Five Tips for Young Runners

Here are five tips for young runners looking for advice.

1. Be Consistent: Many runners say that getting started is often the toughest part of running. You don’t have to be great when you start, but in order to become great you have to start somewhere! If you work hard and stay consistent you will see improvement over time. Everyone has a different fitness level when they begin running, so do what you are capable of and track it. An easy way to do this is by keeping a monthly mileage log. Write down what you ran each day and as you become to feel more comfortable, gradually increase your weekly mileage. Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint (no pun intended) so go at your own pace and don’t try to do too much too quickly.

2. Set Goals- No Matter How Big or Small: The best marathon runners in the world often run over 100 miles in a week. Even they had to start somewhere. No matter what fitness level you are starting at, set some short-term goals to help keep your training on track. Some examples of short-term goals could be “Complete X miles this week” or “Do a core workout X times this week”. Also, set some larger long-term goals for you to keep working toward. What is something that you want to accomplish one day? Long-term goals could be “Run a mile under X Minutes”, or “Run a 5K race in 3 months”. Goal setting is valuable for kids to learn at a young age and achieving those goals is an extremely rewarding experience.

3. Build Healthy Habits: Beginning running can be used as an opportunity to learn other healthy habits. Some of these can be what nutritious snacks to have before and after running, how to effectively stretch and warm-up, and proper running form. At a young age, it might not be super clear how doing these seemingly little things can add up to make a big difference. Doing things like these will not only benefit you as a runner but will help you live a healthier lifestyle.

4. Mix it Up: Running in different types of ways will keep your training feeling fresh and is also a great way to become a well-rounded runner. Mixing in sprint workouts will help improve your speed. Running up hills is a great way to increase your heart rate and make your legs stronger. Try creating new running routes or visit a new running trail. Each run that you do presents different challenges and working through them will make you a stronger runner.

5. Have Fun: Training and exercising are much easier when you enjoy what you are doing and if it doesn’t feel like a chore. Don’t forget that any form of physical activity will benefit you as a runner. Sports like soccer and basketball are great forms of cardio workouts. Relay races, fitness games, and obstacle courses are fun ways to move with others and get your exercise in for the day. Running is a unique sport because you are always competing against yourself. What’s most important isn’t how you stack up against others, it’s that you are trying your best and enjoying what you do!