Our best beginners running tips
Our own strapline “The Running and Triathlon Stores for Everyone” really does mean we positively encourage all abilities, beginners or seasoned professionals.
We know that as a specialist store people sometimes feel a little intimidated by the label, especially when just starting out. We welcome runners of all abilities and especially beginners, so please don’t be shy, drop in anytime our experienced team are here for everyone.
Lots of people begin running for a variety of reasons. No matter what you’re may be, regardless of age or ability, we’re here to help.
In the blog below we look at some of things every beginner should do in order to make running an enjoyable and permanent lifestyle choice.
Get the OK from your doctor or medical professional
Plenty of people jump headlong into running without first of all checking that they are ok to do so, many of them get on just fine.
The increased physical load they are placing upon their bodies can cause problems, so it’s preferable to discuss your plans with your doctor or healthcare professional in advance and get their ok to start running.
Buy some good running shoes
At Advance Performance we constantly meet individuals that have been using unsuitable shoes, maybe they’ve been running in very old, or cheap shoes, or even shoes belonging to another family member. Invariably the shoes have seen better days or don’t fit properly.
We understand that this can be a big investment, especially when starting out and you’re not sure you’ll keep running.
However, you’re more likely to enjoy running with a good pair of shoes on your feet! It’s also false economy, if the shoes are not doing their job you’ll spend £30 or more on them and then spend another £115 on a good pair when you come to us because your current shoes just don’t feel good or are causing your problems.
The gait analysis process is definitely worth doing. We provide shoes for the way you run and in doing so have helped countless people improve their running.
We’ve helped banish foot, shin, knee problems and more, along with bad backs, in many of our customers. Simply because the correct shoe puts their foot into a better position.
Our gait analysis also looks at how smooth the foot transitions to it’s weight-bearing position, how it transitions to the toe and how it leaves the ground. We also look at what your body is doing in the process and advise, where possible, on steps you can take to keep you running, whether it is training structure, strength and conditioning, foam rolling or stretching advice.
Join a running group
A running group is very often the best place to start, good running groups will have a beginner specific coach, it’s usually someone that has been running for years who is a great source of information that you can tap into.
They will provide you with safety tips, training advice, run structure and a helping hand when you find the going tough.
You could join one of our own courses, which are designed to get you from zero-5K in eight weeks, with qualified run leaders, lots of advice and some goodies.
Info on our upcoming beginners courses are on our Run With Us page.
Don’t go too fast or too far, too soon
If you join a running club or course this shouldn’t be a problem, as you should be receiving some good advice, but if you’re going it alone things can go wrong.
This is especially applicable when you’re returning to running after a break or injury. The tendency is to try to get back to what you were used to far too quickly.
If you really are a beginner that has never run before. Depending on your fitness level, you may find you either can’t get past a few minutes, don’t worry that’s quite normal. Or you’re so keen that you step out of their front door and run three miles. The next three or four days you’re are a broken human being!
The reality nowadays, with increased levels of sitting in everyday life, is that a lot of beginners should progress through a walk/run program, for example the NHS Couch to 5k program before jumping straight into running.
Buy a good sports bra
Obviously this doesn’t apply to some readers of this blog, but a good sports bra can make your run much more comfortable from both a physical and mental point of view. We can help with this in-store, or read our online guide to bra fitting.
Train with somebody
If you’ve joined a running club this won’t be a problem but if you haven’t, try to convince a friend to go running with you.
If you’ve made a run date, you have an incentive to get out of the door. The run itself can be more enjoyable as well and it can be handy in gauging how hard you are working. If you’re unable to talk because you’re gasping for air, it’s definitely time to walk again.
Buy some running specific clothing
A good pair of running specific socks can make all the difference to how your foot feels in the trainers you have purchased. They come in all sorts of thicknesses, materials, layers and even shapes . You may need to experiment to find what works for you, a good will sock help keep your feet cool and comfortable.
It doesn’t take long to figure out that the cotton T-shirt you’re running in isn’t very comfortable, it’s clingy and wet and you’re getting cold. A technical fibre T-shirt is designed to wick the sweat you produce away from your body and to the outside of the garment, keeping you much more comfortable. Don’t be afraid to splurge either, a really soft technical baselayer or T-shirt will feel great and you’ll want to wear it time and time again.
Many running trousers, tights, capris and shorts have useful pockets providing a place to store your front door key and some cash in case of emergency.
A good windproof breathable outer layer is also handy to keep the wind away from the sweat you may produce to keep you warm. You just have to decide how water resistant, how much breathability and how lightweight you want the jacket to be.
Record what you’re doing
Whether you’re Fred Flintstone or Captain America, record what you’ve achieved after every walk/run.
It’s a very satisfying feeling to look back at where you were six weeks ago and to compare it to what you are achieving now. Seeing your progression through your training is important as it keeps you motivated and allows you to reassess and refine your goals.
Your goal may be to run a marathon, it may be to run a mile, but knowing how you are progressing towards your goals is important.
Read our blog – Online running resources – for info on websites and apps that can help.
Eat healthily, eat normally
Your body requires nutrients to repair and fuel itself, a balanced nutritious diet will help achieve this.
Running will burn off more calories than perhaps you have been used to, but don’t get too carried away. A single Snickers bar contains enough calories (245) to power a two and a half mile run, so you don’t have to ramp up the calorie intake to power your running. If you’re running to reduce body fat then this is especially true, without a daily caloric deficit the body won’t tap into those fat stores.
Make sure you take on enough fluid before your run. While running short runs doesn’t necessarily mean you should carry a drink with you, it is important that you are hydrated enough before you start.
You may need to carry fluid in warmer weather, our blog – Summer Running – tells you more.
Plan your route and know how far it is
This may sound like an obvious one but we regularly receive confessions from new runners who have forgotten to plan a route that includes the return journey to their house!
I know this sounds crazy but in reality some people enjoy their run so much that they add distance to their route and forget that the fatigue isn’t going to hit them until the last part of their run. They become very tired, have to walk and start the long trudge home. Plan your route and stick to it.
MapMyRun is a very handy tool to do just this. In-store we have Garmin and TomTom produce runner specific watches that include GPS allowing you to view your run online (along with a whole host of other information).
Enjoy your running!
Sometimes people become so involved in their training, they forget to enjoy the run.
You’ve chosen to take up running so that you can feel the benefits, as you progress, make sure you take a moment to look at where you were when you started and add together the benefits, physically, mentally, socially, the chances are you’ve changed your life for the better.
Beginners Tips by Matt Jeffery
About the author; Matt Jeffery is Advance Performance’s strength and conditioning specialist, he’s a certified personal trainer and corrective exercise specialist with the National Academy of Sports Medicine and runs a strength and conditioning company called Synergy Physical Training
¹EFSA Journal 2010; 8(3):1459, Scientific Opinion on Dietary Reference Values for water.