Running as a beginner can be overwhelming to say the least. I remember the FIRST STEP on the FIRST DAY that I called myself a runner for the FIRST TIME. It felt like a new beginning, as I looked down the road ahead, thinking that anything was possible, and then…I actually started running.
Overtime, the many hardships that come as a runner began developing tenfold and then, one day it hits you; this is precisely what running is all about.
It’s about pushing ourselves both physically and mentally to become a better runner than we were the day before. It’s about the will to run when it hurts, to be open to new techniques for improvement, and most importantly – to never ever give up.
In the beginning, I remember searching online for running tips for beginners believing that someday I would start running. But here’s the thing, you will never feel ready enough. The best option is to just begin immediately because the road to some day leads to no day fast.
At the time, I wished to find a unique set of running tips for beginners from a sincere experienced runner. So, here they are and here I am. Overtime, running 100-mile distances humbled my motives as a runner and taught me that any distance from any person is truly possible if they are hungry enough to succeed, and yes, that includes you!
So, with that, here are 10 incredibly useful running tips for beginners!
1. Start Off Slow
One of the most common mistakes for most beginners is starting off way too fast. Your body needs time to warm up and to adjust. Warming up your lungs, heart, and legs first is essential for any physical activity, most importantly for running.
Ever jump out of bed too fast?
Pretty uncomfortable, I know, even painful at times.
So, start slow and you’ll prevent the likes of frustration, overexertion, pain and even injuries.
2. Recovery Is Important
As new runners we typically have trouble understanding the importance of recovery. No running tips for beginners can help. The natural thought for beginners is “the MORE I run the BETTER I will become.” But, if you do not provide adequate time for your body to heal, then, you do not allow enough time for your body to grow.
It takes continuous progress to become better at anything and it all starts with your physical body.
In addition, constant overtraining leads to injury, whether it’s a minor irritation that we run with or an injury that puts us on the sideline, that’s the primary reason why 60 percent of all runners injure themselves every single year. Fortunately, injuries are avoidable if we keep learning and listening to your bodyeveryday.
Even elite runners flirt with the line between training and overtraining, ask any professional, the line is extremely thin.
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So, when you are recovering from running what do you do on your REST DAY?
Well…REST DAY doesn’t have to mean REST at all.
Cross-training is an excellent way to keep your blood flowing through your training week. Weight lifting, swimming, and rowing are great cross-training workouts just to name a few.
No time for the gym?
Take the steps, walk around the block, even if it’s just putting in an effort to stand most of the day. Focus on continuous movement and allow for enough sleep at night. Beginners or not, all runners at all levels need to lead a healthy and active lifestyle.
Running and life is movement, so, let’s get moving today!
4. Run Relaxed
Often, beginners run much harder than required. Running harder is not necessarily smarter.
When a child begins to write they tend to constantly break pencil points while an adult has a natural relaxed flow due to a lifetime of repetition. Here’s the point (no pun intended): don’t apply any unnecessary force to your run, it takes time to develop at anything. It’s a waste of energy that could otherwise be utilized later in your run, not to mention a likely way to become injured.
In the beginning, running should be about gaining experience and practicing technique not about forceful moves or worrying about who’s watching. So, relax those arms, land softly underneath your body, and move your feet short and quick. Run with assertiveness, run relaxed, and then, watch yourself run to that finish line every time.
5. Foucs On Yourself
By focusing on yourself you will naturally improve your running. If you can keep an open mind and apply new techniques, then, you can have the best chance to progress and improve. With that being said, if you begin feeling overwhelmed just head back to the basics.
Sometimes we tend to over complicate the process and lose ourselves in the details. But, the fact is, running can be such a simple process. By going back to the basics we simplify our movement and can focus back on our goals.
Right before my first ultra marathon an incredible athlete looked me dead in the eyes with complete, compassionate certainty and said these words:
“Today, in this race, you do it for one person and one person only. You do it for yourself. You cross that finish line and you change your life forever.”
This type of advice will not be found in your every day set of beginner running tips. So I’ve taken these inspiring words with me and passed them on to many beginners before attempting their first race and now I pass them on to you.
Your finish line could be a race, it could be a training run, or it could be just having the courage to step outside and run for the first time. Whatever finish line you face, do it for YOU!
6. Surface Type Matters
The freedom of running takes us to many different places and on many different surfaces: road, sidewalk, dirt, grass, sand, track, and treadmill. There are various running surfaces that we find ourselves on, but, remember this: no same surface is created equal. Each surface has its own set of pros along with cons and it literally creates the path we take in becoming better runners each and every day. Take a look below for the top 7 running surfaces.
Since most races take place out on the road, this surface is favorable to the majority. While training for a particular race, it’s best to step off the treadmill and onto the surface you wish to compete on.
