Want to start running?
Easy running tips that any beginner can use
Running, they say, is easy. Just slip on your shoes and off you go! This may sound very simple, but it’s a lot harder than that for beginners.
As a newbie, who has only just started to run, there are many tips and tricks that would have been helpful if someone told me earlier.
I hope these simple tips and tricks will avoid the pitfalls of injuries, wasted money, that I have gone through.
If you want to give yourself the best chance of getting started in running, then please read on.
1. Smartphone armbands are a waste of money
If you are starting to run, the thought of running to music sounds like a great idea. Well, at least I thought so. And so I went out to buy a smartphone armband for $20AUD. This isn’t overly expensive, but I soon found out that this was a waste of money. And I began to stop using it the armband.
Firstly, as a beginner to running, I couldn’t run far. There was no way, I could run more that 500m without stopping and feeling like I was dying – lungs bursting and legs hurting. And with each run I would to set up my smartphone to listen to music – and use it for a full 5 minutes tops. Because I could only run for 500m!
Not great for my money’s worth. A waste of money for a gimmick.
And second, after I was able to run a few kms, I found that the smartphone armband was annoying and clunky. I’m not the biggest of people, so the armband was huge against my arm, and it kept slipping down my arm. At each km I would have to push back the armband along my arm and re-tighten the straps.
It became so annoying, that during mid runs I would remove the armband, and simply run with it and the phone in my hand. This was by far much more comfortable that running with the armband on.
So if I don’t have an armband, where do I put my phone?
I like to either run with phone in my hand, or to put the phone in pockets of my shorts. Running with phone in hand, may at first be uncomfortable, but if you can only run a short distance, then it isn’t an issue. And, funnily enough, if you can run for a long distance, you will find that running with phone in hand allows you to become fitter and stronger. You may not notice it, but it does and you will become accustomed to running with phone in hand.
Running with phone in pockets of shorts is also fine for me. I found that, although at first I was scared of the phone falling out, they never did. To this day, my phone has never fallen out of my pockets in my running pants. That’s not to say that they never won’t, but they haven’t fallen out yet while running. In fact, I was able to find one pair of shorts that had a zipper for the side pockets. These are the best shorts that I have ever bought, as they keep my pocket safe and sound in the pockets.
2. Shoes fit properly
Now this may sound like common sense, however, you will be surprised at how many runners don’t have properly fitted shoes. You need to have at least wiggle room with your toes in the front section of the shoe. As you run, your feet will expand slightly and you will also need to have some room for your feet to slide around in the shoe. If too tight you will develop blisters and your toes will feel squashed.
Now if too much room, you will feel like your are running like a clown. The shoes will be too big and it will influence your running gait.
I believe finding the right sized shoe is more important than style and design. Yes – some running shoes may be lighter, have more “bounce”, give you more cushioning. But if it doesn’t fit, then it doesn’t matter how high tech or great they look, you will simply be not able to run.
So find a shoe that fits properly.
3. Don’t stretch
As a beginner, I recommend not stretching before you run. This may appear to be counter intuitive, but let me explain.
The hardest part as a beginner runner is committing to running and getting out the door. As a beginner, you need to remove as many excuses as possible that will stop you from running.
If you find incentive with repeating to yourself “just get it over and done with” which there is nothing wrong with, then you need to simply just get out the door and run. Don’t have the possibility of stretching before a run be the turn off from running.
Stretching is important if you are able to run. But what’s the point of stretching if you can’t even run yet! You don’t even have any tight muscles to loosen up.
When you start to hit that good length for running, then stretching will become extremely important, but when you start don’t even think about it. Don’t allow stretching to be one of the many excuses to not run.
But for the time being. If you need to get out there and start running, don’t stretch. Rather than spend 5 minutes of stretching, spend that time running. 5 minutes is approximately an extra 500m to 1km, which is significant for a beginner.
What the heck is Strava, you may ask. In today’s world, that is an app for recording stats for everything. From calories, sleep time, fuel consumption and of course for running!
The best running app, which blends social media with running stats is Strava. As a beginner, you may be thinking, why would I bother with stats? My stats will be terrible anyways, hence nothing to be proud about.
Well, guess what, stats are important because it will show how you have improved as you run more. And seeing improvement is motivation!
I guarantee you, if you are a beginner, and you simply just get out the door and run for 30 minutes each day. You will see improvements!
You will literally be able to quantify the improvements through Strava. Strava records how far you have run, how fast, and the route. If you run the same route over and over again, you will even be able to compare each run.
And if you stop seeing the improvements, you can brag about how consistently you have been running. If you ran 7kms everyday for one month without seeing an improvement, it is still something worthwhile to brag about! How many people do you know, run everyday?
Recording your stats will bring motivation, especially when you see yourself improve! You won’t see improvements day to day, but you will see it week to week! It will happen, so record it on Strava.
5. Don’t drink or eat before running
Staying hydrated and energized is extremely important for runners. But when you are a beginner, you won’t be running far enough to become dehydrated. If you do, you aren’t drinking enough water, period. Strong runners will eat a banana before they run, because bananas give a boost of energy.
As a beginner, you neither need a boost of energy (because your muscles aren’t strong enough yet to expend the energy) or drink water before you run.
Again, if you are a beginner, ditch the preparation motions of drinking or eating. Get your gear on, and go out and run.
6. Pace yourself, if you can
When starting out to run, it’s very hard to know how to pace yourself. Sometimes, if you haven’t been running for a long time since the childhood days, you will bolt out of the blocks like Usain Bolt. And after 500m, you will be exhausted.
So, if you can, hold back the inner Usain, and pace yourself. Pacing will help you keep running in rhythm and go for distance.
BUT if you do bolt, it is not the end of the world. You will run out of puff, but ensure you walk and regain your energy and run again. (and I don’t mean run the next day) run again after walking for 3 minutes. You want to make the most of while you have your running gear on.
Yes, it may be disheartening at first, but keep in mind, it’s all about putting in the time. The more time running, the more improvements you will see. Keep committed and pace and run in rhythm. Run in zen.
If you are starting to run, then congratulations! You are on the path to improving your fitness and to feeling better!
There are some simple tips and tricks for beginners to running. You don’t need to waste money on my buying smartphone armbands, and go through the hard core runners preparation motions of stretching and eating bananas pre training.
Most important are right fitting shoes, and just getting out there and running!