I have 72 practical running tips for beginners right here for you!
It is always so fun and exciting to begin a new journey.
Learning from others past experiences in one of the best ways to speed up the learning process and to help you grow faster!
So I want to pay it forward and share what I have learned personally and through helping others on the road to running!
What do you want to get out of being a runner?
Perhaps this page on goal setting and the free printable goal planner sheet for runners will help you determine.
Don’t push yourself even if you are feeling great! Running tips for beginners must include a little bit of caution...
Keep building at a slow and healthy pace to really see great progress!
A good rule of thumb is to increase your running mileage by no more than 10% each week.
However, when you are first starting out you don't want to constantly be increasing your mileage and your running pace but rather you want your body to become adjusted and comfortable with running a predicted amount at a set pace.
They don’t have to cost a lot of money but they do need to fit well!
Here is my guide on finding the best running shoes for you + lots of great recommendations!
This is a hard running tips for beginners because we are all a bit anxious to achieve something big!
Build up slowly and set stepping stones for yourself.
Here are some thoughts on what to include in your running log + some great running log recommendations.
How far will you be going?
What running routes will you be running?
What is the distances of those routes?
Do you have the fuel/hydration gear that you need?
Failing to plan is planning to fail!
This tip can make or break a beginner runner!
Make it fun! Get a water bottle (or 2 or 3 preferably), use fruit slices or berries, or find a brand of tea that you love.
If you are planning on going on runs that are more than an hour in length, then consider finding a good energy drink that you like!
You don’t want to be a loud runner that can be hear from a mile a way. Plus the impact that that causes on your body can quickly lead to injury.
Think of being light and airy and concentrate on landing quietly for each footstep.
How are you landing?
On your heel, forefoot or toes?
Many runners land on their heels. I believe that landing on your forefoot can drastically reduce your chances of injury although it can take practice.
It's best if you are aware from the beginning how your running form looks and feels.
Here is a page that has lots of tips on running form.
As a beginner runner, incorporate other activities as your body is adjusting to all of the running.
Plus it can be fun and motivating to mix up your exercise routine!
Of course running tips for beginners must include strength training! You will be more successful in your journey as a runner.
You do not need to do anything intense, however running and strength training are a beautiful combination.
Start small, 10 minutes, 2x a week, keep your weights light and easily accessible.
Focus on your upper body one day and then target your lower body on the second day.
Here is a guide to strength training for runners.
When you have achieved shorter goals then it’s time to make a big picture plan!
Perhaps run a marathon is on your list? :)
This Ultimate Guide on How to Train for a Marathon then is what you will want to glance at to start thinking about all that it entails.
Half Marathons are also such a fun milestone to train for and complete!
It doesn’t have to be complicated but turn your running into a routine.
Think of all those little things that take just a bit of time but make a huge impact on your ability to get out the door and go for a run!
Here are some ideas:
When you are ready to run you don’t want to waste time deciding what to listen to.
Silence and the meditative, rythmic pounding of your feet really give your subconscious the time to work through your troubles - whether you are aware of them or not. ;)
We are so blessed to be able to have the ability to go out the door and run for a couple of miles!
It is such a powerful antidote to all of life's little struggles.
Don't take it for granted and enjoy every minute!
Here are some thoughts on where to start:
Carbohydrates fuel the runner especially when you are long distance running.
However this does not mean processed carbs such as donuts, cereal, white rice, white bread, etc.
Opt for complex carbohydrates and your nutrition and performance will be greatly enhanced!
Think brown rice, quinoa, oats, fruits, and veggies to name a few.
Running tips for beginners includes healthy eating! So really give this some thought and take some time to fuel your body as a runner should.
At least 80% of the food you eat should nourish and fuel your body.
The other 20% of your food can be for your sanity and indulgement. ;)
We all need celebratory/treat/cheat meals every once in a while.
Some people can get away with more or less so it takes a bit of figuring out to find what works best for you especially as you begin your journey as a runner.
Doing so will enhance your running performance, provide energy and recovery.
Set out healthy choices on your counters. Include lots of fruit bowls and even cut up veggies to snack and fuel up on throughout the day.
Keep the healthier options showcased in the front of the pantry and fridge and you will be much more likely to eat that versus the Oreos that are hiding in the dark corners.
If you keep those cookies on the counter, that’s what you are going to be craving all day and you are more than likely going to not resist them depending on your sweet-tooth threshold! :)
You are going to find yourself a lot hungrier as you increase your activity level especially when beginning such a vigorous activity like running.
All running tips for beginners should mention having a go-to snack on hand that is filling, fueling, and healthy!
I love these protein poppers that gives you some protein as well as healthy complex carbs in the oats.
Basically, you want to be strategic about the staying well hydrated before you even begin running but especially during and after.
Water dense foods are largely fruits and vegetables. We should be eating lots of them anyways! :)
If you want to be a runner well you have to...run.
The best way to build your running fitness and Vo2max is to get miles in and get very comfortable at running shorter mileage runs.
