10 Best Running Tips for Beginners

Last Update February 22, 2021 // 
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When people start to care about their health and do exercise, the very first activity they start off with is running. Running, of course, requires low startup costs. You only need some shorts and a T-shirt and a pair of running shoes to get going. Moreover, you can run anywhere and do not need to spend any money if you run outside. 

Some people take action immediately once they set their mind to run, which is partially good. However, new runners do not prepare physically and mentally for what they are going to go through. When you start to put new stress on your body, it requires time to slowly adapt to it. Once you cannot bear the pain or tiredness caused by running, you easily give up on it.

With the intention to prevent new runners from giving up, we come up with a useful running guide for running beginners. Below are the 10 running tips including what to wear, what to eat, and how to plan to make sure that you are well-prepared for running. 

1. Getting the Right Running Kit

running shoes

One thing that is worth investing in running is the right running shoes. The most expensive or the coolest model sometimes does not guarantee your comfort. However, the right ones refer to the one that best suits your running style or gait.  Some running stores possibly provide you a gait analysis that reveals your foot strike pattern. This analysis helps determine pronation which is the way your foot rolls when it lands on the ground. In order to select the best shoes for your foot type, you have to know whether you overpronate, underpronate or have a neutral gait. 

Adding up to running shoes, you should also invest in some technical fabric running shorts, tops, and socks. Technical fabric can be made of a variety of fibers including natural (bamboo, Smartwool) and synthetic (polyester, nylon, Lyrca) materials. You should avoid 100 percent cotton because it tends to retain sweat causing chaffing, irritation, and even blisters. Specifically, technical fabrics allow the moisture to rise to the surface where it can evaporate. They still get damp, but not nearly as much as 100 percent cotton.

2. Looking for a Running Buddy or Group

people running together

Motivation, inspiration, accountability, and commitment increase dramatically when you are a part of a running group or at least have a running buddy. Indeed, it is hard to get yourself out of bed when you first start to do exercises. However, everything will be different and much easier once you have buddies counting on you and cheering you up to run. Buddies bring positivity and of course never let you struggle alone, thus motivating you to keep running. 

If you are running at local parks, you can make friends with runners there. Plus, you can also ask for their training techniques or keep yourself update about running events as well since runners love to talk about running.

In case you cannot find ones in local parks, you can either search for a running club on the internet or check with your local running store. Some running clubs, as well as other running groups with coaches, also provide some training sessions for running beginners of all ages.

3. Making a Running Plan

schedule and coffee cup

Creating a realistic running plan will help you improve faster than simply winging it. By realistic, we mean not pushing yourself too fast, too soon, and risking burnout. Plus, you must not start out running a half marathon being underprepared or without any prior specific training. 

Instead of running the entire distance in one go, a new runner should break the distance into intervals and try to keep them short at the beginning. Furthermore, a pro runner suggests that you should walk between intervals to recover yourself a little. After some time, you can start lengthening the running sections and reducing the walking: begin by alternating between 2 minutes of jogging and 2 minutes of walking. Increase your running intervals by one minute per workout until you can run the entire distance at a stretch without having to walk. 

If you are already in reasonable shape there are many online training plans, podcasts, apps, and magazines or books that will help you step up. Just make sure they have been devised with the help of a reputable coach and that they have the right focus for your individual goals.

4. Getting Acclimated

man running in the park

Normally, your body has to slowly acclimate or adapt to the new stress you are putting on it at the beginning of a new exercise. Most new runners give up at this point as they cannot endure the tiredness and feeling of being wiped out from running.

It is important to realize that it takes your body about four to six weeks to acclimate to the new demands. Anticipating that "wiped out feeling" can actually make it less of a shock. Feeling the effects of your new activity is common, so you have to make sure to overcome that point. If you can overcome it, you will start to feel stronger and last longer in running without realizing it. 

Remember to take it slow and ease into your new activity. Otherwise, you might experience shin splints, pulled calf muscles, cramping quads, or sore hips from going out too fast or from doing too much too soon. 

5. Choosing the right surface

running track

Running beginners are mostly curious about what kind of surface they should be running on. And, the answer is “it depends on the particular workout.” 

