Have you recently discovered the many benefits that running has to offer but need some help getting started? Fear not, we’ve got you covered! Keep reading to learn our Top 7 Tips for beginner runners.
Plan on running smarter not harder
While it may be tempting to hit the ground running (pun intended), as a beginner, you shouldn’t worry too much about speed and distance. In fact, we recommend starting out slow and steady, incorporating a combination of walking and jogging during the first few weeks. This is the best way to avoid injury and build your stamina...and your confidence as a newbie runner.
When you have figured out a pace that works well for you, you can switch your focus to distance. A good rule of thumb is to ensure that you don’t increase your distance by more than 10 percent each week.
Use a running app to track your goals
Whether you want to shed a few kilos or run a half marathon, tracking your progress is crucial. Thanks to smartphone apps, this process has never been easier. We recommend trying an app that’s created specifically for brand new runners, a good free running app is runkeeper. It tracks distance in kilometres and miles and tells you how time you’ve run for each distance.
Overall, apps are an excellent tool to map your route, track the number of Ks you’ve run and calories burned to keep you motivated every step of the way.
Warm up first
Take a few minutes before each run to warm up your muscles with some dynamic body-weight movements. You’ll feel a lot better during your run and also avoid injury if you make dynamic stretching a priority.
Fuel your body with the right foods
It’s important to stay energized with nutrient-rich foods - while keeping your distance from foods that make you feel sluggish. You will also learn very quickly that timing is key when it comes to fuelling your runs.
Here’s a quick breakdown on what to eat before you run based on the time you have available:
- 2 hours before: 300- to 400-calorie meal with carbs, protein and healthy fats
- 1 hour before: 150-calorie snack with easily digestible carbs and a little protein
- 15 to 30 minutes before: Small serving of easily digestible carbs
After your run, plan on refuelling within 30-45 minutes with either a 3:1 or 4:1 carb to protein ratio.
Be sure to start hydrating about two hours before your run.
You’ll also want to hydrate immediately post-run. As you begin to increase your speed and intensity over time, you should also consider consuming beverages that have electrolytes to replace the ones you just lost. Coconut water is an excellent option because it is high in two minerals that can help boost your recovery: potassium and magnesium.
Get the right gear
There are so many gimmicks and gadgets to choose from, so we’ve narrowed it down to these five recommendations for every beginner runner.
Having a comfortable pair of supportive running shoes is the first step in preventing injuries such as shin splints. Be sure to consider the shape of your foot, the level of support and overall comfort when making your selection. If you’ve got flat feet, a higher stability shoe will be ideal. On the other hand, if you have high arches consider shoes that offer padding or cushioning for flexibility. Still need more help? Many athletic stores offer a complimentary gait analysis to help you find the best fit for your feet.
Sure, you can definitely get away with throwing on an old T-shirt and a pair of shorts, but investing in performance (with moisture-wicking properties) will help you to reduce chafing and irritation caused from running in clothes made from 100% cotton.
A running belt is a great idea for a hands-free running experience because it allows you to easily store your phone, keys, cash or whatever else you might need to bring along.
Music is a great motivator. If you’re new to running, you might need to experiment with a few playlists to see which line up of songs will give you an extra push during your workout. You can also consider listening to your favourite podcast while you run.
Compression socks and sleeves are perfect for boosting performance, preventing injury and speeding up muscle recovery. As the name suggests, compression gear improves the circulation of blood within the legs based on their design. They provide graduated compression, which means that they are tightest around the feet and lower legs since these are usually the most affected areas when it comes to swelling. While most compression socks and sleeves on the market are dull and drab, our trendy designs and innovative knitting techniques ensure that you can be comfortable without sacrificing style.
Always listen to your body
This is perhaps the most important piece of advice we can give to any new runner reading this post: never run through the pain. If you start to experience any pain in your shin bone, achilles tendon, hip or ankle that is outside of the norm, then using the rest, ice, compression and elevation technique known commonly as RICE should do the trick. However, if the pain persists, it’s time to pay a visit to your doctor.
Another great way to avoid injury is to incorporate rest days into your running routine. Try to space your runs evenly each week (giving a day’s rest in between) so that your body has enough time to recover. During these “off” days, you can still stay active by incorporating some low-impact crossing training activities like yoga or swimming. Don’t be scared to wear you compression socks or compression sleeves on your rest days as well as they help speed up recovery.
We hope you enjoyed these little tips! Welcome to the running world!