I am a relatively new runner myself (7 years) but I think I have inspired a few other people in the last few years to also pick up running as a form of exercise and self-care and it makes me so happy. Here are a few tips I’ve given those new runners when they first started out.
Get fitted for proper running shoes.
That’s probably my first and most important piece of advice. It’s easy to say “oh, I am just going to use these old sneakers that I have lying around” (and I’d better not tell you that I started my running journey running in hiking shoes *yikes* not for very long though!) but the right footwear is so important to prevent injury.
Start with run-walk intervals.
There’s no shame in starting with run-walk intervals, in fact, I think it’s the smart way to approach a running exercise regime and build up your endurance. There are plenty of beginner training plans out there that are not focused on distance/pace, but on building up endurance with the goal to run for an extended period of time.
Run by feel.
This goes hand in hand with the previous tip, don’t be a slave to your running watch/app when you first start out. I know, we all have “expectations” of ourselves and maybe think we “should be able” to run at a certain pace, but paces are highly variable (depending on the day) and also highly dependent on each person and their fitness level. It’s ok to work towards goals, but don’t set yourself up for failure because you’re not hitting certain paces on day one.
Don’t compare yourself to others.
In particular, don’t compare yourself to runners that have more experience and training time under their belt. Progress takes time, commitment, and perseverance. Speed and endurance comes with regular training and time. Running should be fun, or otherwise you’ll hate it, so don’t try to ‘compete’ with people who are further along in their running journey.
Remember: not every run will feel the same.
Progression and regression is normal, not every run will feel the same. Sometimes, the hard runs will feel easy and the easy runs will feel hard. It’s all part of a running routine and you should embrace it.
Consider incorporating some cross-training.
When I first started running, I was so focused on running that I completely neglected any type of cross-training (except for the occasional yoga class or a session on the elliptical at the gym). I was pretty good at warming up and stretching before and after runs, but what I failed to realize is that regular cross-training (esp. some light core and strength training) would have helped my running a lot. I saw immediate progress when I finally started doing more cross-training exercises and I would encourage every new runner to also consider short (even 10 minutes is a good start!) strength exercises as part of your new routine.
Treat your body like it belongs to someone you love.
Yes, that’s a Peloton instructor quote and so fitting. Especially when you’re a beginner runner, you need to take rest days and cues from your body seriously. It’s so easy to overdo it when you first start out. Make sure you drink plenty of water, you fuel your body right, and give your body time to recover between workouts!
Any other tips that you’d give a beginner runner?