For many city runners, the sidewalk appears to be the most safe and convenient surface of them all, however, sidewalks can also be one of the hardest on the joints. Be sure to keep your sidewalk distance running to a minimum.
The soft surface of the grass provides a much lower impact than alternative surfaces. The grass layer acts as an extra cushion but is unrealistic for long distance. In addition, be aware of hidden holes!
For some, dirt is the answer to our running prayers. This type of surface has an optimum degree of hardness and just enough leeway preventing the most common running injury. At times, on the other hand, the trails can be demanding serving as the home for many steep rolling hills, not to mention, tree roots and big rocks. So, be careful, ease into the terrain, and progressively build those trail legs one day at a time.
The loose sand creates intense resistance ultimately providing an effective workout and a great way to catch the body off guard. Plus, ever run on the beach during the morning sunrise? In the running world, there may be nothing as incredible as a morning run along the coast.
Many beginners tend to develop issues with shin splints and coincidentally, most beginners run on the treadmill. The fact is that the treadmill moves for you, which creates an accelerated motion that actually triggers a slightly downhill force on the body and thus, putting more stress on the shinbone. Furthermore, the treadmill is a constant. So, unless stride timing is perfect, you risk stretching your stride and putting even more pressure on your shins. So, run on the treadmill until you’re comfortable enough, then, take it outside.
The spongy surface of a track is both soft and firm and it provides an ideal surface to run on. This man-made loop is beneficial for short speed workouts, however, when running long distances, it’s best to beware. Repetitively circling around the same exact tight loop can wreak havoc on your knees. Train on the track for speed and, then, quickly get off.
7. Shoe Type
First, let me start by saying if buying a new pair of running shoes will cause any sort of procrastination, then, use whatever running shoe you have. What’s most important is heading out the door and moving those feet forward. But if you’re ready to commit to this running stuff, then, let me stress the importance of getting fitted for a new running shoe.
When shopping around, it shouldn’t be about the fun new features that the company is advertising; it’s about finding a shoe that’s right for you.
I highly recommend visiting a local running store and being fitted by a professional. These stores assist new runners on a daily basis and should be able to provide a shoe that’s best for your stance, stride, and step. Most of the time, you may have the opportunity to test them out and even be fortunate to receive some free advice from a pro.
8. You Are What You Eat
Ever run after eating a whole lot of junk?
I have! It’s never a good experience. The performance we are able to put out is a reflection of what we put into our bodies.
Personally, I’ve gone from sugar as my primary fuel source where I hit the wall at mile 20, to fat as fuel where running over 30 miles with zero food or water and completing several 100 mile ultra marathons is possible. Your body doesn’t have the ability to turn poor nutritional choices into ones of high quality. Our cells, muscles, skin, and bones are built by the food that we supply it. We literally are what we eat.
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9. Compression and Lubrication
As a species, we’ve learned that friction creates fire – a discovery that changed the fate of mankind. But, when it comes to our bodies, not quite the discovery we want to feel in our running shorts!
To prevent chaffing be sure to lube up in all friction spots. Furthermore, many runners choose to wear compression shorts to assist with sweat absorption. The two combined are a powerful combination in the fight against chafing.
Personally, at one point while running across the state of Florida I ran with a handheld in one hand and a bottle of baby powder in the other, an ironically symbolic situation for an athletic running dad.
10. Keep Moving Forward
While out on a run there are plenty of times that the mind will scream “STOP”! But, I’m here to tell you different.
The key is to keep moving forward. Even if you must walk, just keep moving forward by any means necessary. Relentless forward motion provides momentum to our run so use it as leverage and don’t let it go. You know what they say, “Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must just never give up!”
Remember, this is an article to help. It’s a set of running tips for beginners that will provide a head start to your own personal running journey.
I started off just like any beginner, excited and nervous for the new adventure ahead. But, by learning new running tips for beginners, like the tips listed here, and applying them to my training, I was quickly able to run several marathons and many ultra marathons over a short period of time. I say this, not to impress you, rather, to show progress.
If you can see what’s possible for others than you can see the possibilities for yourself.
In addition, there’s certainly quite a lot of running tips for beginners online, so, whatever you choose to follow or not to follow, just remember this – we must be the guardians of our own mind.
So, pick and choose what’s best for you, understand the difference between a challenge and an excuse, and most importantly, get out and start moving forward! The running world is a fantastic place, so, let me be the first to welcome you.
Welcome to a place that doesn’t just change our exercise habits, rather, a place that changes our lives. Welcome to a place where we don’t let our environment or circumstances dictate our lives, rather, a place when adversity strikes we throw hesitation aside and say MOVE – I GOT THIS! And, YOU GOT THIS running thing: no problem!
REMEMBER… Just start moving forward!
Ready to run ANY distance by running only ONE day per week? If so grab a copy of my new book below. You will receive training plans for the 5k, 10k half-marathon, marathon, 50k, 50-mile, 100k, and 100-mile distances.
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