We received a message on our Instagram from one of our followers asking for tips for beginner runners. A Comprehensive Guide For A Beginner Runner? What a great idea for a post on exercise! Both Erin and Greg are active runners. This article on running tips for beginners was written by Greg.
Greg’s Running Story
Greg is an active runner. He started running in his late 20s. He just got up and went for a run around the block. It was 2 miles, and it was hard and humbling. A few days later he went again. Several months later he went for a run, got lost and accidentally ran 7 miles.
A few months later the same thing happened. He didn’t have his phone and got lost. He had to run 7 miles before he found his friend’s home. It opened his eyes to how far people could run. Next thing he knew he was training for half marathons and marathons.
You are thinking about running but not sure where to start. The best place to start is anywhere. Go to your favorite park, or your sidewalk. Start with a 15 minute run. A few days later do it again. After awhile 30 minute runs will become easier.
You will really surprise yourself after several weeks of 30 minute runs a few times a week. You’ll also start to notice you get tired less going up steps or doing routine things.
If you don’t reward yourself with 100s of calories after running 30 minutes you’ll also notice your clothes getting a little looser.
New To Running? Pace Yourself. Experienced Runner? Pace Yourself!
This is the hardest piece of advice for a beginner runner to follow. Even experienced runners struggle with pacing. The best way to lose interest in running is to make running too hard.
Don’t do that. Fast isn’t best. Run at a comfortable pace. A good rule of thumb is to run at a pace that allows you to hold a conversation. If you can’t hold a conversation, then you are going too fast. Slow down and enjoy the run.
Or at least enjoy being finished with the run by completing it. Every run is not a race. The most important thing is that you are running, and training your body.
Make A Running Routine
Make running a routine. Start running, and continue running. Sometimes it isn’t fun. Sometimes the weather isn’t ideal. Just keep going. After awhile your body adapts and you’ll go longer distances. You may also start to go faster.
Find Running Friends
Find friends to run with. Run with different friends for different purposes. Find a running group, or start a running group. The most important thing is that they keep you motivated.
You’ll also keep them motivated. Many running stores have groups that meet and run several times a week,. They usually also offer training for races. If none of your close friends are runners, Facebook is a great place to find local running groups near you.
Run For You
Run for you, no one else. I was at a marathon years ago. 10k+ people were running 26.2 miles. Every wave of runners looked much different. Something dawned on me as I watched: Running is beautiful. Everyone runs for a different reason.
Everyone that signed up for the marathon had a different motivation, and they were all doing it. Do it for you, no one else.
Beginner Runners: Trust That Your Body Will Adapt! It Gets Easier
Running a mile is tough at first. Your body adapts. Trust your body, even when your brain is trying to talk you out of it. This is especially tough if you are doing a couch to marathon program. But trust the process. It gets easier mentally and physically.
If Your Knees Hurt, Change Your Shoes.
What if my knees hurt? So many people say they don’t run because their knees hurt. Many times they are just wearing worn out or the wrong type of shoes.
Expensive shoes do not keep your knees from hurting, but the right shoes will. After 300-400 miles your running shoes are worn out. They may look totally fine, but they aren’t. Every time my knees start to feel tweaked, I know it’s time to buy shoes.
You also need to pay attention to your arch and the shoes purpose. If you get a shoe that is not for your arch, then your knees will hurt.
Don’t fall for feeling like you need a lot of cushion because your knees hurt. It may be the opposite. Also a lot of people get arch support inserts for their shoes thinking they will help.
If your arch doesn’t need support, then you are only going to hurt your knees by adding that much more arch. Your local running store can help. They often do free analysis, and can offer advice on the right running shoe for you.
If you want to avoid injury, buy the right pair of running shoes.
Disclaimer: obviously we aren’t doctors. But I do run 1500+ miles a year and haven’t been hurt in 12 years. My knees did hurt often when I was a beginner runner 13 years ago. My IT band would hurt so bad. Then my mom, who never ran, gave me the best advice. Get the right shoes. Mom’s are always right.
Set Goals, Then Make It A Game:
Set a goal, and then make it a game. The goal can be to run a mile or to run a marathon. I’ve had so many completely arbitrary goals over the years, but they keep me going. Run a certain number of miles a week, a month, a year.
I once had a goal of running 500 miles pushing a stroller (not at once), just because of the song “I would walk 500 miles”. It took me some time, but I did it. Make it fun!
If you are a beginner runner, know it’s ok to run walk. Anything is ok. Just go run. There are no rules. Some of the most experienced ultra marathon runners walk some during their races. The important thing is to just keep going. Running is like life, just keep going.
Track your progress:
I don’t get running highs, but I do get data highs. I love tracking my runs. It’s what motivates me. It’s all silly. You don’t need a watch to tell you your heart rate is up or you are tired. But it is fun, and an incredible motivator.
The data keeps me accountable. It also lets you turn running into a game.
There are quite a few running apps out there. Personally, Strava is our favorite. Strava is basically social media for exercising. It has a free version and an inexpensive paid version. You can use Strava to follow your friends and tell them good job with a kudos.
Strava also lets you do fancier things like creating routes. You can either sync it with your running watch or use it to record your runs without the need for a watch. If you are new to running, we suggest you try strava. If you are an experienced runner you probably know about it already.
Greg’s Watch Recommendations:
There are many running and fitness watches on the market. Decide on your short and long term goals, then buy a watch that will help keep you motivated and moving. If you decide to get a fitness watch, many offer features that allow you to challenge friends (real life or virtual,) to fitness related competitions.
