The 8 Best Tips for Beginner Runners

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Running is a great way to stay in shape or even lose weight if you wish, but a lot of people just don’t know where to start. I have been distance running for eight years, and while not the fastest person ever, I do have some words of wisdom to share for beginners. Check out my 8 very best tips below.

 

1.) Start slow: one of the reasons people think running is such a daunting task is they feel the pressure to run a marathon–like tomorrow. First of all, that would be crazy, and second of all, you may never run a marathon and that’s totally fine! Starting out slow will give your body a chance to adjust and help you avoid burnout. I don’t suggest running every day to start (or ever really!) Try once or twice a week and see how you feel. The last thing you want is to get injured, so a gradual go is best!

2.) Go for distance first, then speed: I am a huge fan of the Jeff Galloway run walk run program, as well as the Couch to 5k program. Both will get you going but in a safe way. So many people think they aren’t truly a “runner” if you aren’t running the whole time, and that is simply just not true. Starting out with a run walk is not only safer for your body, but will enable you to go further distances and build up your confidence.

 

3.) Get some gear: When I first started running, I ran in cotton t-shirts and socks, which was not a pretty site in the hot and humid south. I chafed, got blisters, and was generally a miserable person to be around until I discovered the magic of running gear that fit well and helped wick sweat away from my body. Game changer! If you are comfy (and think you look awesome, too) you are more likely to stick with it! Here are a couple of my current favorites: Mizuno shorts , Mizuno top, Mizuno socks.

 

4.) Plan for before and after: Keep in mind that as a runner, there is more to it than just the run itself (say what?) you need to plan for your before and after, meaning what are you fueling your body with before you run, during, and after. I always eat before I run, but I give my body time to digest. I personally prefer these protein bars or a banana and peanut butter (depending on the distance I’m running I may eat more). If I’m running over five miles I always carry hydration, and typically fuel like a GU as well (these are my favorite!) Also you will need to warm up properly before you run, cool down after your run, and stretch and foam roll.

5.) Hydrate: I already mentioned hydrating before a run, but also make sure you are drinking enough before and after your run. Especially if you live in a hot or dry climate, if you are dehydrated you won’t be able to run as far or as fast. I personally get headaches when I”m dehydrated, which isn’t fun when running. If you need to carry water on a run, consider a hydration belt or handheld water bottle.

6.) Find an accountability partner/group: Fun fact: I actually started this blog when I wanted to train for my first half marathon. I wanted an accountability journal of sorts, and knew if I started blogging and people saw it, then I would HAVE to follow through. (Psssst. If you want to start a blog too, I have a free email course that can get you started!) Anyway, look around locally for a running group to join, or ask a friend to hold you accountable at work.

 

7.) get fitted for proper shoes: When I first started running, I wanted to wear whatever shoes I thought looked the prettiest on the shelf in the store. I knew nothing about my gait, what size I should get or the specific needs of my feet. I am much wiser now and know there are certain brands that just don’t work well for me. Currently I am loving Mizuno, and more specifically the new wave rider 21. They have a premium sock liner, a re-designed mesh upper, and a softer heel counter than previous versions. I hate tight fitting middles and toe boxes, and I feel like I have plenty of room in these shoes. They are breathable and great for the neutral runner. (If you don’t know if you are a neutral runner or not, I highly recommend going to a local running shoe store and getting a gait analysis). These are my new favorites, not to mention they come in several cute colors!

8.) Don’t quit! It’s tempting to give up when you are tired, sore, and not seeing progress as quickly as you would like. This is where a lot of people will give up and say they hated running or that it was too hard. What’s sad is if they would have held on just a bit longer they probably would have been happy with their results. We live in such an instant society everyone wants things to happen RIGHT NOW but becoming a runner takes time. I can attest to the fact that it may not always be fun, it is however, totally worth it, so don’t give up just because you are one of the beginner runners!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Mizuno. The opinions and text are all mine.

