So you want to start to run?
Most people experience a learning curve when it comes to running. Some give up before they get past it, missing out on a life-changing experience.
Others persevere through the hard part in the beginning. They come out of it completely in love with running. We hope you’ll be one of those people. Once you run your first race, you’ll feel so elated and proud of yourself, you’ll sign right up for the next race and continue on…hopefully forever.
Aside from loving the exercise, here are some of the top benefits of running:
- Your heart gets healthier: Cardiovascular diseases plagued 48% of America’s population in 2019. So reducing that risk is no small matter.
- You build muscle: Your core, thighs, and calves will become defined and (dare I say?) ripped.
- You’ll lose weight: Accompanied by a healthy diet, the level of calories burned will help you burn fat and trim your waistline.
- You’ll get the runner’s high: It’s not a myth. Running has been proven to relieve symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression.
- You’ll reduce your risk of cancer: by maintaining regular hormone levels, speeding digestion, and keeping up a healthy weight, running will reduce your risk of several cancers.
Ready to learn the fundamentals of running and where to begin?
We’re going to look at:
- The 7 Main Obstacles Newbie Runners Face (and How To Tackle Them)
- The 5 Top Running Tips For Beginners From Expert Coaches!
Let’s jump in!
Obstacles When You Start to Run and How to Overcome Them
It’s always better to get specific. When I mentioned “learning curve” at the beginning of this article, I’m referring to specific obstacles that beginner runners must overcome.
Here are the 7 main challenges you’ll encounter:
Whether it’s an early morning or a tired afternoon after work, you’ll often find you lack running motivation and find it hard to get yourself out the door.
Solution: Remember the great feeling you had the last time you ran. Think of that sense of accomplishment, the fresh air, the beautiful scenery…and use that to motivate yourself when your will is down.
#2: No Clear Goals
Many people start out on a track and just run as long as they can, without a solid plan.
All too often, “running as long as you can” doesn’t work out.
Because your brain tells your body it is more tired than it thinks. You’re more likely to give up before you should.
Solution: Download a training plan that will guide on how long and how far you should run each day of the week.
Start simple. Aim to run 3 days a week. See if you can run 2 miles every training day. Build from there.
- Related: Side Stitch While Running
#3: Finding Time to Run
This obstacle often directly ties to a lack of motivation.
But for those with busy careers, small children, or numerous hobbies, it can be hard to find a schedule and stick to it.
Solution: Work out a recurring schedule. If you tend to feel too tired at the end of the day, set your alarm and commit to waking up earlier.
Decide how much time you need to run so you can set an accurate schedule.
#4: Not Knowing What Gear to Buy
You’re probably one of two kinds of people:
1. You race to the nearest Adidas outlet and buy out the store
2. Your grandpa’s old pair of sneakers and a cotton t-shirt will do the trick
Solution: Neither one is necessary for a beginner runner. Finding the right balance can make all the difference when you’re starting out.
The number one thing to buy is a pair of good sneakers. Beyond that, avoid cotton clothing and replace it with moisture-wicking fabric like Spandex or Nylon.
The best way to choose your gear is to get started. As you get into running, you’ll think of things you need along the way (for example, a better pair of earbuds, a hands-free device for your phone, a belt for nutrition supplies…etc.)
#5: Not Knowing How to Train
Should you run every day?
Should you give it your all on the first day or wait a week or two?
What does “cross-training” involve?
Solution: You’ll find plenty of training guides and free plans in our blog section.
When you begin running, it’s easy to get carried away and burn out quickly.
Just like anything else in life, running is best if you approach it in a sustainable way.
Which means you should start slow, follow a plan, and make gradual improvements.
Be aware, new runners might experience a case of runner’s itch!
#6: You Get Tired Too Fast
This is the tough one. We all start out with enthusiasm to match a Disney character, but dealing with our body’s limitations can be tough.
