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A beginner's guide to running

advice for runners

Everyone has to start somewhere when it comes to running or exercising. As a beginner, it’s key to understand the best tips and running advice to help you kick start your running journey. We’ve put together the perfect running guide with ten tips to help you become the runner.

1. Preventing injury

When it comes to starting your running journey, it's vital to ensure you do your utmost everything to prevent any injuries from happening.

  • Stretching before a run and warming up is important as this loosens up your muscles before a workout.
  • Always start with a relaxed, easy-paced run and gradually pick up the pace as you grow your confidence.
  • Listen to your body – if you need to take a break, take one! If you push your body too far, you’re more likely to receive an injury.

2. Starting out

When starting as a beginner runner, you should check out potential running routes, so you don’t get lost. Also, check out what type of ground you will be running on, whether it's a trail run or if there are any inclines and you can figure out the distance of your route.

Reach out to friends and ask if they’re interested in training with you. Exercising with someone you trust can make it more fun and having someone to motivate you can make all the difference to achieving your goal!

3. The right equipment

Having specialist running shoes is vital to support your feet in all ways possible and can help prevent injuries from happening.

Not all running shoes will fit your need and purpose because everyone has a distinctive foot type and running style. A sports store which specialises in footwear will be able to offer advice on what’s best for your foot type and your posture.

It’s also important to consider other accessories, especially in the winter months when it’s dark by the time you get home for your run. Make sure you wear bright colours with reflective material to catch passing headlights.

4. Motivation

Having a running goal to work towards can be great for motivation. You might want to run a certain distance, speed or time, or complete an event or race.

  • Write down your goal and create a training plan which focuses on how you can work towards achieving it.
  • Keep a diary and make a record of each run, noting down the weather conditions, your time and route.

Look back at a really good session and this will help keep you motivated, and you can watch your progression.

5. Pace yourself

Whenever you’re out on a training session, you should always pace yourself. Running at a faster pace than you’re used to can be overwhelming if you’re a beginner runner. You should split up your run into intervals where you run and then walk, this will help you build up your stamina and gives your body a chance to recover a little.

Start at three runs a week and increase to four times per week, with roughly 20 to 30 minutes per run. As you start to gradually improve your heart rate, you should aim to run longer distances.

6. Release endorphins

Sometimes it’s hard to have the momentum to get up and go, but taking the first step out of your house is the best thing you can do. When exercising your body releases endorphins, which triggers a positive feeling in your body and makes you feel great. The more you train, the easier running will become, and you will find that you can push yourself more.


7. Recovery rest days

Rest and recovery play an important part of your training, incorporating regular rest days and recovery exercise sessions into your training plan will reduce muscle strain but also keep you exercising. There are light exercises you can do in between your runs, these include, cycling, yoga and tennis.

8. Diet and hydration

Everyone is different when it comes to finding the right nutrition for them, especially if you’re deciding if/what to eat before a run. Overall, you should aim to eat a well-balanced diet and drink plenty of fluid. Try a variety of foods before a run and see what works best for you.

If you’re still stumped on what to eat, try some of these power foods:

  • Bananas are an iconic source of fuel, especially for runners because they’re high in potassium and can help prevent muscle cramps.
  • Dates are a natural alternative to energy gels and protein bars, which are not considered healthy because they’re packed with sugar. Dates give a nice sweet hit and they’re also high in iron and fibre.

9. Cross-training

Incorporating a small amount of strength and conditioning is an important part of your training. Your body needs to be strong enough to withstand the impact that running puts you through. Working on your strength, core and conditioning can help prevent injury and can improve your running form.

Ab workouts and squats will help to strengthen key muscle groups that are used when running which are the quads, hamstrings, glutes and calves.

10. Couch to 5K

There is a range of different programs and local running clubs around aimed at beginners, for individual runners and running groups. The Couch to 5K has been designed to get people running 5K in just nine weeks. It’s an excellent place for beginners to start as it offers guidance on how much they should push themselves, with intervals of running mixed with walking.

This steadily increases as the weeks go on. It's great to get you running faster and building up your stamina ready for race day! To find out more about the Couch to 5K, click here!

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We recognise the importance of staying fit and healthy, which is why our private health insurance policies have been designed to give you peace of mind if you become ill. When you take a policy out with us, you’ll also receive 20% off a Nuffield Health gym membership. Get your free online quote today!

This content is subject to our Disclaimer.

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