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First steps for beginner runners

It’s not as scary as you think!

You need to walk, and jog, before you can run. This is marathon runner and running coach Peter Neimanis’ philosophy and his walk-jog approach has seen beginners reset their goals from four lamp posts to 42.2km.

It’s 5.30pm on an overcast Thursday at Riverway. Peter Neimanis, his wife Kathleen and daughter Greta — all part of team Running Works — and 20 beginner runners are gathered under a shady rain tree. They are about to complete their second 3km practice run in preparation for their first 5km fun run; some having barely broken into a jog before they laced-up their running shoes and joined the nine-week beginners’ course.

“Our program is all about getting people off the couch and getting them out there. When you exercise you feel better about yourself. ” – Peter Neimanis

With newbies meeting Wednesdays (with three other days of ‘homework’) Peter prefers that budding runners can comfortably walk for 45-60 minutes before signing up for a Running Works course, just to make sure the body isn’t under too much stress.

From here, new runners are encouraged to get out four times a week — three times implementing the jog-walk system (run until you’re winded, then start again when you’ve recovered), plus a walk on the fourth day. This includes the one group session a week, which helps with motivation and any trouble-shooting with technique.

It’s through this approach that the Neimanises use to create “lifetime runners”.

“Consistency is the key — you need to stick to your program to improve,” Peter explains.

“Our program is all about getting people off the couch and getting them out there. When you exercise you feel better about yourself. When a lot of our beginners start off, they conquer their first 3km and think, “Was that all? What else can I do?”, and before long they are doing 10km, then Mount Stuart, then a half marathon… running builds confidence and self-esteem.”

So how do you lace-up and start your running journey? Here are three tips from Peter, but make sure you see your doctor first if you’ve been inactive for a while (the last thing you need is an injury to stop you before you’ve started!).


Peter’s running tips

  1. Don’t try to achieve too much too soon — your body needs to adapt to the stress of running and injuries can occur if you go like a bull at a gate. Be patient and take the time to recover between sessions.
  2. Set small and achievable goals using the jog-walk system — whether it’s getting to four lamp posts, running around the block without stopping or doing your first 5km fun run, when you achieve them you’ll be inspired to do more.
  3. Grab a partner or friend — this is for motivation and safety. But hubby or your best mate’s not a runner? Tell them to grab their push bike or scooter (then they can ride ahead and order the coffee!).

You can do it! Upcoming 5km(ish) runs

Sunday, May 11, 2014: McDonald’s Mother’s Day Fun Run – 5.2km
7:30am, Rossiter Park, Kimball St, Aitkenvale.
A great way to celebrate Mother’s Day with the family
View event details > 

Sunday, June 1, 2014: Run Townsville – 6km (and a 12km option)
7:00am, Jezzine Barracks, North Ward
Run for a great cause – 100% of every registration fee will go directly to the redevelopment of the Children’s Ward at Townsville Hospital.
View event details > 

Sunday, August 3, 2014: McDonald’s Townsville Running Festival’s Townsville Bulletin 5km fun run/walk
8.45am, Tobruk Pool, The Strand
Take part in a Townsville institution!
View event details >

Saturday every week: parkrun – 5km against the clock (AKA yourself!)
7am, North Shore: Stockland’s North Shore.
7am, Tony Ireland Stadium, Riverway.
This free event asks you to register beforehand so you can bring a unique barcode.
View event details >

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Carly Lubicz

Carly Lubicz

Carly Lubicz is combining two of her great loves — writing and getting active. Previously working as a journalist, sub-editor, and editor in newspapers and magazines; she is editor and co-founder of TheGo Townsville. She stays active with the staples of road cycling and yoga, but has recently discovered triathlon. And become addicted (apart from the swimming part). She also has a Cert III in Fitness and is passionate about improving mental health through physical activity.

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