Are you thinking to start running frequently? Or have you already decided to start a running routine to improve your fitness?
Then, Congratulations! Running is a great sports to get fit and healthy as you can do it wherever you want. It only takes some basic equipment such as running shoes and running clothes and you are ready to go.
But before you start, check out the following 18 tips to begin running. They will hopefully facilitate your start and prepare for what lays ahead of you.
To put some structure into the list, I have tried to order the tips along three categories: (1) Before the run, (2) during the run and (3) after the run.
Running tips overview by TopFitAndBusy
#1 Simply get started
Are you hesitating with starting your running routine? Or are you postponing your first run again and again because you do not feel ready?
Well, let me tell you that there are no reasons to hold back. When doing it right, starting to run is fun and easy at the same time. Simply don’t overthink the decision and try it out. There is nothing to lose. If it turns out that you really don’t like it or that it hurts your body, then you can always stop (just don’t stop simply because it feels exhausting ;-)).
#2 Get proper running shoes
Talking about your first necessary expenditures is probably not what you wanted to hear. However, I do encourage everybody to use proper running shoes when going for a run.
The reason for that is simple. Good running shoes are crucial to prevent injuries as they have a damping effect and foster stability at your ankles. Therefore, they are treating your joints well over time and prevent you from twisting your ankle.
Now, I am not telling that you should go out shopping and purchase the most expensive running shoes. This is not necessary when you just start out. But I would just not recommend going for a run with shoes that are not made for running.
#3 Get new clothes
Is it still motivating to use your 10-year old sports clothes?
You might not believe it in the beginning, but wearing proper running / sports clothes is a motivating factor.
So if you are not motivated anymore by what is in your wardrobe, do some shopping and purchase high quality running clothes. As a start, running pants, a t-shirt and depending on the weather also a sweatshirt is sufficient to get going. The proper sports brands like Adidas, Nike or Under Armour (my favorite) offer very good quality and can equip you fully.
#4 Establish a routine
I assume that if you are reading this article you are actually thinking of starting a new running routine rather than thinking of running once. Therefore, setting up a routine is a helpful structure to keep you going throughout the weeks and months.
I recommend setting weekly running goals such as the number of runs you want to do or the number of kilometers you want to run per week. This is important as it provides you with the opportunity to tick off the checkbox of your running “To-Do” list after each run.
While ticking off items on your agenda is quite motivating, you should not set the bar too high. It is just not realistic for a beginner to run 5 times per week for a longer period. Rather, aim for 2-3 sessions per week. This puts your body into a position where it still enjoys enough resting time between the runs.
#5 Find individual running route
When you start your run it is important to know your route.
Because it allows you to focus on your condition during the run rather than figuring out whether to turn left or right at the next intersection.
But before you start defining your route, be aware that there are different running environments you can choose from. This includes running outside, on a tartan running track (if you have access to) or on a treadmill in gyms or at home. Personally, I prefer running outside due to the fresh air and the nature.
After completing your first runs, you will from time to time optimize your running route. At some point, you will feel that you have found your perfect route (distance, terrain, etc.) which pushes you to get into your running shoes again and again.
Having found your individual running route also enables you to track your progress efficiently over time. By running the same route you can directly compare your performance with previous runs, which can be a motivating aspect for beginners.
Last but not least, be aware that running routes might get boring at some point. If this is the case, try to vary and find another route that motivates you to get going.
#6 Find a running partner
Yes, running together is more fun and easier since you can motivate each other not only during the run but also to get going at days when the motivation is low. At bad days, your partner is the decisive factor that makes you run.
Try to talk to your colleagues, friends or family and see who you can convince to join your adventure. It would be perfect if somebody jumps on the train and joins your entire fitness routine. But even if you only find company for single runs, this will push you to new performance dimensions.
#7 Get ready to track your performance
Using running apps to track your performance might not sound like a beginner’s tool.
However, it is a motivating factor to track the results of each of your runs over time. Everytime you open the app you will be reminded of what you have achieved in the past weeks. Moreover, it is an easy and transparent solution to see your performance increase over time.
There are plenty of tracking apps out on the market. Personally, I like Adidas’ Runtastic app, which enables you to measure distance, speed and progress with its GPS Tracking feature. In addition, the integrated Voice Feedback informs you every kilometer about the current stats of your run (such as speed per kilometer, distance, time).
#8 Don’t eat too much before you start
This is probably the most important advice before you start running.
Do not eat too much before you start!
A full stomach needs too much energy for digestion and therefore inhibits your best performance. While a banana (or alike) can be a great nutrient right before your run, try to have at least a one-hour break after a major meal before you get going.
