Would you like some tips for new runners? Whether you’re thinking about starting running or have been for a while, I have some tips for you! These are things I wished I known when I first started running.
I’ve been a runner for 6 years now. It all started when I was newly separated and living on my own for the first time. My head was a mess and my confidence was rock bottom. I needed something to distract me and help me feel ‘normal’ again.
If you’re still unsure about whether to start running or not then read my blog How To Run With Couch To 5K before you decide.
I stumbled across the NHS Couch to 5K programme and knew it was something I could do. Or at least I wanted to try. It just made it seem so achievable. I even designed a training plan to stick on my fridge to keep my motivation going.
(I’ve added the training plan and tracker to my shop and they can be bought together here. The tracker is an editable PDF so you can either print it and write on it or update it on your computer/device. Whatever works for you!)
I’d tried running a few years before and would just run until my lungs felt like they were going to burst. I gave up thinking that I just wasn’t cut out to be a runner. I didn’t know there was a better way to become one. If only I’d had someone who could have given me some tips for new runners.
So without further ado, here are my tips for new runners to help you with your journey…
1. Nobody is looking at you
One of the things I had to overcome when I first started running was that I would run outside so everyone would see me. I thought people would be able to tell that I didn’t have a clue what I was doing and that I was a beginner.
I also thought they would laugh at me and judge me. So my first run was at 6am. Luckily it was in July and not the middle of winter.
I confessed my paranoia to my best friend. She reminded me that everyone is too wrapped up in their own shit to be bothered about what’s happening in other people’s lives.
She also said that if she saw a runner who was a bit pink in the face then she’d just assume that they’d run a really long way already. This actually made me feel a bit more confident.
If I see someone out running then my instinct is to cheer them on. Maybe it’s because I’m a runner or maybe it’s because I get excited when I see someone pushing themselves out of their comfort zone.
2. It doesn’t have to be expensive
You don’t need all the expensive gear in order to run. There are plenty of free apps for your smartphone that can track your run or provide you with a training plan. The NHS also have a Couch to 5K app for your iPhone here.
That said, trainers are very important. I started running in a pair of 10 year old battered trainers and my knees were not happy about it.
Luckily I had a friend at work who used to run and he said for me to get my footwear sorted pronto! I popped to my local sports shop and spent over an hour with the assistant.
She gave me a heap of trainers to put on then stuck me on their treadmill to see how they felt. I was so self conscious to begin with but then I saw the advantage of what she was making me do.
One pair of trainers made me stop before I’d even got started and I tore them off my feet. Others were fine but then I found the golden pair. The pair that made me feel as though I was running on clouds! Sold!
So go to your local sport shop and talk to the assistant. That’s an order!
3. Rest days are important so put your feet up and enjoy them
No, you’re not being lazy. No, you’re not quitting. Rest days are important to allow your body to recover and heal. If you take just one thing away from this tips for new runners blog then I want it to be this.
Make sure you don’t try to do your weeks worth of runs in just a couple of days. If you’re running 3 times a week then make sure you have a day off in between. If you run back to back then you risk getting injured. And getting injured sucks!
It also helps your mind to keep going. If you wear yourself out then running will be harder. Your brain will decide it’s too hard and convince you to quit. Don’t listen to it! Your body can keep going for a lot longer after your brain has given up.
4. Distance over time
Unless you’re Mo Farah or getting paid to run, time doesn’t matter. When you start doing races or parkrun then you’ll probably start to pay more attention to time.
When you’re ready to start increasing your miles, do it gradually to avoid injury. Don’t push your luck! There are so many training plans out there that will help you achieve whatever goals you set for yourself. Be sensible.
When you’re a beginner, it’s much more important to get out there without the pressure of how quickly you can do it. It’s all about finishing the run!
5. Walking breaks are allowed
Yes, you read that correctly. Walking during your run is allowed! Actually, it’s all part of the Couch to 5K programme.
If I’m struggling during a run, my friends voice always pops into my head saying “you’re allowed to walk for a bit, you know.” Sometimes, just walking for a minute can give me back so much energy and make the run enjoyable again.
I’ve heard stories about runners who will achieve an amazing race finish time but then beat themselves up because they walked at some point during it. Madness! They still did the miles!
During all my races I’ve walked when I’m have a drinking or shoving jelly babies into my mouth. If I try to do this and run at the same time then I’ll probably choke!
6. Hills are your friend
Hills are great for building a runner’s strength and can actually be fun too.
A wise person once said, “You don’t get better at running up hills by walking up them!” So true and something I remind myself of when I’m having a lovely run and then stumble across a big old dirty hill.
7. The most important thing to remember
It took me ages to feel confident enough to say that I was a runner. I used to say that I was trying to be a runner or I run a bit.
Let me clear this up for you. You are a runner. From day one, you are a runner. You run therefore you are a runner. Same with the whole ‘runners body’ BS. You have a body and you run therefore you have a runner’s body.
There’s no such things as a ‘real runner’. Yes there are people who get paid to do this or get sponsorships but 95% of us are normal people with jobs and lives and shit.
You. Are. A. Runner! Let me hear you say it…
I hope my tips for new runners helps. I love to hear from my community so feel free to post a comment below or get hold of me through one of the ways on my contact page and let me know how you’re doing.
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