10 Things For Beginner Runners

Starting running can seem daunting, but you can get it done with focus, dedication and consistency.

In Running To Save My Life and The 5 W’s of Running, I shared with you how and why I began running. At first, I was scared of the thought of having to run. All my life I was sure that because I had arthritis and a condition called Osgood-Schlatter’s disease that I would never be able to run. I also never really wanted to run. Having been forced to run throughout school gym classes, it was the last thing that I wanted to do. Why would anyone want to run for fun or if they didn’t have to?

The truth be told, I get excited on each day that I go for a run. I, honestly, look forward to it. There are times that as I get close to time of kitting up to go for a run that I question it and there are times that when I start I feel like I won’t make it. I take those days a little slower. I remind myself that I am not being forced to run and that if I feel the same way at the end of a mile, then I can turn around and come home. It never fails, by the time my heart starts beating and my muscles warm up I am ready for the run.

Today, I want to share with you 10 Things For Beginner Runners. Use this as your next steps into your running journey. There are not shortcuts here, no magic formulae, and no sugar coating. These are all simple honest things that will help you start and continue to be a runner, for life.

10 Things For Beginner Runners

Running is one of the most popular and accessible forms of exercise. It’s a great way to stay active, improve your cardiovascular health, and reduce stress. Running can help you lose weight and build muscle. The best thing about running is that it is one of the cheapest forms of exercise you can get into. You don’t need a gym membership, you don’t need fancy weights, and anyone at any skill level can do it. 

If you’re a beginner runner, there are a few things you should know to get started on the right foot. One caveat, make sure if you have any health concerns that you check with your doctor before you begin a running regime. Always start any exercise journey with the best information about your health possible and work with a professional to come up with an exercise or running plan that is right for you.

1. Warm up and Cool down – This is essential to any exercise routine you may do. It is crucial for running. Warming up allows your muscles to stretch and get blood pumping to them. It warms them up to be ready for the workout you are going to put them through. Cooling down works to stretch out the muscles you were using in your routine. This helps with healing faster and preventing you from cramping up. Take the time you need to get ready and cool down from your routine.2.

2. Start Slowly – Never push yourself too hard or too fast when you are running. This may seem the opposite of what you want to do in working out, but running is about the long play. Starting too hard and too fast will burn through needed energy before you are done. Start with a light jog or fast walk and build up your pace and duration as you go along. This way you can respond to your body’s needs as you go

3. Hydrate – Drinking plenty of water before, during and after a run so that your body stays hydrated. Especially in longer runs or when you are just beginning. Avoid dehydration as it can have bad side effects for you and your muscles. 

4. Set Realistic Goals – Many beginning runners think they can go further or faster than they actually can. It is better to start with smaller chunks of working out until you build up the endurance and ability to go further and faster. Gradually increase your distance, or pace with time. If you feel you are ready to increase your distance, do small increases. Let’s say you run four miles and you want to go further to build up more endurance and aerobic base, increase it to four and a quarter miles instead of trying to push to five. Your body will adapt better and you will see better results than pushing too much that may cause an injury that side lines you for longer times.

5. Mix Up Your Routine – We all get caught up in doing the same things over and over again. With running, your body will build up a tolerance to the types of runs you typically do. If you always run the streets in a neighborhood, your body will become accustomed to that and it can limit your progress. Add in a trail or a beach run, find a place that has more variance in terrain, or even go for a longer run. You can also do interval or tempo runs. These small changes can have bigger impacts on your routine and progress

6. Cross-train – You may think I just talked about that with trail running but that wouldn’t be correct. Cross training refers to doing more than just one style of exercise. As a runner, you will want to cross train in other things like weight training or swimming to help build your fitness level and reduce the chance of injury. One of the biggest things you need to work on with running is your aerobic base. Other exercises like swimming are a good way to help increase your aerobic base.

7. Practice Consistency – Running takes time, literally. It also takes effort and dedication. It will be hard, in the beginning, building up a habit of running, stay committed and stick to your running plan and you will see the results you want soon enough.

