New Runner Tips
Remember when you first started running? There were so many questions to ask. What are the best shoes to wear? How much should I run? Do I take days off? What does interval training look like? What is a tempo run? What do all of these “meters” mean in terms of miles? Which lane of the track should I be running in? Does running cross country literally mean running across the country? How do I do this?
After spending time in the sport, it’s easy to answer these questions. Most of the time, we don’t even think about these questions because the answers have become so ingrained. We stick to the same shoe that’s worked for us for years. We know how many miles we can safely and comfortably average in a week. We know what a good long run is for ourselves. We know exactly how to convert meters to miles. We not only know what a tempo run is, but we know what a fartlek is and what strides are.
After knowing all we know now – if you could go back and visit the “new runner” version of yourself, what are the top tips you’d tell yourself? Reflecting on our own running, we asked ourselves this question and came up with our 4 best top tips.
- Invest in the right gear: We’re not just talking a fun colored shirt, a watch, and shorts that won’t chafe too badly. We’re talking shoes.
- It’s important to get the right pair of shoes for your individual mechanics. Head to your local running store and ask for a gait analysis. They’ll watch you run and determine which shoes work best for your running form. Although the “wrong pair” of shoes might not seem to cause harm, the right pair of shoes can help to prevent injuries.
- Patience is key: running can be really hard when you first start. It might feel frustrating because it seems like you’ll never get to where you want to be. With a little patience and a lot of focus, the work you put in will pay off.
- We recommend starting off your runs by focusing on either running a certain distance or running for a certain amount of time. But do not do both. The pace you are running should not matter as you begin running. Take your time and take it slow. Your body will thank you later.
- Build up your mileage gradually. Jumping into an overly high amount of mileage is just asking for an injury. Part of being patient is taking the time to slowly build up mileage so your body can adjust and recover along the way. You’ll be surprised how quickly you can improve on this matter if you start slowly and smartly.
- Non-running running-related activities are just as important as running: rest days & strength training.
- Rest days are an important part of training. When we run, micro tears occur in our muscles. Rest days allow our muscles time to rebuild and recover. Not only does this reduce the risk of overusing your muscles and prevent injuries, but the rebuilding part of the cycle is when muscle improvements actually occur. Rest days also provide a mental benefit. It can be emotionally exhausting to always be “on”, to be sharp, and to be focused. With a mentally demanding sport like running, it’s important to give our mind an off day every once in awhile as well as our bodies.
- Strength training plays a major role in injury prevention. Muscle weakness and imbalances are the primary cause of many running related injuries. Incorporating the right type of strength training into your schedule can help prevent these issues from coming up in the first place. Stronger legs, stronger core, and better balance creates better form, and good form prevents injuries.
- Find a running community: running doesn’t have to be a solo sport.
Running can feel like it’s just you, your shoes, your watch, and the pavement. Some days this is a nice and peaceful feeling. But other times running can feel like a lonely sport, and it’s hard to stay focused when you’re feeling lonely. The good news is that you can always find a running community! A running community can give you accountability, motivation, helpful advice, and sometimes make running feel safe. But most importantly, running communities can introduce you to life long friends. You can find these types of groups on platforms like Strava and Facebook, as well as through your local gyms, running shops, and running clubs. We heavily encourage everyone to get involved into their local running communities because it makes the sport all around more fun!
There are many questions to ask as a new runner and hundreds of different answers to receive. While we think these are valuable tips we’d give our younger selves, we thought we’d also ask some friends what they wish they had known when they started running:
- Keep your toe nails short
- Snot rockets are the only way to properly blow your nose on a run
- Always add a few degrees to the temp to figure out what to wear for a run
- Cross country does not mean running across the country
- 1600 meters is not a mile but 1609 meters is….gym class was a lie
- Try out a variety of race distance because “I now know I’m a distance runner, not a sprinter”
- It’s actually important to warm up before a workout or race
- Half tights under shorts are a great way to feel more comfortable if “short shorts” aren’t your thing
- If “short shorts” are your thing….wearing tights/half tights under shorts is just extra laundry
- Body glide!!!
- Learn where all the bathrooms are along your local running routes
- Running as fast as you can every day is not how you get faster
- There is no such thing as “magical” workouts or weekly mileage
- If your joints hurt, they’re asking for a new pair of shoes
- Overall, always be grateful for being able to run
As always, we encourage you to ask your coach or your community any running related questions you may have! They may seems silly, but we’ve all had them.