March 7, 2010

Running Tips from a Beginner

Spring is finally on it's way and this beautiful weather is perfect for an outdoor run. Which means lots of new runners will be on the road and I am so excited for them!

A bunch of people I know have reached out to me for newbie running advice thee last few weeks so I thought, why not write a post and offer whatever insights I have.I should note that although I have been running for over a year, I still consider myself a beginner because I have so much to learn. Any advice I give is based on my experiences with running & racing so please keep that in mind. I am not a professional, haven’t been trained by one, and don’t profess to know everything.

So, here are some words of advice

1. The right running sneaker is CRUCIAL. We each have different feet, different strides and different bodies. I can’t stress enough how important it is to wear the right shoe when running so that you get the support you need. Don’t pull a old pair from your closet. Don’t look for the best bargain at Filene’s Basement. Get yourself to a running store and have someone who really knows what they are talking about fit you for the proper sneaker. Try on a few pairs. Jog around the store. Spending a bit more on the perfect pair of sneakers now will save lots of money in painkillers and medical treatment later.

2. Buy new sneakers when they start to wear out. Again, really important. Even if you purchase the right fit for your feet, they become useless when they are worn out. Once I buy a great pair, run a few times and confirm that they give me the support I need, I usually search online to see if they are available for a bargain. Then I order another 2 backup pairs. This way when my current sneakers begin to wear, I have a new pair ready & waiting.

3. Slow down. When I first started, I would just start quick every time and run out of breathe after a few minutes. Once I made myself slow down, I was able to really breathe and run longer, building up a lot more stamina. I've found that a really great running mix helps with this. I listen to Sting, Phish, The Cure, etc... music that isn’t necessarily running music, because it has a slower tempo which helps me maintain a slow pace.

4. Cross train. Include hills in your runs. Take days off to do some other form of exercise like core work, yoga, pilates, kickboxing… whatever you love. I found that these activities helped keep my core strong which can prevent injury. And they kept life fun & interesting!

5. Follow a training schedule as best as you can and don’t over train just because you can. If you are training for a race, and your schedule says to run 3 miles tonight, don’t run 6 just because you feel like you can. Over-training today can lead to injury, burn out & exhaustion tomorrow.

6. STRETCH!!! a lot. The more you run, the tigher your muscles will get and if you don’t loosen them up, they will pull at your knees, yours hips, and any other part of your legs you can think of. Then those will begin to hurt which will impact your form and stride and can lead to injury.

7. Enjoy yourself. Remember why you want to run and make it happen :)

I’m sure I can think of a gazillion more tips so don’t be surprised if Running Tips Take 2 is a future post.

In the meantime, please feel free to leave comments with any questions or tips of your own!


  1. Such a good post. There is a lot of intimidation in starting something new. I totally agree about the sneakers, also swear by wright (double layer) running socks- blister preventers as mileage increases. While many people think of running in terms of burning calories and conditioning- I would also add how great running is for your mind. Some of my best writing, therapy and meditation has all come to me or been worked through during a run.

  2. I completely agree with Lauren! I feel like running is a time for me to think, or not think! I just go with the flow and it's great. My running is time for me away from my babes. I cherish it! Thanks for the great post. I am going to search for my runners at a cheaper price right now! Love that idea.

  3. Great Tips!! I just took up running in December and have had a little set back with some shin and calf issues. I do think that Stretching is a big part of my problem... I always skip it because I need to rush and get dinner on the table.