7 Tips for Starting a Running Routine for Beginners
Regardless of your running goals, creating a training plan and sticking to it can be just as difficult as the run itself. While running might seem pretty straightforward, there’s a whole lot that goes into crafting a running plan that keeps you motivated and engaged for weeks and months on end.
The task is even more daunting for new runners as you try to navigate conflicting advice on how you should plan your runs. To get you started, we’ve put together this list of the best running tips for beginners.
1. Start small
Out of all the tips on how to start running, this one is perhaps the most important: start small. If you’re feeling super motivated to get out and run, it’s easy to get a little too ambitious with your training plan, scheduling long runs right off the bat. As a result, you may run too much in the beginning weeks of your training program, which could lead to injuries and burnout down the line.
Therefore, it’s generally best for new runners to get into the sport gradually. The key is to incrementally increase your weekly mileage by no more than 10% from week to week.
So, if you start by running 10 miles in a week, your next week’s volume should be a 10% increase from that number or 11 miles. This might not seem like much, but it’s imperative if you want to avoid injuries as you train.
2. Get a quality pair of running shoes
When you’re new to running, it’s easy to get so wrapped up in analyzing different training strategies that you overlook your most essential piece of gear: your shoes.
A poorly fitting pair of running shoes can easily make or break your jogging experience, leaving you discouraged and frustrated before you even get started. To help ensure that your new routine gets off without a hitch, consider investing in a solid pair of running shoes that fit well before you hit the pavement – your feet will thank you later.
3. Never skip the warm-up
More often than not, casual runners will lace up their shoes and immediately head outside to start their daily run. While this might be the most efficient way to stick to a running routine if you’re short on time, it’s not exactly a great tactic if you want to perform at your best.
In fact, warming up before a run through 10 to 15 minutes of dynamic stretching, walking and slow jogging can make a huge difference when it comes to increasing your performance and decreasing your risk of injury in the long-term.
4. Mix up your runs
We love our routines because they’re familiar and comfortable. But, running the same route every day is a sure-fire way to introduce boredom into your training regimen.
One of the biggest challenges for new runners is staying motivated, and much of this motivation comes from having fresh, new routes to run regularly. Now, we’re not saying that you need to pick out a completely new route every day, but mixing it up sometimes by incorporating new locations, hills or even trail runs can keep you on your toes.
5. Consider cross-training
It’s also important for runners to incorporate other modes of exercise into their routine to help train other muscles that might not get much of a workout as you cruise down the pavement.
Adding in other forms of exercise, like cycling, swimming, weight lifting, paddling and hiking, to your routine can also help alleviate some of the stress that high-impact exercises like running have on your body.
6. Focus (a bit) on form
Any experienced runner will happily wax poetic about the finer points of proper running form. Although we certainly can’t argue that good form is critical for runners (it definitely is), it’s important that you don’t get too concerned with your form when you’re just starting out.
If you’re completely starting from scratch and don’t have much experience running, it’s worth watching some tutorials online or consulting a running coach to help you nail down the basics.
Doing some form drills from time to time can make a difference to your overall performance, but keep in mind that your form will develop naturally over time. In many cases, overthinking your form in, for example, how you swing your arms, can negatively affect how your feet strike the ground.
Moral of the story? Form is important, but it’s not worth agonizing over every last detail when you’re a new runner. Instead, learn about proper form and work on improving your own, but don’t overthink it in the beginning.
7. Remember to rest
Finally, don’t forget to rest. More often than not, new runners get so jazzed at the idea of starting their training routine that they forget to build rest days into their schedule.
Rest days are critical for your body’s recovery, so skipping them can lead to burnout and injury — even for experienced runners.
As a general rule, you should aim for at least two rest days a week in the first few months of your running routine. With more experience under your belt, you can re-evaluate your rest-day needs, though you’ll generally find that you need at least one rest day and one semi-active recovery day to stay in top form.
Ready to start your new running routine?
Getting started with your new running routine doesn’t have to be an impossible task. Remember to start small and rest often to ensure that you have the best possible running experience.
Ready to run? Get moving and tag @finishline on social media on your next run!