Solution: Set realistic goals for yourself that are possible to achieve, while still stretching you and making you improve. Focus on your achievements rather than your weaknesses.
Spend some time learning how to run without getting tired.
#7: Sore Muscles
We’ve all been there. After an over-vigorous training session (especially in the beginning), waking up to that painful sensation is not fun.
Solution: Proper stretching and recovery is an essential part of running. Without it, injuries happen, motivation is lost, and training gets delayed.
- Related: How Much Walking for Weight Loss?
Running Tips for Beginners from 5 Marathon Experts
Now that you’ve found a few obstacles you identified with, it’s time to learn how to knock them out of the park.
We’ve gathered tips and advice from 5 different running coaches, multiple marathon finishers, and fitness educators to give you everything you need to start running today.
1. Get fitted for a good pair of running shoes
“Get fitted for a pair of shoes at your local run shop!
It is a fun process and gives you the opportunity to ask all the questions you have to the staff, which is usually comprised of experienced runners.
They’ll analyze your gait and bring out shoes specific to your running style. Having the right shoe elevates the whole running experience and also motivates you to get out there!”
2. Make a schedule and start out slow.
“Make a schedule. It’s beneficial to set aside 30 minutes three days a week to run when you’re getting started. Stick to the days you set aside and don’t let anything distract you.
Start slow. Running is hard and if you’re just starting out, you’re probably not going to stick to it if it’s awful the first week. Try going for a brisk walk for 30 minutes and when you feel comfortable, add a jog for a few minutes. The goal is to keep moving and get your body used to it.
Running can be a long and difficult process so it’s important to stay motivated. Find a running partner, register for a beginner 5k, or download a 5k training plan. Whatever you have to do to keep going. It gets easier but you have to commit to getting there.”
Jeff Parke, Owner of Top Fitness Magazine, expert in fitness, nutrition, weight loss, and motivation
3. Find ways to make running more fun for you.
If you are not used to physical exercise, you should start exercising every other day.
Keep the workout length at around 30 minutes.
Find a workout location that you like.
Exercise with a friend or join some adventures to make it more fun.
Set some targets to achieve. For example, you can run three times a week for five kilometers in your first week.
Tips provided by Natalie Cocconi, avid runner and fitness trainer at Running Outfitters.
4. Set limits and don’t compare yourself to others.
“Whatever works for you may not for the other party. Since we all have different health systems, some may be better performers than others with the same training and exercise over a given time.
When I was coaching a group of sixteen junior trainees in 2018, for example, some of them quit the training after two months after realizing their counterparts were doing much better than them even with the same training.
If you think exercising with others doesn’t work for you, do it alone provided you are doing the right thing. So do what works for you and never let peer pressure come into domination.”
Jenna, Co-founder of Putterball and fitness coach.
5. Develop a healthy relationship with running.
“If you’re running for the right reasons, ones that you get to choose, and you have ideas what success looks like, ones that you define, then the process—the strenuous workouts, the tough races, the personal bests—can all be incredibly fulfilling and help you become good at running and enjoy doing it.
Do all of the little things: Eat healthy and drink a lot of water.
Get plenty of sleep.
Develop a stretch routine.
Consider incorporating bodyweight strength work like planks and pull-ups into your routine. These extra activities can help you avoid injury and run long into your life.
Lastly, and maybe most importantly, find balance with running. Having a healthy relationship with running can be a difficult task to master and it’s different for everyone.
Running should be invigorating: not that it won’t tire you out, because it will. But running has the potential to bolster other aspects of your life, as long as you allow it to.
Running can be as complex or as simple as you need in order to seek enjoyment and cultivate both physical health and mental wellbeing.”
Jack Bolas, Professional Running Coach at Tagalong and USATF Registered Coach.
Now it’s time to try it all out.
With all these tips on how to get into running, you have no choice but to start to run. Download your free training plan, customize it to fit your schedule, and then head for the nearest park.
Enjoy your run!