Build slowly even if you are including only half a mile to 1 extra mile every 2 weeks to a month!
As we mentioned previously, this strategy allows for growth but also does not increase your chances of becoming injured.
By the way, here is a guide to all things running-injury related.
Build up to running for 20 minutes, then 30, and 40 before you begin to focus on running 1 mile, then 2 and 3 miles.
Maybe you want to be a recreational runner, a morning runner, a competitive runner, a strong runner, a fast runner.
Whatever it is, visualize yourself doing exactly what you want to become and you will increase your chances ten-fold.
Also, your brain will pick up on those ques and will naturally begin to associate with those visuals.
It can be hard to keep moving, going step after step, but always come back to being aware of your breathing.
If you are breathing too fast and too hard maybe slow it down.
If you feel as if your breathing isn’t labored enough then feel free to pick up the pace.
Take deep breaths to recover faster.
Just remember, always keep breathing. Here are some more tips for breathing when running.
And onto running tips for beginners #29...
Once you have built your running volume (total weekly mileage volume) then you can begin to focus on speed.
Speed work can be very strenuous on your body which is why you want to make sure you are comfortable with running before attempting to add in speed training.
To begin on speed work first start by adding in faster-paced “strides” to the end of your runs, 2x per week.
Start with one stride and work up to 10 strides over the course of several weeks.
You can find more information on strides on this page of Running Workouts Guide.
Smiling relaxes you and releases feel good hormones. It takes the edge off of stress!
This is one of my favorite running tips for beginners!
Choose the variation of run/walk interval that works best for you - 1 minute of running, 1 minute of walking, or 5 minutes of running, 1 minute of walking, etc.
Slowly build to cut out the walking breaks a little at a time.
And now, the 33rd running tips for beginners...
Now is the time to learn what good running form is before habits are made.
Watch some running form videos, have someone take a video of you running and analyze what you are doing right or wrong.
If you missed it earlier, here is a page on how to have good running form.
Posture is everything to run faster, have great form and reduce upper body soreness.
It will also save you and your body in the long run. (Pun maybe not intended. ;)
Especially if you plan on staying healthy, active and injury free for years to come, stretching is imperative!
Your body can become so incredibly tight that you must get in the habit of lengthening your muscles. after all the muscle contraction with each step you take while running.
A good guideline to use as a beginner/recreational runner is to keep your heart rate between 50-75% for heart healthy running.
Here is a good chart for guidance:
It’s easy for them to start a hike up to your ears.
Especially if you are beginning to feel sluggish do a quick shoulder check. This becomes more important as you begin to run longer and longer mileage.
Focus on moving your arms forward and backwards instead of across the front of your body.
Runners have all different types and styles of arm swings so don't get to hung up on this, just realize that is a more efficient way to move and in the end do what feels comfortable to you!
Don’t focus on taking big steps, rather take small, little steps.
You will have better form, less impact will be transferred to the rest of your body, and you will go faster!
This is called, "overstriking" and places a significant amount of impact and stress on the rest of your body.
It also can be a cause of injury, especially shin splints.
Focus on landing your foot directly under your body.
Remember to keep your head and spine aligned all the way to your hips and lean slightly forward to let gravity have almost pull you up the hill.
Don't double over though and cause running uphill to be harder than it needs to be.
If you want to sprint at the finish or at the end of a run, then one of the greatest running tips for beginners is to pick those knees UP!
However you can’t keep this up for long, it requires a lot of energy to sprint as fast as possible like this.
So if you want to go the distance, save your energy and keep those knees lower and raise them when you just need that extra burst of speed.
Consistency is key to becoming a runner.
You can’t run just once a week and expect to feel great and have your body adapt to running.
Give your body a run 3 times a week and then cross train on the other 1-2 days.
This will allow your body to make adjustments in transforming you into a fit runner!
Recap: Running tips for beginners #43 - CONSISTENCY!
If you have trouble with consistency then sign up for a short, local race, perhaps a 2 miler or 5k and then work up to 10K training.
Schedule your training runs on the calendar and make it a non-negotiable.
After all you're putting money on the table. :)
Start only with the running essentials.
There are so many cool running gadgets and trendy devices, tools and clothes.
To start though, all you need are some shoes, an outfit (yes, you only need one to just get going) and some nutritious fuel.
Here's a list of running gear that you might be interested in as you really begin to commit to being a runner.
Opt for polyester (wickable, breathable) vs. cotton clothing to keep your body cooled and the sweat away.
Running tips for beginners includes talking about clothing...
Rest days do not mean no physical activity whatsoever.
Keep these days low-key, focused and relaxed by:
Pull your abs in to take pressure off of your back while you are running.
Especially if you are running longer distances or maybe have some extra weight to lose, pulling your belly button in towards your spine will give you back a break from doing all of the work and will help prevent a backache.
(Actually do this throughout your entire day! Make those abs work for you!)
Abs are a very important running tips for beginners and can help significantly with your backaches!