  • Running on the pavement is ideal for fast running. Although it eases you in turning your ankle, it is hard on your joints because the pavement does not cushion your steps. As a result, this surface is only suitable for light runners with good form. 
  • A forest or park floor is soft and provides excellent cushioning. However, the risk of injury increases due to roots, rocks, and bumps.
  • A sandy surface trains your muscles and makes you lift your feet through this surface stands a high chance of overworking your calf muscles. 
  • The treadmill allows you to train year-round with good cushioning. 

6. Fueling Your Run

healthy diet

Fueling your new activity is very important, and timing is the key. It is important to make sure that you already digest the food perfectly and have enough energy for your activity. Therefore, you should eat about 200 to 400 calories of mostly complex carbs and a little protein about 1.5 hours prior to your run. If you choose not to eat or not eat enough before running, your muscles possibly feel fatigued.

Digestion usually stops or slows dramatically when you run. Therefore, it is not healthy to eat just before running as the food will not be digested properly. It not only provides you with little energy but also possibly causes stomach issues.

Post-run refueling is also important. Eating a 4:1 ratio of carbs to protein within 30 to 45 minutes after a run is optimal timing to provide your tired muscles with the fuel they need to rebuild quickly. Low-fat chocolate milk is a great example of the 4:1 ratio.

7. Staying Hydrated

drinking water

Equally important like fueling, it is a must for runners to keep themselves hydrated. Significantly, running beginners are recommended to drink 20 oz of water two hours before running. The reason why it has to be two hours prior to running is that it gives water enough time to pass through your system before you run. 

You can normally consume drinking water during your run. However, you had better switch to a sports drink if you run for more than 45 to 60 minutes. Sports drink helps replace vital electrolytes which are minerals like sodium, potassium, and magnesium. Hence, such minerals contained in sports drink helps maintain proper water balance in your body as you lose electrolytes through your perspiration.   

8. Warming up and Doing Other Exercises

warm up

Before you head out on your run, be sure to warm-up your muscles with a dynamic stretch. A five-minute walk is a great way to do this. This will help decrease the chance of your muscles feeling tight during your run. Save the traditional stretch-and-hold stretches for after your run.

Aside from warming up, you should also practice core work, and strength and conditioning work which are quite beneficial. A simple mix of planks, side planks, and crunches can build your core strength, and squats and bridges are great for glutes. Surprisingly, it helps you in injury prevention and improving your running form and economy. For example, runners tend to slump forwards when they get tired during a long run, but a strong core can prevent this. 

9. Taking Care of Your Body

meditation

Running is a full-body workout. “Your core is the control center.” In order to run tall, you need a strong, healthy, stable core. The rest of your muscles should also be in good shape so you can run light on your feet. Plus, a well-conditioned body helps prevent overuse and compensation injuries. This applies to all the body parts involved in running.

The motive of running is to keep yourself healthy, so it is a must to run only when you are in good shape and not ill. You must not run if you feel any pain besides regular workout-related muscle soreness. If you experience pain along your shin, hip, or any area of the body that is beyond normal muscle soreness, ice it, elevate it and use your normal choice of anti-inflammatory medication. 

You should get back on track once you feel better. However, if the pain continues, you must go see the doctor. 

10. Letting Your Body Rest and Recover

sleeping

Rest is just as important as your workout. Rest allows your body time to rebuild and recover. When you run or do any type of exercise, you actually create little micro-tears in the muscle tissue. Your body then rushes in to rebuild and repair the tears. This is the normal muscle-building process that makes you stronger. 

However, if you do not take the proper rest, your body may not have time to fully repair before your next run causing you to feel sore, tired, and sluggish. When you first start your beginning running program, it is a good idea to have at least one day of rest in between runs.

“It must adapt to the new demands on the cardiovascular system and prepare your muscles and bones for the next run,” said Sascha, health trainer and active triathlete. You have to schedule your training so that you run one day and rest the next. This simple training plan can help beginning runners achieve the greatest training effect and avoid overuse injuries.

Conclusion

Obviously, we cannot guarantee that you will achieve your expected fitness goals when you follow our running guide perfectly. However, these 10 tips are the information beginners should know to be well-prepared both mentally and physically for running. Plus, we can assure you that you can avoid some running mistakes that possibly lead to serious injury if you read through our guide. 


References

https://www.runtastic.com/blog/en/8-extremely-useful-running-tips-for-beginners/

https://www.active.com/running/articles/10-tips-for-beginning-runners/slide-6

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/aug/14/running-beginners-10-tips-parkrun-exercise-run-jog-5k

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