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3 Tips for Beginning Runners

Updated: Jan 25, 2023

Guest Post by Gretchen Addison

Gretchen is a running coach and certified personal trainer based in Abingdon, VA. You can find her on social media @running4thehills or online

Have you decided that this is the year you will start running? Have you been putting it off because you just aren’t sure how to start? Or maybe you have tried before, but never managed to stick with it? Here are three things every beginning runner should know and take into consideration before embarking on their running journey.

  1. Start small. Like, so small you question whether or not it is even worth it. There is a popular beginning runner program out there that will tell you to start by running 90 seconds at a time. That is too much for many beginners. You should start with 30 seconds instead. I recommend a 10-15 minute warm up walk, followed by alternating 0:30 of running with 1:30 of walking. It might feel super easy, but that is what you want. You want to sneak-attack your body into becoming a runner. Start so easy, your body doesn’t even realize what is happening. Increase so gradually that it always feels easy, and you end up wondering why you didn’t try this 5 years ago. This will not only help you to be more successful in the long run, it will also help you avoid injury.

  2. Shoes matter. They can make or break your experience. And no, you can’t just ask your friends which shoes they like. Running shoes have become incredibly specialized, and there are so many different options, tailored to different amounts of pronation and different types of footstrike. The absolute best thing you can do for your feet and legs is go to a running store before beginning your running journey. The employees at the running stores are trained to help you find the best possible shoe for your feet. In addition, most if not all of these stores will give you a 60-90 day return window to make sure you like your shoes. This article from Runner’s World offers more information about all the different types of shoes and why it is helpful to go to a running store.

  3. Food is fuel, and your body needs it. You may have heard that it is good to “run on empty,” but this is not true for most people (especially for women). Your body needs fuel in order to not only run well, but also to recover well. Denying your body the fuel it needs will only hurt you in the long run. The last thing you want is for your body to turn to your muscles for fuel! This article from Outside has some great explanations and tips about how to fuel properly for your run before, during, and after.

Gretchen is a running coach and certified personal trainer based in Abingdon, VA. You can find her on social media @running4thehills or online


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