Advice to New Runners

Within the last year or so, the amount of people beginning on their Running journey has skyrocketed. Toward the early stages of Covid-19 in 2020, when everything began to close down and we were all put into quarantine, running became one of the few modes of exercise to choose from. Since then, the amount of people using running as their main form of exercise has significantly increased. This is what sparked my interest in writing this article.

Let me preface by saying, I am NOT a “Great” runner, or someone who knows everything about running. However, I’ve gained enough experience and practice from my own training to help out other beginners.

Below is a list of 10 tips to consider as you go down the path of becoming a runner.

1. Build your Aerobic Base

When you are first starting out, make most of your runs “easy runs.” This means we should be spending most of our time in Zone 1 or 2 (50-70% of Max Heart Rate). These should be a 5-6 out of 10 effort. Spend the time building your running foundation. After we’ve created a stronger base, then we can begin doing all the cool speed runs.

2. Be barefoot as much as possible

The more running we do, the more time is spent in shoes loaded with cushion, and the less time we spend strengthening our feet. Consider investing in a pair of minimalist shoes.

3. Incorporate Strength Training

Strength is King. Start off with just 1-2 days of Strength Training a week, don’t overdo it. Generally speaking, more strength = more resilient to injury. Our strides become stronger and more powerful, and we begin to run lighter on our feet.

4. More mobility/ flexibility

We’re all guilty of this one, including myself. Not spending the time before or after a run to stretch and properly warm-up/cool-down.

5. Leave the water at home!

If you are hydrating properly throughout the days, we really don’t need to be carrying around a bottle of water with us as we run. Our bodies won’t expel enough water/sweat to get us into a dehydrated state that quickly. The only time I suggest bringing water, is once you begin doing runs that are 10+ miles or runs over 90 minutes.

6. Get the right shoes

Go to your local running store and get fitted for a pair of running shoes. Hopefully, the store has a knowledgeable staff, so they can get you the best pair for your needs. Do you have high arches? Flat Feet? Wider or Narrower Feet? Prone to Ankle injuries? These all are important considerations.

P.S. make sure to replace your running shoes around 400-450 miles.

7. Figure out your weak points

This one will take some time and practice to figure out. One of the best ways to check your technique, is to have a friend take a video of you running. Go back home that day and see where you need improvement. Do you lack knee drive? Do you spend too much time on the ground? How’s your arm swing? How’s your breathing?

8. Recovery

This goes hand in hand with the mobility/flexibility point. Put a great amount of value around your recovery and taking care of your body. Nutrition and Sleep are the main priorities. After that, we can start considering stress, stretching, ice, compression boots, heat, massage guns, etc.

9. Ask other runners for advice

“Some of the best advice you will ever receive, will come at the least expected moments.” They could tell you about some awesome routes to run, upcoming races to try, different programs that worked for them, strength exercises that improved their performance, etc.

10. Run different routes

Running the same route over and over gets boring. Find the best running routes around your area and explore it. New scenery can give you an extra boost at times you need it most.

Thank you for reading!

Published by Jonathan Valentini,

B.A. Exercise Science, Professional Strength and Conditioning Coach, Former NCAA athlete, CSCS, CSAC, CPR/AED

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