’s only run. Once you find the race you like, don’t dilly-dally, just sign up for it.
In the UK and even in many countries around the world, parkrun organises weekly free 5K runs. These runs are mostly organised in local parks giving you a casual relaxed environment for a race. Decathlon too organises various running events, inquire at your local Decathlon or check out their India’s or UK’s website for the same. Most prominent hospitals organize charity runs to raise funds.
Running Tips for Beginners #4
Pre-Run Warm Up and Post-Run Cool Down
As soon as you sign up for your very first race, your heart will be thrilled and the adrenaline rushing inside you will urge you to go out and run! So listen to it and head outdoors.
Always start off a training session with warm up and finish it off with a cool down. For women who start running in 30s, warm up and cool down isn’t optional, it is mandatory. In the past, many times, I have just stepped out of the house and started running without a warm up or skipped cool down to take a quick shower after a run. Such training has often left me with prolonged muscular tightness or soreness issues.
I now have learned it the hard way that no matter how short I am on time, I must warm up and must cool down.
Warm up can be light joint movements and light stretches to shake up your body gently so that it feels ready to go for a run. Cool Down means a few standing or sitting down or even lying down static stretches to improve flexibility and lower your risk of injury.
If you are interested in knowing some running women specific warm up and cool down routines, let me know in the comments below and I can prepare a blog/vlog for you.
Running Tips for Beginners #5
And The Secret is Walk and Run and Run and Walk!
The best way to start running is to start walking! My advice may sound frivolous but it actually is legit!
If you are a beginner runner in 30s, chances are your body will not be able to cope with running for long durations. Mine sure didn’t. In my early running days, I used to literally get out of breath within 10 seconds of running. Physically as well, you might find it hard to stay on your toes for even a couple of minutes to start with.
Hence, you start your training alternating between walking and running. And by running I mean comfortably jogging, and absolutely no sprinting.
Try walking for 2 minutes and then running for 30 seconds and then again walking for 2 minutes and running for 30 seconds. Keep repeating the pattern for the duration for your run.
In the beginning, you might struggle through your running bit. However, as you progress, you will feel comfortable with running. You can then stretch your running portion of the training and alternate between 2 minutes of walking and 1 minute of running. Based on your progress, keep increasing the running portion and decreasing the walking portion.
Running Tips for Beginners #6
Typical Weekly Running Training Plan
Your exact training schedule will depend upon your lifestyle, health and many other things. However, a simple and generic race training schedule can be something like this
- Four training days and three rest days in a week (you can alternate these)
- Twice a week run/walk for 20 minutes
- Twice a week cross train for 20 minutes (This means indulging in any sports or games or exercise other than running. You can play badminton with friends, go for a swim or do yoga or anything other sort of physical workout).
As you progress, increase your training duration per session to 30 minutes.
I focus on strength training with exercises like these on my cross training days.
Running Tips for Beginners #7
Rest and Recover
Rest days are extremely important and your body needs time to recover and get ready for your next training session.
Occasional aches and pains are normal part of a training schedule. If you experience these after a training schedule, you can make your body overcome these better by using RICE – Rest, Ice the affected area, Compression around the affected area and Elevation of the same.
Running Tips for Beginners #8
Eat Better for Running
To get better at running, you need to get better at training and at eating as well.
Eating better is easy, just recall the balanced diet unit that we studied in science classes at school. Try eating clean, green and fresh. Pay attention to your protein and water intake. Don’t train empty stomach and don’t stay hungry too long after training.
I am planning to do a series on Eating Right as a Runner. Subscribe to the blog or Like my Facebook page to read the series when it is published.
Running Tips for Beginners #9
Find a Running Buddy to Stay Motivated
There’s nothing that friends don’t make better. Talk a family member or a friend into it and start running together. A running buddy can help you get rid of boredom while running, can inspire you to do better and can be great to share your experiences with.
In case you can’t find an actual running buddy, don’t fret. Running podcasts and running songs playlist can also keep you good company while running.
Running Tips for Beginners #10
Get, Set, Go!
All your training hard work will finally pay off when you will run your first race. Cherish that race, click lots of pictures post-race to remind yourself of what all you can achieve once you set your mind to it!
Disclaimer – Just want to mention that these tips are from my running journey which I was able to progress upon because of the health and lifestyle that I follow. I am passionate about running, however, I am not a medical professional. I must suggest that you to seek medical advice before starting any running training program to have a complete idea of the advantages and disadvantages the training program poses for you.