Are you a new runner and looking for running tips for beginners? If so, then it will be great to know that every experienced runner out there started as a beginner and at some point, they took their first step. Every journey begins with a single step.
Running Tips for Beginners
There are a few key guidelines to keep in mind when embarking upon a running regiment. The following tips will help set you on the right path to becoming an efficient runner.
Here are my Top 10 running training tips, in no particular order:
1. Log It
Keep a log of all your runs. There is no need to write War and Peace here, but keeping a log can quickly help you see what is working in your training and what clearly isn’t. Keep track of variables such as: time of day; temperature; meals before your run; time of last meal; how you felt on the run; any niggles; effort level; time; and so on. It is always useful to return to your logs during the subsequent years, where you may have forgotten about something that aided performance previously. They are also a great way to gauge your improvement over time.
2. Mix it up
Unless you are recovering from an injury, or are looking to build an endurance base, then you should be mixing up your training for the best improvements. Too many runners run all of their training runs at a similar pace over a similar distance. This quickly leads to a plateau being reached, and ultimately regression, where performance actually goes backwards. Even beginners can use a small amount of speed work in the form of a fartlek session, for example. Fartleks means “Speed Play” in Swedish, and involves interspersing slow with fast running. These repeats can be between physical objects (like lampposts or trees), or timed. There does not need to be any structure to the session, just have fun with it. As runners become used to the stresses on the body, then incorporating repeats would be the next step.
3. Lube Up
Always lube up where the sun don’t shine. This includes between the toes on very long runs, where the slightest blister or bit of chafing can affect performance vastly. Vaseline is always the first thing packed in my race kit.
4. Mimic the Course
If you are training for a particular event, and are not familiar with the route, try and get access to the profile from the race website or organizer. Once you have this, map out a training run that is similar to your race route’s profile, but over a shorter distance. For example, if you are training for a hilly marathon, have a look where the hills are located? If they are towards the end of the run, then your 20-mile long run should also incorporate hills at the end. Likewise, if the hills are located throughout the course, then you need to select an undulating route for your 20-miler (s). This will give you a massive mental boost and build confidence, knowing that you have already run a similar profile in training.
5. Practice Hydration and Feeding on your Long Runs
Another sure way to come to a grinding halt is to try something new on race day. This not only applies to your shoes and kit, but also your hydration and feeding regime, which should be practiced during long training runs. If you are using gels, for example, even changing brands at the last moment could have a detrimental effect on your time. Try various feeding strategies on your long runs, and then make a note in your log of what is working for you, and then stick to it.
6. Don’t do too much too soon
In order to get the reward, you have to put the work in. However, in endurance sports, this means building up slowly. For running, you should not increase your weekly mileage by more than 10% from one week to the next. Most of this is added to your weekend long run. Doing too much too soon will lead to over-training, and ultimately, injury. If you are coming back from an injury, the same applies.
7. Rest Often
Make the most out of your rest days. A lot of runners seem to think that training will make them stronger and better, but it does not. Training actually breaks your body down; and it is the recovery and rest that makes you stronger. Take at least one day a week off and put your feet up.
8. See the Bigger Picture
Try not to become too focused or paranoid about your training schedule, particularly if you have stressful work and family commitments. Whilst running is one of the best stress-busters out there, you may want to cut back on your mileage if you are going through a temporarily difficult period. There will be plenty of time to make it up.
In order to start the recovery process after your runs, try and eat a snack within the first 30 minutes of stopping exercise. You may not feel hungry, particularly after a tough speed session, but a little carbohydrates and protein will quicken recuperation in your body. My personal favorite is a banana followed by chocolate-flavored milk. The beer can wait 5 minutes.
10. Head for the Hills
As humans we naturally follow the path of easiest resistance. In running, in order to make the biggest gains, we have to go against that, and choose to seek out the hills or mountains in life. Running up and down hills will make every runner stronger, even if you are training for a race that is pancaking flat.
It is far better to build up the endurance first, and then add the speed later. There is a lot of benefit in speed workouts, but these carry additional injury risks if your body is not accustomed to them. Once you start to train for your first 10km or half-marathon race, one of these sessions can be added per week. For now, just focus on taking those first few steps, and do not worry about pace at all.
As always, your comments are appreciated.
Dr. Atif writes health articles for body pain tips. His articles have appeared in a number of e-zine sites, including EzineArticles, ArticlesBase and HubPages. Learn more about how Dr. Atif’s health articles by visiting his blog at Body Pain Tips