Things NOT to do as a Newbie Runner

 

I started my distance running journey three years ago, and to say I have learned a lot my be the understatement of the decade. As I have mentioned before, I sometimes take for granted all of the knowledge I have gained about the sport, and forget that I , too, once was a newbie and all of this info didn’t just transfer into my brain overnight by osmosis.

With that being said, I would like to save you from some embarrassment by giving you some tips on things NOT to do as a new runner. Please keep in mind these tips are my own personal opinion, so if you don’t agree, that’s ok (or maybe you just need to re-evaluate things haha).

Don’t stop moving at the water stops: No lie, this is the best. story. ever. Probably because it involves making fun of my husband, but yall I laugh to this day thinking about it. We ran our very very very first race spring of 2009. It was an 8k out and back. I am of course a long way back from Bobby, but I can see him up ahead. I watch as he gets to the water station at the turn around, gets a cup, stops dead in his tracks,  hand on hip, drinks the cup of water, throws the cup in the trash can, and then starts running again! I wanted to die I was laughing so hard. Later, when I approached him about this, he said “I was wondering why I was the only one stopping to drink water…I had no idea you were supposed to drink on the go and then throw the cup on the ground!” I die.

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however, it is ok to stop during a full marathon to slather biofreeze on you knee.

Don’t wear new clothes for the first time on race day: I know it’s tempting to buy a new outfit at the expo and show it off during the race, but please refrain. You could be chafed in places you didn’t know chaffed, end up running in a shirt that’s ill fitting, or shorts that ride up, or shoes that give you blisters. Save the new outfit for the next race after you have trained in it.

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Don’t eat new food the night before or morning of: Especially if you have a sensitive stomach. You don’t want to be barfing on the side of the road, or stuck in a port-o-potty at mile 1 because some unfamiliar food didn’t sit right with you. Practice eating what you want to eat on race morning when you are doing training runs.

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I like to eat pizza the night before a race

Don’t start out to fast: I admittedly still struggle with this one. I just get so darn excited at the beginning of a race, and I feel so good, I can’t help myself! I know it’s tempting to take off and stay with the lead pack, but don’t. It’s much better to finish strong then to start off too fast and have to crawl across the finish line, trust me.

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dying at the finish line

Don’t dress to warmly for cold weather: Once you start running, your body will warm up, and you may wish you hasn’t worn those gloves and that heavy sweatshirt you now have to tie around your waist. Yes it sucks getting out the door in the cold, but it will be better once you get started, and may make you run faster!

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Don’t run in place at a stoplight Ever see those people at crosswalks jogging in place waiting for the light to change, well, hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it’s really not necessary. As long as the light isn’t some crazy length of time, you will be perfectly fine to just stand still while you wait for the light to change.

Don’t schedule too far of an out and back: Nothing will make you look more lame than setting out on an out and back run that is too far for you, and you lose all your steam before you get back home…and then you are stuck two miles from home and feeling like death. If you aren’t sure you can cover the distance, do two shorter out and back loops so if something does happen you won’t be as far from home.

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Don’t forget to plan a family meet up area: Let’s face it, some races are HUGE, and it can be tough to reunite with family and friends at the finish line, especially if you are about to pass out from your race. Have a pre determined meet up spot so you can easily reconnect and celebrate afterwards.

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and my biggest tip for newbies (which irks me the most)

Don’t wear the race shirt to run the race: Personal opinion, but I think it’s bad luck to wear a race shirt during the actual race, unless your luggage got lost, or your baby threw up on your other shirt, or something of that nature. The shirt is stating that you completed said race, so how can you wear it when you HAVEN’T finished it yet? I’m really not sure why but this one bugs me!

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My Centrum ProNutrients winner is KIM from Living Domestically! please e mail me with your shipping address and which ProNutrient product you would like.  congrats!

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Yesterday I ran 5 miles, did weights and 25 minutes elliptical. I’m coming back baby!

QOTD: What tip would you tell a newbie runner, something for them NOT to do?