Run on softer surfaces as you begin your running journey.
This will allow you to reduce the amount of impact that your body feels.
Start by running on a treadmill, track or even the grass which generally give you less impact and more absorption than running on the roads.
Remember that treadmills take away the outside elements of wind, terrain, temperature, etc. and you might find that you can run faster on a treadmill versus outside.
Therefore by setting your treadmill incline to a level 1 you mimic a just a bit more the outside terrain. Your effort level will go up just a bit as well just as it would when running outside.
They are not created equal although treadmills are extremely beneficial to a runner!
A good rule of thumb is to dress for 10 degrees warmer than the thermometer actually says.
Your body will heat up quickly and it’s important to keep it regulated.
Always dress in layers that you can shed.
If you become hot, pour water over your head, cool off your neck and the insides of your wrists.
This will help bring your body temperature down.
If it’s cold outside, breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.
This will allow your body to warm the cold, dry air that you are breathing in before it hits your lungs.
Running in cold weather can be such a pleasure if you are dressed right!
As the saying goes, there is no such thing as better just bad clothing choices.
An easy way to ruin a perfectly good run is by not bringing along the right cold weather gear.
Always wear a hat to keep those ears warm and prevent the wind from whipping right through you!
P.S. I usually wear a hat and gloves if it's 45 degrees or below. It's good to have a temperature threshold to go by. What's yours?
P.S.S. This is my favorite running hat for cold weather!
If you chafe easily, use body glide or Vaseline.
Put it on before you run and then actually enjoy your run and that feel-good-soreness without the chafing afterwards!
Some areas to rub it on are your thighs, nipples, and bra line.
Blisters are a very common problem amongst beginner runners.
Some times it just takes time for your body to adjust and build up callouses to the areas where your blisters like to appear.
Trust me know, the more you run the less often you will experience blisters. (It's been years since I've had one!)
If you are suffering from a blister though, duck tape works like a charm over them. Moleskin and Vitamin E oil also work wonders!
Every run should have a purpose whether it is to build your weekly volume, your speed, do a slow recovery run, etc.
Give each of your runs a goal/reason to perform them. When you are being intentional with your running goals and the reason as to why you are running each run, then you are much more likely to stay motivated and accountable!
Recap on running tips for beginners #57 - Have a PURPOSE!
A mantra is a word or phrase that you can repeat to yourself during a run to keep yourself motivated, or to remember your goals, or to help define that run.
They are very helpful in improving your mental running game!
Running is a vigorous exercise and it’s important to give your body that much needed sleep to allow for recovery and change to happen.
If you haven’t already, begin a night time routine to help you wind down and make a goal to sleep for at least 7 hours every night.
Sleep is one of the best things you can give your body as a runner (it can even be more important than your nutrition!).
It really can make or break your success as a runner!
Running tips for beginners must include good sleep.
Run against the traffic so oncoming cars can see you and so that you can see them.
Be careful going around corners though as a car won’t generally be able to see you until starts turning towards you.
Always let someone know where you are going, how far you are running and a general time of when you should be back.
Even if you live by yourself, get in the habit of texting someone or just leaving a note on your counter. Safety comes first for running tips for beginners!
Find a place where you can draw inspiration from:
Set a timer on your phone to go off 30 minutes prior to a run so that you can begin to shift gears and get your head in the game.
It will also make it less likely that you will skip through “forgetfulness”. How's that for running tips for beginners?
Every once in a while, schedule a fitness test into your running to see where your running fitness is at.
If you can run 1.5 miles without stopping then you can test now!
Otherwise check in on that Vo2max value on your smart watch (I’m partial to the FitBit)to see if you are improving.
Remember, the higher the Vo2max number is, the more fit you are!
If you feel pain starting in any area then focus on stretching those muscles and building strength through exercises that target those muscle groups.
Get compression socks/tights for your legs!
They help to pump that blood but also provide recovery relief and prevent soreness after runs.
If you are finding that you lack energy to run then look at your nutrition.
Are you getting enough complex carbohydrates, do you need to take supplements(here are some that I recommend for runners) or maybe get your coffee in beforehand?
Before you reach for the ibuprofen here are some alternatives to try:
Write a quote, tip, or tape a picture of something that speaks to you in a visible spot as a reminder of why you want to continue running.
Stop and think about what is going right in your running world and what needs to be tweaked.
A good time to do this is when you are running. Are you seeing improvement? Change?
Maybe it’s a literal Saturday morning donut run.
Or a Thanksgiving race every year.
Or doing a sunrise run on at least one morning of each vacation that you take.
These little running memories will hard wire you to continue to love running.
This is the best of all the running tips for beginners!
There will be times that you are training for a race or just need to lose some weight but it can still be fun and definitely enjoyable!
Find new routes, choose a healthy reward for yourself for passing milestones, try new foods, new places, make new friends, and relish all of the new experiences!
I'll send you my free 24 Hour Timeline Checklist of Things You Should Do After a Long Run when you sign up!