Tips for Beginner Runners
I started running about 6 years ago. I had always wanted to be a runner but didn’t think I could do it and in fact could only run about 10 feet at first. After lots of breaks in the first year, I finally started following training programmes and I haven’t stopped since.
People still tell me all the time that THEY can’t possibly run. As someone who really started from nothing and has gone up to running a marathon, I believe that anyone can run if they’re willing to put in the effort.
Here are some things I’ve learned along the way that might help new runners.
1. Find more runners. If you are just starting out, it would help to join a beginners running group or to go out with a friend that runs. It’s very hard to pace yourself at first and beginner runners almost always go too fast and then have to walk.
2. Investment! Invest in a proper running watch like a Garmin that will tell you how fast and far you’ve gone, so you can see how much progress you are making. You also really need to buy the right running shoes and ideally you want to try lots of them on in a specialised running shop. They will make a huge difference to how you feel when you run and adjust any foot rolling.
3. Time not distance. As a beginner you are probably really slow, so don’t worry about going x miles, aim for time on your feet. Once you can get up to running slowly for 30 minutes, you have done the hardest part. It’s then easy to add on extra time and start thinking about distance.
4. Enter a race. It’s much more inspiring to have a goal, so find a short race or even better a parkrun to enter.
5. Follow a structured training programme. These are really easy to find online, but Runners World always has good ones. Once you have been running for a while, you will want to start running at different speeds and for different distances so your training is varied and you will improve more quickly.
6. Ignore all the other runners, pedestrians and car drivers This may seem at odds with point 1, but once you get into running you begin to notice that there will be lots of people who are faster than you. This can be because they run 100 miles a week and you don’t, or because they have been doing it for 30 years, or just because they have more natural ability. Don’t let this affect your own enjoyment of running! You are only competing against yourself. Similarly, don’t be embarrassed when you have to pass other people on the road – at least you’re out there doing it, unlike them.
Once you get into more advanced running, there’s a whole load of other issues to worry about, but that’s another post! For the moment consider yourself lucky if you don’t know what fartleks and Bodyglide are.
Have you ever found a similar passion that you stuck with even when it was too hard or inconvenient?