Whether you’re a first time runner or starting again after some time off, these tips for new runners will get you up to speed in no time. 🙂
This tips for new runners post has been in the works for a while. I wanted to get back into my groove after some time off. So, after 6+ months off from distance running, I’m finally getting back into it. I have a love/hate relationship with running. In high school I did cross country, but was absolutely terrible. I attribute part of this to poor coaching, but also I just don’t think I was in the right mindset for it back then (I joined because a boy I had a crush on was on the team).
After college I ran for fun, and did short distances-1 to 4 miles usually- and it wasn’t too bad. But it wasn’t until I signed up for my first half marathon years ago that I really took running more seriously, did my research, and learned some ways I could run faster, run longer, and really enjoy it!
Being a new runner can be daunting; especially if you want to do distance running. So many people never enjoy running because they aren’t properly prepared and don’t have support (more on that in a bit). My tips for new runners will help you get started and actually enjoy running.
Here are a few of my tips for new runners that will have you wanting to hit the trail for more than 5 minutes.
Get the right shoes
Oh I cannot tell you how important this is! The right shoes are KEY for success in any physical activity. Without proper shoes you could get blisters, not run as fast, or worse, injure yourself. I wrote a post about finding the right shoes for your workout, and I highly recommend you follow my tips in that post.
Every runner has a favorite brand of shoes they love and swear by. The shoes I’ve been wearing for 6+ years are the Mizuno Wave Riders. Every year Mizuno updates the shoe, and when I was running often I got a new pair each year. Now I’m able to get 2 years out of my shoes, but make sure to replace your shoes every 300-500 miles. Road Runner Sports is one of my favorite places to get running shoes, and if you go in they will test to see what your running stance is and recommend shoes that work best for your stance.
Focus on your form
This is one thing that helped me so much when I started to train for my half. Form is key when you run. Leaning slightly forward helps propel you forward, especially on hills. Keep your head up, don’t look at the ground. And keep your arms tucked in at your sides. If you get tired, focus on pumping your arms, not how tired your legs are, and it will keep you going longer.
Warm up and cool down
A proper warm up and cool down is going to keep you from getting injured, and help your body get ready for the task ahead. I do a brisk walk for 2-5 minutes (depending on the length of my run), as well as a 5 minute cool down brisk walk, that slowly slows in pace.
Along with a warm up and cool down, I stretch after my runs. I know a lot of people stretch before, and I do a little bit of stretching while I’m doing my warm up walk (hamstrings, quads and arm cross overs mostly), but stretching after has been more key for me in helping to avoid excessive sore muscles and lactic acid build up. If you prefer to stretch before you run, do it after you warm up, so you aren’t stretching cold muscles.
Listen to music
I think this is a personal preference thing. The majority of people I talk to say it’s key for them to listen to music while they run. It distracts them and keeps them motivated. I’m on the other side and cannot listen to music when I distance run. I highly recommend you try it if need some more distraction.
Track your mileage
Have a watch to track your mileage. I have a Series 3 Apple Watch and use it to track all my workouts. It has a running option in the exercise app and tracks how far you have ran, as well as your pace (and calories burned, my fave part). The Garmin Forerunner is a more affordable option and tracks how far, fast, and where you run.
If you’re training for a race, I also recommend you use an app or program that helps you progress in your distance. Hal Higdon is my absolute favorite and what I used to train for my first half marathon. He has different training programs depending on the distance you want to run and amount of time you have to train. It is an amazing, and free, resource.
Have a support system
I cannot tell you how key this is! Just like any lifestyle change you may make, having people around you that support your goals and who will cheer you on makes a world of difference. If you enjoy running with others, find a running buddy! Someone who will push you, who shares the same passion and has the same goals. These people will support you and also hold you accountable if you ever try to skip out on a run. 🙂
Goals are dreams with deadlines. If you’ve ever dreamed of running a 5k, 10k, half or full marathon, sign up for a race! That sets a deadline for you and a goal. For years I set yearly and monthly goals for myself. It is a game changer when you write it down and have a plan to work toward accomplishing said goal. If you want to learn more about goals and how to easily achieve them, read 5 steps to achieving your goals.
Above and beyond all of this, have fun! Running can be an amazing endorphin high, and can be such a good time. If you aren’t having fun, what’s the point? Find a different activity to do. Don’t force yourself to do it if you don’t enjoy it. A great way to make running fun as a new runner is to sign up for a fun race. There are color runs, bubble runs, super hero themed runs, etc. Everyone at those races is there for a good time and it always ends up being a blast.
I hope you found these tips for new runners helpful. I know when I re-started my running journey, these things helped me enjoy running again. Exercise should be fun, not a chore. I always recommend finding something you love and not forcing yourself to do something out of obligation.