The 20 Best Running Tips for Beginners

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How to Start Running | Running Tips | Hydration for Runners | Best Running Shoes for Beginners | Most Comfortable Running Shoes | Best Sports Bras for Running | Best Running Jackets | Best Budget Treadmills | Best Budget Fitness Trackers

Thinking about becoming a runner? Congratulations! Whether you’re contemplating your first run or you’re already heading out a few times a week, we’ve got some advice that can make things easier.

While the sport can sometimes feel like a secret club (who knew there was a special cream to prevent chafing?!), these 20 running tips for beginners will have you up to speed (pun intended) in no time.

1. Walk to Build Aerobic and Muscular Endurance

We recommend developing a consistent walking routine before you start running, i.e., try to go for a daily walk. Walk at least 30 minutes each day, beginning at a moderate pace. After two weeks, start picking up the pace on your walks so that the effort feels comfortably hard (challenging but still doable). By the end of the month, try to add in 30 to 60-second bursts of jogging, followed by a few minutes of walking. This routine will prime your body for longer running efforts.

2. Add in Some Strength Training

Running actually requires almost as much upper-body and core strength as it does lower-body muscular endurance. During your pre-running walking month, add in core and upper-body resistance workouts at least once per week.

3. Buy Running Shoes

This seems like a no-brainer, but starting off with the right pair of shoes can help prevent possible injury. The sneakers you've been knocking around in for the past two years are great for just that—knocking around, not running! Head to your local running shop (Fleet Feet has over 250 locations nationwide) for a fitting and advice or order a few pairs online and try them on to see what feels best.

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4. Invest in a Good Sports Bra

Since running is a high-impact sport, your usual undergarments probably aren’t going to cut it. You’ll need something with a high level of support to minimize bounce. A sports bra choice can be super personal, so it may take some trial and error. In general, we recommend something that has thick straps and is made for high-impact activities.

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5. Identify What Other Gear You’ll Need

Running shoes, sweat-wicking socks, and a quality sports bra are a good place to start, but there are a few extra items that can make running safer and more enjoyable. If you’ll be running before dawn or after dusk, a headlamp is a must for staying visible and avoiding falls. And, if you live in a cooler climate, think about investing in a pair of yaktrax for icy winter runs.

6. Find Accountability Partners

Running with others is one of the best ways to succeed as a new runner. Having the support of others when it gets tough does wonders for helping you persevere. Surround yourself with people who can relate to what you're experiencing, and find a group to help you celebrate the wins. Check with your local running store or gym to inquire about in-person running groups. If big groups aren’t your thing, virtual running buddies can work well, too. Post about your goals on Facebook or Strava to hold yourself accountable. Or, plan to text a friend post-run to check in on your progress.

7. Consider Signing Up for an Event

You certainly don’t need to run a race to be a runner, but sometimes it’s good motivation! Many communities host 5k run-walks, but if you’re looking for something different, consider a relay race or mud run.

8. Plan Out Entertainment Options

Some runners enjoy the quiet contemplation of a run while others prefer to listen to music or podcasts. If you’re in the latter category, make a playlist of your favorites and save it to listen to only on your runs (as a reward!). If you want to stay aware of what’s going on around you while you’re out on the roads, the Bose QuietComfort Noise Cancelling Earbuds are a good option. The Stay-Aware mode allows you to keep tabs on your surroundings without having to remove an earbud.

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9. Schedule Your Runs Like a Meeting

It’s easy for things to get in the way of your runs, so add them to your calendar and treat them like any other appointment. Whether you’ve got an early morning recovery run plan or some evening speed work on the schedule, writing it down helps you (and anyone who sees your calendar) stick to the plan.

10. Prep Workout Clothes and Fuel in Advance

Are you trying to become a sunrise runner or prepping for a longer weekend run? You’ll up your chances of success if you remove as many barriers as possible. That means in addition to setting your alarm, you’ll want to lay out all your clothes (everything from sunglasses to shoes), charge any devices you’ll need, and plan what food and beverages you’ll want before, during, and after the run.

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11. Begin With a Walk-Run Format

There’s nothing wrong with walk breaks and, in fact, they can help you go farther with less effort. Whether you add in 30 seconds of walking whenever you feel winded or you follow a more regimented walk-run plan, give yourself a (literal) break.

12. Go Slower Than You Think You Need To

Many runners do their runs much faster than necessary. Aim to run two to three minutes per mile slower than your 5k race pace. Not sure what that is? You should be able to speak in short sentences (think conversational pace) on easy runs.

13. Pay Attention to the Little Things

As you ramp up your running routine, make sure you’re paying attention to things like sleep and nutrition. You’re asking a lot of your body, so be sure to rest and eat enough!

14. Know When to Back Off

Whether you’re exhausted from a tough week of travel or you’re feeling a little niggle in your shin, it’s better to take a few days off than push through. You may be a beginner runner, but you want to be in this for the long haul!

15. Focus On Prehab and Mobility

If you have a few minutes before or after your run, skip static stretching and instead focus on mobility exercises. Think: lunges with an arm rotation, hip bridges, and downward dogs. After a run, a bit of foam rolling or a few minutes with a recovery tool from Therabody can do wonders.

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16. Just Run for 10 Minutes

On days when you’re feeling unmotivated, commit to just 10 minutes of running. Oftentimes you’ll warm up and run for longer. And, on the days you stop at 10 minutes? It’s better than nothing and keeps the momentum going.

17. Mix Up Your Routine

If your usual 3 mile loop starts to feel a bit stale, it’s time to shake things up. Consider a run commute (take public transit part way if you need to) or a destination run. Drive to the next town over and explore or meet up with a local running group. Remember, running is supposed to be fun!

18. Have a Back-up Plan

It’s a good idea to have a plan A, but it’s even more important to have a plan B (and C). Let’s say you’re hoping to run after work but a thunderstorm derails your plans. How can you pivot? Do you have access to a gym? Can you strength train at home and push your run until the next morning? Anticipating issues and coming up with possible solutions makes skipped runs less likely!

19. Set a Goal

Some runners thrive on signing up for races, whether it’s finishing a 5k or eventually qualifying for the Boston Marathon. But, if races aren’t your thing, there are other ways to measure progress. Consider setting a goal to run X miles per week or month, or aim to finish a mile (or three) without stopping. Whatever your goal may be, it’ll keep you moving forward.

20. Reward Yourself

Sometimes we all need a carrot, right? Promise yourself a little treat after you complete a step towards your goal. For example, if you complete all scheduled runs in a week, buy yourself a fancy latte instead of your usual home brew. Finished your first race? It’s time to go bigger! A massage, a new recovery tool, or a special celebration lunch can all be fun things to keep you motivated.

How to Start Running | Running Tips | Hydration for Runners | Best Running Shoes for Beginners | Most Comfortable Running Shoes | Best Sports Bras for Running | Best Running Jackets | Best Budget Treadmills | Best Budget Fitness Trackers

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