Running Tips For Beginners From A Fitness Expert

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This Running Tips For Beginners article was first written by me and published on the Nature’s Truth UK site, which has since been removed. Since the content was removed, I’ve edited, updated and republished it here on my own site – keep it simpElle. 

I’m gonna start by saying – I love running – despite having the most complicated, on and off relationship of my life. I’m come to accept that I am a perpetual runner re-starter; which constantly reminds me how new runners feel when they take up the sport! 

I think one of the biggest reason I always go back to running is for the health benefits – both for my mental health and my physical health. It’s a great way to improve fitness, as well as helping to strengthen your bones and keeping your joints supple.

Plus, once you getting into your running routine, it begins to feel like a form of self-care, too. And you don’t need to sign up for a 12-month gym membership to get started.

Running Tips for Beginners

If you’ve always wanted to give running a go, I’d really encourage you to take the plunge – you won’t regret it. So for all the beginner runners, I’m sharing the best running tips I’ve picked up along my fitness and running journey with you.

Running Tips for Beginners - How To Start Running

The Second Run Is The Hardest

I want you to know this before you even get started. The second run, not the first, can be the hardest. that first run, you’re filled with enthusiasm and excitement. Come that next run, you might be feeling achy and even lacking some confidence based on how run one went. 

I feel like I experience this a-lot when using a walk / run method. I work hard in that first interval, think it’s gonna be a breeze then reality hits in interval two. A good rule of thumb here would be to just slow everything down and go easy on yourself. You’re just getting started after-all! 

I’m also frequently asked, “How far should you run for the first time?”. The golden rule is to not do too much too soon, as you need to gauge how your body feels and determine your natural pace before committing to any strict numbers.

Once you’ve reached that point, try to increase your distance by no more than 10% each week. So, if you walk three miles the first week, the most you should do the next week is three miles plus 10%.

Buy Shoes Made For Running 

I can’t stress how important it is to get yourself a pair of running-specific shoes that can support your feet. They don’t have to be expensive, but they do need to be designed specifically for runners, so they give you and your body the support it needs. 

“You can start to run with nothing more than a pair of trainers, and, at least initially, I wouldn’t be concerned about their price tag or quality. This refinement can come as mileage and continued enthusiasm kick in!”

Jennifer allen

Look for a design with a curved sole (as opposed to flat-soled trainers, which can be better for weight training or HIIT exercises) that’s relatively lightweight.

Do some research before you head to the shops, consider getting a gait analysis and check out brands that make trainers for running and athletics to help find the right running shoes for you. 

I’ve already curated a list of the best running shoes for women (from Nike) here. 

Kit Yourself Out In Running Appropriate Activewear

If you’re getting the right shoes, you might as well get the right kit too! When you’re running, it’s a good idea to wear fabrics that repel moisture and ‘wick’ sweat away from your skin, so that you stay cool and dry. If it gets cold, you can add extra layers, then take them off towards the end of your workout if you get too hot.

Your running kit doesn’t have to be expensive to do what you need it to either. There are reasonable brands available or you can go the sustainable route and try sites like Vinted, Depop or Ebay. Also try out different styles such as shorts, tank tops, or tights so you can find out what works best for you!

Top tip: Ensure you’re prepared for outdoor runs with my guide to layering for running in cold weather

Follow A Beginner-Friendly Plan

Like any skill, running takes time to perfect, and following a beginner-friendly plan to help you get started is an easy way to build your confidence and fitness levels. Apps such as NHS Couch to 5K can help you establish a routine, improve your running ability and prevent injury.

Couch to 5k gives you a running plan to follow, working with intervals and walk breaks for recovery. Week one starts with with a brisk five-minute walk, then alternate one minute of running and one-and-a-half minutes of walking, for a total of 20 minutes.

The app then builds you up to continuous running, with a goal of 5k in 30minutes – or just 30minutes.- as 5km isn’t always achievable in that time. I personally think that once you become a more experienced and better runner, aiming for 5k in 30mins as one of your fitness goals is great target. 

If you don’t want to use a running app or follow a specific training program, you can keep it simple and use your own intervals. One minute running / jogging followed by one minute of walking would be a good start. You can use a stopwatch or timer to keep an eye on the intervals if you don’t own a GPS watch. 

