Spring running : How to get started

Thursday April 1, 2021
Woman running outside

The snow has melted, the sun is shining, and chances are, all that mud and those puddles will soon be replaced by green grass and clear pavement. Ottawa is home to some beautiful running trails and if you are looking to get outside and move a little this spring and summer, running really is a great way to do it.

Talk of marathons, Ironmans, strava segments and PRs may all sound a little daunting to the non-runner but running really doesn’t have to be scary! Here are some tips to make running feel fun and easy:

  1. Start slow! Leave your watch at home and go at a pace that allows you to take in the sights around you. Tip: If you find talking hard on your easy run, you may be going a little too hard.
  2. Try the walk-run method. No one can or should run a marathon the first time they go for a run. A great way to build your run and to feel good while you do it, is to walk-run. Consider jogging for 30s and walking for 1 minute, repeat this as many times as It feels right. As you get comfortable, increase to 1 minute jog, 1 minute walk. It may take a few weeks before you feel ready for a continuous run…that’s normal!
  3. Don’t compare yourself to others. YOU DO YOU. Always! Running is a personal journey.
  4. Not every day is run day. Unless you have been running for years, you need to be progressive. Start with once a week and increase when it feels right.
  5. Get the right shoes. There is no one size fits all answer to “what running shoe should I wear” and if someone tells you there is, it’s a lie. Stop by your local running store and as an employee to help you out. They will be able to analyze your gait and help you find a shoe that keeps you injury free.
  6. If it hurts, stop. While running can feel hard, it shouldn’t hurt. If you feel pain while running, consult a health professional.
  7. Find what you like. Moring runs? Lunch break runs? Music? Podcast? Treadmill? Test it out! Running should be fun. If that means watching an episode of Schitt’s Creek while you jog on the treadmill, then do that!
  8. Ask for help. It might not be rocket science, but there is a science to running. If you’re having trouble getting started, want to improve or want a new challenge, consider joining a run group or working with a personal trainer. We offer a class called stride for success that is great for beginner runners. Our next session will begin in May 2021.
  9. Explore. Running is a great excuse to explore your city. The rideau canal is a popular running sport for a reason. Here are some other great suggestions.  

Want to learn more about running? Check out what runner and PhD student Jenn has to say about it.