You will most likely feel what I mean once you have done it once :-
Having talked about tips that you can follow before you go running, the following tips are for when you are actually out there and run like a pro.
#9 Warm up properly
Going for a run is a real sport and therefore a serious effort for your muscles.
As with every other sport, it is important to warm up properly at the beginning of your run to prevent injuries. This should include some exercises for your legs but also for your core and shoulders.
To give some examples, here are some exercises you can do to warm up:
- Jumping Jacks
- Push ups
- Sit Ups
Also, a small stretching session for major muscles can prevent injuries and prepares your body for a tiring run. Read about some stretching basics in our article
#10 Run in intervals
Performing an uninterrupted 30 minutes run can be quite challenging in the beginning. But this should not hold you back from aiming to be active for 30 minutes or more.
Rather, start by running in intervals where you alternate between running and walking.
As a beginner you can for example start by running 2 minutes and walking 2 minutes. The easier it feels and the more advanced you are, the less walking you would include in your runs until you ultimately manage to run 30 minutes or more without interruption.
As a general guideline, I recommend the following interval steps:
- Phase 1: 2,5 minutes run, 2,5 minutes walk
- Phase 2: 5 minutes run, 2 minutes walk
- Phase 3: 10 minutes run, 1minutes walk
- Phase 4: Only run
#11 Relax while you run
The right body posture is crucial for a healthy and enduring run.
Despite some laypeople do not believe so, running is a technically demanding sports. Having the wrong technique will not only waste plenty of energy but can also lead to injuries.
Therefore, my advice is to focus on relaxed body movements that seem natural to you. Let you feet float over the ground and your arms follow the direction they want.
#12 Don’t run too fast
Running too fast is a typical mistake beginners do. They start running way too fast because they still have enough energy for an increased pace.
However, you don’t want to do that mistake.
Think at every stage of your run that you need to keep the pace for 30 minutes and more. Thereby, the goal is to find a pace that you can constantly run throughout the entire time.
Finding this pace is not easy in the beginning. But, as stated above, running apps like the one from Runtastic is a helpful tool to get there.
#13 Don’t run too long
OK, I get it. You can run longer and you don’t feel totally exhausted after your first smaller runs.
If this is really the case, don’t overstrain your body. Your body typically needs time to adapt to this new physical efforts. Running too long (even though your head wants you to do so) can therefore have serious consequences for your body such as injuries in muscles and joints.
Instead, try to increase your level slowly but surely. For example, instead of doubling your distance from 5km to 10km, try to add 1km each time you go out for a run. By doing that you can demonstrate to your body how well you treat it.
After having shared some tips for during your run, I now want to provide some tips for after you have finished your run.
#14 Recover from your run
Your run felt great and you are ready to go again? This is positive.
However, it is equally important to give your body the pause that it needs to recover. Your muscles are tired and need to fill up their energy level.
If you don’t grant your body to rest from the physical strain your run caused, you can risk serious injuries which can hold you back for a longer time.
#15 Cross-train your body
The previous tip has illustrated that giving your body enough rest to recover from your run is important.
However, this does not mean that you can use off-days to train other parts of your body or simply boost your recovery with an additional stretching session.
In fact, training other body parts such as the core, shoulders and back is relevant to keep a healthy balance across your entire body. If you want to read more how you can strengthen your core, read our article
So why don’t you use days without running to focus on the other muscle groups?
#16 Don’t give up
I can already tell you that there will be days when you want to give up. Days when you have no motivation at all to go out for your run. Days when you want to stop running in the middle of the run.
Well, this is totally normal. Running is an exhaustive sport that pushes you to your limits. Therefore, it is the most normal thing to have those thoughts in your head.
However, I do encourage you to push through and follow your training schedule even in situations where your motivation is low. In the end, your willingness to overcome those situations defines whether you will successfully reach your running goals or not.
In the long term, running has to become a habit and a constant part in your weekly routine to improve your fitness level over time.
Summing it all up
It is never too late to start running. In fact, it is a great sports to stay fit no matter of your individual life phase. Running does not require large initial investments to get started and can be done from anywhere. Therefore, running is also a major part of my weekly fitness routine. It is the optimal add-on to lose body fat and to keep my body and mind fit.
As a beginner, it might be difficult to get started. I hope that my tips in this article were helpful and an inspiration to take on the running shoes and start your new running routine.
To sum up, I also want to provide a potential weekly training schedule that you could follow. Together with the consolidated running tips image above, you can print it out and put it at a place where you frequently see it. This hopefully motivates you to maintain your running routine over time.
Please leave a comment if this article was helpful to you.