A Guide For Newbie Runners
Updated: Jan 7, 2019
By Britney Menter
My running journey started when I was 13 years old and a freshman in high school. I was tall, skinny and completely uncoordinated. I had been told by my volleyball coach that I may want to try a different sport after missing every single ball that came my way for the first week.
I lived in a small town and ran into the cross country coach at a barbecue just before school started. He asked me about my plans for the fall and if I was playing any sports. When I explained my volleyball fail and he said: "Have you thought about running?"
No, of course, I hadn't. Until then, running had been part of conditioning for a sport, sometimes even a punishment in gym class. With some encouragement from my parents, I showed up at the next practice for cross country. I ended up loving every second of being on that team.
The main thing I learned is that the big thing holding people back from running is that they haven't learned to be comfortable being uncomfortable. That's the biggest hurdle. Running is a mind game.
Now as an adult, I'm not racing anyone, or keeping a pace and no one is making me do it, but it's still my favorite form of exercise. It's easy to feel boxed out by fitness culture right now. The clothes are expensive, the fitness classes are intimidating and even a regular gym membership can cost over 100 dollars a month, but your trusty running shoes and an open trail are just as good. The greatest thing about running is that there are no standards and no instructors to follow. You set your pace, your distance, and your playlist.
If you're new to running, here are some tips for hitting the road and a simple beginner workout.
Invest in good running shoes.
It's worth it, I promise. Good shoes can save you from injury, make running more comfortable, and even be tailored to your bodies specific needs. Head to a running store like Colorado Running Company or Runners Roost and have them help you find the right fit.
Work your way up.
Your first run probably won't be a 5 miler. Set out to do 20 to 30 minutes. Find a trail or even just walk out your front door and go 10 to 15 minutes out and then turn around and head home. Don't worry about how far you went or if you took a walking break. Work your way up from there. Once you can run the whole time, add 5 minutes.
Keep a running log.
This is solely to track your progress. I'm results driven and like to see how much I've done. It's harder to skip a day when you see that there will be a gap in your journal. It's fun to look back at the prior weeks and see how consistent you've been and how much you've progressed.
Get a running belt.
I can't even tell you how many times I've gotten frustrated by carrying a heavy phone in my pocket or stuffed in my sports bra. The arm bands always slipped down and I could never find a good solution until I got a belt. They are inexpensive and can hold the basics like your phone, car key, and credit card.
Go somewhere new.
Are you starting to dread running because your same loop is getting boring? Load yourself up and go somewhere. You don't have to go far but don't under estimate a change of scenery.
Try the tech if you think you'll like it.
I'm a stats junky. I love checking my fitbit app after a run and seeing my elevation gain and pace for each mile. I still take it easy and listen to my body but it can be very motivating to try to beat yourself next time. There are tons of running apps now that are free like Track my Run or RunKeeper that work the same way. They can also be great for specific workouts like hill repeats or even walk/run workouts.
Find a buddy.
Ask around in your friend group and see if anyone wants to join you. Finding a running buddy can help keep you accountable and also just make it more fun. If you can't find a friend to run one on one with, join a running club. It sounds intimidating but it's not! The groups normally meet up at a restaurant or store and go for 3 to 5 miles. Don't be worried about your speed or pace, at every running club there are people running 6 minute miles and people running 16 minute miles, but it's nice to have a crew.
Do a 5 minute walking warm up
Repeat 4x for a 28 minute workout
5 minute jog at comfortable pace
2 minute walk
Take your time cooling down and stretch afterward.
Share your running journey with us! We want to hear from you. What are your tips for new runners? Share with us in the comments or in the forum!
*Always consult your doctor before starting a new fitness routine.