If you’re beginning a new running program, then you should plan ahead! Follow these 8 running tips for beginners for a successful start in running
Beginning any workout program is important, whether it’s weight lifting, running, Pilates, etc. Just think about it: anyone who is truly great at something was once a beginner. But even more important than beginning a program is sticking with it over the long haul.
Anyone can start a program, but it takes planning and dedication to continue and finish a program. Here are 8 essential running tips for beginners that can help you find success in starting and continuing a running program over the long term.
Beginner’s Running Tips
Don’t overdo it
Start out small and work your way up gradually. Injuries happen when people try to do too much too soon. You can try walking/running a 1/2 mile (depending on your fitness level) and move up from there.
And don’t worry about pace to begin with: just get out and get your body acquainted with running
Invest in good shoes
If you are serious about fitness and running, getting the right pair of shoes is very important. Get yourself fitted for a good shoe at a reputable running shop. You can also get a stride analysis from a running coach or physical therapist to help you in deciding whether you should get a neutral shoe, stability shoe, or corrective insoles.
ASICS are a great brand to try (I have had many pairs of their shoes and love them!) and they make shoes in many price points so you can find something that fits your budget.
Don’t neglect strength training (and cross train)!
Strength training (especially for your core, hips, and glutes) is vitally important to prevent injury from the high-impact and repetitive stress of running. You should be strength training at least 2 times a week, preferably more.
If you plan on running trails, take time to strengthen the supportive muscles in your ankles to prevent sprains when navigating uneven surfaces.
Experiment with different surfaces
Don’t just relegate yourself to concrete, try running on different surfaces. Try outdoor track surfaces, indoor tracks, treadmills, grass, sand, dirt, and asphalt (has a bit more give than concrete). Switching up surfaces (if you can) helps to reduce repetitive use injuries from running on unforgiving surfaces like concrete.
Recovery is important
Take time to rest, foam roll, and stretch regularly! If your body is feeling run down and exhausted, take some extra time to take care of your body. You get one body, so take care of it!
Running isn’t for everyone
I would be lying if I said that running is the best thing for everyone. if you have been running for a while and running makes you hurt or you really don’t enjoy it, then don’t feel bad about moving on to something else.
Running is a high-impact exercise that isn’t a good fit for everyone. I have many training clients who don’t like running or who can’t run, so we find other things they enjoy. And that’s OKAY! 🙂
It’s okay to take a sabbatical
Fitness is not all or nothing. If you get burned out on running, it’s okay to take time off of running as long as you continue to work out and keep your fitness levels up in some other way. Taking a break from time to time is a good thing.
I recently had to take time off of running to get some injuries and things figured out. It helps with healing and recovery, and can even help you stick with it long term if you know it’s okay to take breaks periodically.
Good Beginner’s Training Plans
Depending on your fitness level, you can begin by alternating running and walking for 1/2 mile to a mile. If you don’t want to (or can’t) measure your distance, start running/walking for 15 minutes then gradually build that time each week.
If you want to follow an established plan, then here are some good training plans for beginners (or those, like me, who are starting over):
My Running Journey: Starting Over
Because of my nagging injuries, tendinitis, and persistent muscle knots, I stopped running for several months. ASICS asked me to review a pair of their GEL-Kayano 21’s, and I knew this was the perfect opportunity to get back into running with a new pair of top-notch shoes.
I had barely run since my last race in July, so it really feels like I am starting from scratch again. I have been battling injuries, hip dysfunction (I found out I have femoral acetabular impingement and bone spurs), and weird muscle knots that won’t go away, so I have to ease into it again.
I want to keep running – one of my goals was to do a half marathon next year, but I may need to stick with 5Ks and 10Ks for a while until I can figure out how to get my body on the right track. I have an appointment coming up in January with a rheumatologist to check for autoimmune issues like lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and fibromyalgia (which run in my family).
Until then, my running will start out small again and will only be a few times a week to start building my base again, and I won’t neglect my strength training this time. I will have to scale back a bit to keep from getting extremely sore, but I absolutely cannot stop strength training!
PiYo has helped with stretching and strength training, I just have to watch that I’m not going too deep in some of the poses with deep hip flexion. We even got a small TENS unit (electrical stim unit) to help with muscle knots and joint pain, so that has been helping a lot!
My ASICS Gel Kayano shoes
I have always been a fan of ASICS! I have been through several pairs teaching my fitness classes and working out over the years – they are one of the few shoe companies that make shoes that are comfortable for my wide feet!
I have short and wide feet so finding shoes that don’t put compression across the side of my foot is challenging. The ASICS Gel-Kayano 21’s fit great (I got a higher width) and they have good support for my feet since I tend to over-pronate when I run.
I had been using zero drop shoes for about a year, but started having problems with my achilles tendon and my physical therapist recommended I stay away from zero drop shoes. As soon as I went back to a shoe with a heel my achilles pain started improving. My PT was right! Once I switched back over, ASICS were a natural choice since they fit my feet so well and are great quality shoes.
The Gel-Kayano 21’s even have an extra 3mm lift in the heel for relieving achilles tension. As much as I try, I am still a heel striker, regardless of the footwear I choose. I am working on this, but that is just a natural part of my gait, so having good cushioning in the heel is really nice! The shoes are comfortable and fit my feet great! The really nice thing is that they can be ordered in several widths to fit wide feet (like mine) without having to order up in size.
Sarah Jane Parker is the founder, recipe creator, and photographer behind The Fit Cookie. She’s a food allergy mom and healthy living blogger based in Wyoming. Sarah is also an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer, ACE Certified Health Coach, Revolution Running certified running coach, and an ACE Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist