Running Tips for Beginners: Top Tips
If you’re starting training for your first ever major run, you’ll could do with as many running tips for beginners as you can get your hands on! Especially if you’ve never properly attempted running before in your life.
But that doesn’t mean you should be disheartened about giving it a go – everybody needs to start somewhere!
The Running Bee Foundation aims to promote active, healthy lifestyles by making profits from all our amazing running events available to community causes in the fight against childhood obesity. So when it comes to running tips for beginners, we like to think we know what we’re talking about!
But, if you are worried about making the right moves as you begin your running journey, here are a few things that might help you out.
Below are our top 5 running tips for beginners:
Eat & drink well
Let’s get the obvious one out of the way first…
You can dive head-first into your training and push yourself as hard as you want (actually, don’t do that – we’ll discuss this in the next point) but if you aren’t matching your new training plan with a good base diet then there’s a good chance all of your hard work could be for nothing.
The body is like a well-oiled machine; you can work it for days and months on end, but if you aren’t treating it as well as you should be, sooner or later it’s going to conk-out on you!
Now, when you’re just starting out, you don’t need to go as in-depth as some of the more hardcore runners you may have spotted at some of our running events – professional athletes and avid runners often control every aspect of their diet religiously – but eating healthily is still important.
First of all, cut WAY down on your desserts and unnecessary sugars. If you enjoy a sweet treat after a meal, try switching to fruit or another healthy alternative.
Nuts like almonds can be great for this too – eating just a few portions of almonds per week has been shown to lower cholesterol levels and is a fantastic source of Vitamin E which helps support the immune system.
Beyond this, cutting down your general daily carb intake and focusing more on lean proteins (chicken, fish) and veggies can be good for weight loss, but carbs are still essential and provide a good source of energy.
On training days, increase your healthy carb intake to keep your energy levels topped up, but don’t overdo it! Otherwise the energy that doesn’t get burned off in your run will begin to get stored as fat.
Pace yourself & build your way up
As much as people like to preach about “Natural” or “God-Given Talent” nobody was born a world champion.
Every bit of excellence you see in your favourite athletes, or anybody with a trained skill, is a result of endless hours of dedication to their craft.
And guess what? When they started, they were probably a bit useless too!
So when you begin putting one foot in front of the other for the first time, remember to take it slow and steady at the beginning to gage where you’re at with your stamina levels.
There’s no point setting out on a sprint from the word ‘Go’ and burning yourself out after two minutes, or less! This won’t teach you anything.
Start out at a light jogging pace, or maybe even a walk if you feel like you’re struggling. There’s no shame whatsoever in taking it easy at first.
Then, as the weeks pass, you’ll find everything start to get a little easier…
Your breathing (don’t forget to breathe!) will be much more relaxed.
Your legs will feel stronger and start to burn less.
Your joints and muscles will feel less stiff and much more flexible as you move.
As you grow in confidence and fitness, you’ll be able to gradually up your pace.
Eventually you’ll be running freely at a pace you never thought possible before you started, hopefully fatigue-free!
Remember: Slow and steady wins the race!
Don’t forget recovery time
It can be so easy to get in from a long, hard day’s training and want to head straight back out first thing the next day.
It really becomes an addiction!
But you must remember that good recovery time is just as important, if not more important, than a good training session.
Why bother putting in all that work if you damage yourself beyond repair?! In fact, a lack of proper recovery time dramatically increases your chances of picking up a serious injury.
If you’ve really pushed yourself, take a 24 hour gap between training sessions and allow your body the time it needs to get back in ship-shape.
Other than this, there are numerous ways you can give your body a nudge in the right direction.
Staying hydrated is a must – the major muscle groups can’t function at all without the right amount of water. Drink plenty and replenish your body.
Ice baths are also an interesting choice, but are usually reserved for the more devastating and arduous sessions. They might feel like death at first, but your body will thank you for it later!
Then again a regular bath with Epsom salts is still an alternative. This will help your muscles feel refreshed & rearing to go!
But out of all these options, arguably the most important is getting a good night’s sleep. Give your batteries plenty of hours to recharge naturally!
Warm up & cool down
Preparation is key. And when it comes to running events, you’d better be sure you’re putting in the appropriate warming up and cooling down time.
That’s right – it’s not enough to just get your body ready pre-race, you need to help your body return to a natural state after a race as well.
That means, before heading out on a training session, get your body and your muscles prepared for the task at hand with some light exercises. A light jog, or even jogging on the spot, is enough to get the blood flowing to all the right places.
Some light stretching before a run is ok, just not too much – stretching is much more effective after a run than before as the muscles are already prepared for the process.
Don’t push yourself too hard when stretching after a run, though. The whole point of this exercise is to relax your body and muscles and ensure you’ve done as much as you can let your body repair itself and avoid injury.
There are countless stretches to choose from, so make sure you put in some research to find the best ones for you!
Not all running tips for beginners are about the physical side of running…
Whenever somebody takes up a new hobby or a new sport, they’re always filled with motivation and a new sense of drive and desire.
But, in the majority of cases, it doesn’t take very long for that feeling to disappear.
In fact, studies have shown that most people drop out of practicing a new sport within the first two weeks, for a variety of reasons.
One main reason is the dedication and hard work required makes that sense of motivation slowly fade.
So how do we escape this? There are a few things we can do:
Firstly, surround yourself with like-minded people who want the best for you. Who drive you. Who convince you constantly that you can achieve great things if you just put the work in!
Running as part of a group is the perfect solution! If you begin to fall, your fellow runners will be there to catch you, offer words of encouragement and set you back on the right path.
The Running Bee Foundation ensures people like this have the right funding to help make a difference in their own lives and the lives of others.
Think you could benefit from our help?