8. Invest in Good Running Shoes – I cannot stress this enough. If you are not kind to your feet, they will not be kind to you. I mentioned in previous articles about going to a running shoe store and have someone help you find the right pair of shoes. This is essential. Running is hard on the body but investing in a good pair of shoes will make it more comfortable and help reduce chances of injury.

9. Listen To Your Body – This one is super important. If you feel any discomfort or pain, take a break, and – if needed – contact a medical professional. Do not be afraid to take a few beats and walk, if you feel the need. It will not make you any less of a runner, in fact it will help you be a better one. Listening to your body will reduce the chance of doing serious harm to yourself. Just remember that running will cause some discomfort and pain, you need to be honest with yourself of what is too much or, more importantly, the bad kind of pain and discomfort.

10. Enlist A Running Partner – I mentioned above that getting into the habit of running, like any exercise, can be hard. One great way to combat this is to have a running buddy. Running becomes much more enjoyable if you have someone to do it with. Whether it means joining a local running club or grabbing a friend, it can make a world of difference. Having a running buddy is also a good way of holding yourself accountable for your goals. They can be there to encourage and cheer you along and celebrate those victories, as they happen.

Start your journey

Remember, starting running can seem daunting, but you can get it done with focus, dedication and consistency. The key is to start slowly, invest in good gear, stay hydrated, and be aware of your body’s needs. Following these simple tips will keep you running longer and ensure that it is as enjoyable down the road as it is today. Good luck on your running journey.

Are there things that you think every beginning runner needs to know that I didn’t cover here, let me know in the comments below. How do you feel about running, is it something you have wanted to try or are you like me and it was something you never wanted to consider? Share you thoughts below. Remember that your insights may be the help someone else needs on their journey.

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8 thoughts on “10 Things For Beginner Runners

  1. Thank you Keith for sharing good information and including your own journey . . . I am older, 67. I use to run and yet I am finding even more enjoyment out of the experiences of Jeff Galloway and walk-jogging or running . . . I am taking it slow and reminder myself how good this exercise felt all those years ago . . . your never too old to find your own path to uplifting your body and your mind . . .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Brian, thank you for sharing. Walking is always a great aerobic exercise and studies even show you fair a better chance of keeping your weight in check with regular walking outings than with running. Your body handles energy conversion and fat burning better. Running is great but there are times your body switches to burning glycogen and proteins for fuel, instead of fat.

      You are correct. I never thought I would enjoy running or want to but life is full is surprises. I will look into Jeff Galloway, thanks for the tip.

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      1. Hi Keith, yes . . . I love Jeff Galloway . . . a great Olympian of the 70’s . . . he also experienced a myocardial infarction and yet developed a better strategy for him to continue to run . . . walking breaks … absolutely makes a difference in bodily recovery in order to continue to run. For me, it’s about time, not speed . . .

        Liked by 1 person

  2. BTW . . . JG has published a few books on Running . . . thank you for information shared . . . I hope you are well . . . BTW . . . do you wear neoprene sleeves or compression stockings for Osgood-Schlatter symptom? I ask, I am a nurse 40+ years . . . and RICE . . . Rest Ice Compression Elevation . . . I am sure you know more about taking better care of yourself than I do . . . but I wish you success and enjoyment on you exercise journey

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    1. I sometimes do. I started wearing them when I started running to help stabilize my knee. I also have arthritis in my knees. When I started this journey I was 300lbs and mostly sedentary. I needed help. But not buying the right ones, they always hurt me so I stopped. I have started again due to a persistent injury I have. I need to get into a doc and have it checked but it seems to hit a lower priority. Recommendations for good sleeves?

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  3. Yes . . . Zensah . . . awesome . . . Zensah has been making sleeves and fashionable compression stockings for years . . . all kinds of colors and patterns, even celestial sleeves with a thinner supporting material . . . LOL

    Liked by 1 person

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