Running Tips for Beginners- Give Yourself Time To Rest & Recover

Being new to physical activity, or running specifically, I’d say it’s also super important to warm up properly and reduce your risk of injury. Dynamic stretches before each run, along with some mobility work is crucial. Static stretches can be saved for post run. 

“Be sure to warm up, take rest days, stretch and mix in some strength training. This rounded approach will improve your running and help to keep you injury free. A regular massage is a great way to lessen muscle tension and improve range of motion.”

Jennifer allen

Another great reason to follow a beginner friendly training plan is to ensure you schedule in rest days. When you first start, it can be easy to feel like you can or want to run everyday but it certainly doesn’t mean you should.

Giving your body time to recover means you’ll see the benefits and gains from each session and again, it’s a factor in injury prevention. 

Top tip: Want to try a five-minute mobility workout to get started? Try this no-equipment routine I created here.

Track Your Running Data

Fitness watches are great tools you can use to track your distance and pace when you’re starting out. I think it’s really motivating to see those numbers improve as you develop your running skills – that sense of achievement you’ll feel when you reach your goals will only push you to do more.

“Don’t worry about the time it takes you to run any distance but keep steadily increasing the distance, the rest will follow.”

“These days things like parkrun offer a regular, free, timed run for you to measure your improvement should you wish to and joining a running club might be a great way for you to improve.”

Jennifer Allen

If you’re not into data though, you could do something as simple as keep a running log and track consistency or your weekly mileage / distance covered. 

Set A Goal

Once you’ve started to establish a running routine, the best way to stay on track is having a goal to reach. Whether your goal is to finish a 5K, try some new routes, enter your first race or running for weight loss,  setting one will motivate you in the process of starting out with running.

Get Involved In A Running Community

One easy way to immerse yourself in the running world is to get involved in a running community. You’ll be able to connect with seasoned runners or meet people at your level, who you can chat to about your progress and get useful tips. 

There is also the option to get really sociable and join a running club of like-minded people – if that’s your vibe. If you like this social style of running, try to find a running buddy – someone to run alongside, who will keep you accountable and will be calling you to get out of bed if you don’t make it to the track on time.

Joining a running group or running club is also a great way to get your first experience of working with a running coach. This is someone who can help you work on your running form, plan specific training runs (especially if you’ve already signed up for a 10k or half marathon) and help with your training schedule so you reduce your injury risk. 

Fuel Your Run Through Food

What you eat can impact your energy levels and help you get the energy you need for running. A good combination of protein, carbs and healthy fats should give you enough energy to get through your workout.

I suggest you eat two hours before your run to give your body enough time to digest the food. And, after your workout, opt for a light snack such as a protein shake or Greek yoghurt with fruit.

But remember that every runner is different and what works for one might not suit another. So, make sure you listen to your body and take the time to learn what meals and snacks fuel yours the best.

This is probably a good time to mention keeping hydrated too. Typically, I’ve found i can manage the 30minute sessions without taking water with me, but if you do think you’ll need it, carry it.

I’m not a fan of any type of sports drink to be honest though, as often they contain a lot of sugar. If you’re running longer distances, that sugar can be used as fuel, but for shorter runs, plain water or some added electrolytes will be sufficient. 

Make Safety A Priority

It’s always important to be aware of your safety when running. You can help ensure this by planning your route and selecting busy and well-known areas, such as looping around where you live, for example. 

Sharing your location and route with a friend or family member can also give greater peace of mind: check out Strava and Garmin apps, which you can use to share your current location with friends and family.

Don’t Forget To Have Fun!

i think this actually is the most important running tip you can get! Running should be enjoyable if you choose to do it. Yes, some runs will feel like hard work, but ultimately, if it’s not fun, what’s the point? 

Don’t be too hard on yourself if you miss a day or two – if you’re not feeling it, don’t force it. To get yourself excited about running again, try making mood-boosting playlists or listening to running-focused podcasts. Hopefully, this will help you get back into the swing of things.

Got any other running tips for beginners you’d like to share? 


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