New to running? 6 top tips to get started

If you are a newcomer to running, it’s all too easy to be overwhelmed by the breadth and depth of information out there. Our sport is the simplest form of exercise, so here are a few top tips to get you off to the best possible start.

1. Set a challenging goal

Running can be an extremely rewarding activity and we all have many different motivations to lace up and get out of the door. What drives you? When it’s raining outside, or you’ve had a tough day at work, what will compel you to pound the pavements and triumph over the trails?

It could be a distance you’d like to be able to cover without stopping, entering a race or to achieve a weight goal. Whatever it is make it specific to you.

Here are some key pointers:

  • Be specific
  • Ensure it motivates you
  • Write it down (and place it somewhere you will see it daily)
  • Don’t be afraid to re-evaluate from time to time
  • Make it fun

2. Essential equipment

It can be a bit confusing with all the modern gadgets and super fast carbon plated shoes but here are my 4 simple affordable essentials to get you up and running.
  • Running shoes: You don’t need to spent a small fortune but it is worth investing some time to research a decent pair of everyday running trainers. I would advise visiting a local running shop where you can try on a range shoes, see which feel comfortable, ask for advice and if possible try a jog on the treadmill if they have one in store.
  • Socks: they may not be top of the list but a good pair of running socks can make a difference as to whether you have happy feet or ones rubbing, sweaty and blistering.
  • Running top: Long and short sleeve, opt for a technical sweat-wicking material rather than cotton which should leave you feeling a little lighter and fresher on your run.
  • Watch: maybe not essential but as you set your goals you will want to keep a note on your times and how long you are able to run. You don’t need a top of the range watch with heart rate monitor, vertical oscillation and cadence readings (unless you’re really into all that stuff!).
Oh yeh, having been lucky enough to visit Iten, Kenya, the home of many a world champion athlete, it’s worth noting that many of them practice top level running without ANY of the above!!

3. Routine

Make a plan at the start of the week detailing the days and time you will head out for you run as this will keep you focused on getting out there to do your run. It may be that you’re an early bird and like to get out before work or perhaps you like getting out after work to burn away that excess stress of the day.

Either way don’t for get to pencil in those essential rest days to recover from the training.

4. Find a friend

Why not join a local running group or team up with another runner to help keep you motivated? Someone who can share your running experiences whether it be elation, (welcomed) pain or just some good-old banter.

It doesn’t have to be for every run but having to meet up can be really helpful to get you out the door when you are feeling tired, demotivated or when the weather is a little grim.

NOTE: This tip to be skipped during social distancing measures!!

5. Fuel and Refuel

Don’t forget to fuel well and stay hydrated, this will make running feel a whole lot more pleasant. A few basic rules you might find useful:
  • Stick to a simple breakfast that won’t upset your stomach ( porridge or toast?) You will soon work out what works best for you.
  • If eating breakfast give yourself a couple of hours to digest before heading out and leave the fry up for a day off.
  • Remember hydration is also key so plenty of fluids throughout the day. (not just tea and coffee!)
  • If you have been out running and you have a while to wait for food take a high carbohydrate snack and drink on board (maybe a banana or some toast). This will help recovery, keep you energy levels up and ready for the next workout.

6. Find a Coach

A coach doesn’t just tell an athlete how far and fast to run each day. A coach is more of a companion to help you on your journey to achieving your goals.
A coach can:
  • Give guidance with setting achievable goals.
  • Has an understanding of running and what it takes to achieve your goal
  • Has the knowledge and experience to help and support with training, nutrition S&C
  • Has a vested interest in your personal running journey
  • Will support you every step of the way
  • Will provide honest and constructive feedback
…a shameless plug, but we’re here at Run Stars to help coach any level of runner with fully tailored plans to suit your needs. Contact us for more info.