Some examples are, who takes the most steps, who runs the most miles or minutes. These watches are a really fun and cool way to keep you motivated, make it fun, and track and analyze your progress.
For amazing reviews on running watches please check out DC Rainmaker. The below are just Greg’s recommendations
For beginner runners: Apple. People love apple. Apple watches are smart watches that have fitness capabilities. Generally people that lean towards fitness seek out Garmin products. Garmin watches are fitness watches that have smart watch capabilities. Very nuanced difference there. Any watch you use is the right watch. If you are a new runner and like Apple, use an Apple watch to track your runs.
Either of these are nice basic watches for beginner runners.
I wear the Fenix 5 Plus. This isn’t for a beginner runner. I get lost easily. It has navigation. It also has a long battery life, multiple sports including biking and swimming, music, Garmin pay, and so many other features. It’s a complex running watch with smart watch features.
How To Carry Your Phone While Running
I try to never run without my phone. I get lost too easy and too often, and I prefer listening to music. I’ve tried many different ways of carrying my phone. Here’s a few of my favorite ideas:
If I am just going for a short run and do not need to carry anything else, then I just use arm bands. But I do not like the way it feels on my arm now that phones are huge. So I carry the arm band and phone in my hand. The arm band basically becomes a handle.
I don’t really like arm bands. But it is an inexpensive, quick, and easy way to carry my phone.
This is my go to (and not because I am sponsored by UltrAspire). I love this belt. It’s extremely light weight, and fits perfectly. I slide the phone in the front and can’t tell it’s there.
You can also stuff this belt with other things. A small water bottle, car key, nutrition, it all fits.
If it’s really warm out or I’m going to be out for awhile, I want to carry water. This belt is perfect for carrying water, your phone, a car key, and a tiny bit of nutrition. It doesn’t bounce nearly as much as other belts I’ve worn, but it does take some getting used to.
Wear A Light
If you run in the dark, wear a light. When I was a beginner runner I didn’t know these existed. It took me 10 years to figure this out! I love this one. It carries my phone, and since it’s on the waist and not my head I can see much better.
It’s also lower to the ground then a headlamp so it doesn’t cast shadows. Your running partner will appreciate that it’s on your waist because it won’t blind them when you want to make eye contact with them.
A wise’ish person once said: “There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad gear.” If you want to make a run miserable, wear the wrong gear. Keep in mind your body will warm up, so you don’t want to overdress.
As a beginner runner, this is something that takes a lot of trial and error. Everyone’s preferred temperature is different, and our bodies all breathe and sweat differently.
Dreadmills! I hate treadmills. They are horrible. I enjoy running in any conditions. But, 2 years ago we had twins. We decided we would get runs in while the kids nap, but we couldn’t leave the house. So we caved in and bought a treadmill.
We researched quite a bit and went with one that had iFit membership and a large screen. iFit allows you to have different maps, and also has trainers, who have video feeds of their runs and work outs. You can follow along with trainers with a similar pace as you.
These runs give you views of the world from where ever you set your treadmill up. While we still prefer to run outside, we do hop on the treadmill from time to time. This is the one we bought:
I could write an entire post on this. In the first 3 years of our son life, I did over 600 miles of stroller runs with him. We loved them. Before he could talk I would teach him as much as I could about his surroundings.
Stroller runs were also a great chance to calm him when he was fighting naps or just going through baby stuff. As he became old enough to talk he would just yap and yap. Our stroller runs were such powerful father and son bonding moments.
Stroller runs also gave him a chance to see me sweat. What a wonderful start to his life. He saw effort. He saw me huffing and puffing. Jonathan would actually say that as I was pushing him up hills. “Daddy are you huffing and puffing”.
He would challenge me to take him for runs AFTER I did runs by myself. I loved those moments. We did 5ks and even a half marathon together.
Best Stroller For Running
If you are thinking about running with your child, you can’t beat a BOB. I don’t like spending money. A great running stroller is worth it. It makes your run more comfortable for you and you child.
An expensive high quality running stroller is one of the very few things I splurged for. Our favorite is the BOB Revolution.
Stroller Running pro-tip. Do not lock the front wheel. Also when you are doing a stroller run when a child under 20ish pounds, do very small wheelies over bumps OR put a 20 lbs weight up front.
Otherwise you get more bounce then you like. Also, if you are fast (I’ve done stroller 5ks in under 20 minutes), do slight wheelies when turning the corner. Also, buy the wind cover. It works like a green house.
You’ll be able to run in much cooler temperatures and your child will still be comfortable.
Stroller Running With Two Kids (Twins For Us)
We also have twins. This stroller is very expensive, but it was money well spent. The BOB Revolution Flex Duallie is great for running. It fits through doorways. It has been a great double stroller. We bought our Duallie used, but in great condition on Facebook Marketplace.
The Best Advice For A Beginner Runner
Go run. Do it again. Then do it again.
More About Greg
He has completed over a dozen marathons and many more half marathons. At the time of this posting, he has ran at least one 20+ mile long run every month for 24 months in a row (up to 30 months in a row in May 2022!). On his 40th Birthday he ran 40 miles. His proudest running moment was running a half marathon pushing his son in a stroller in a time of 1:36.
Do Us a Favor: Keep Us Updated!
Go run. Do it again! Let us know how you are doing by posting on our social medias @ChaChingQueen. The idea for this post came from a follower on Instagram. We are all in this together!