So you have started to run. Awesome!
Here are some 101 beginner running tips that will help you immensely to get that initial running barrier out of the way.
So, grab some snacks (healthy please) and read on!
101 beginner running tips
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1. Don’t follow trends blindly
This is a beginner mistake that we have done more than once and that is not only with running.
You got persuaded by the craze and you bought one of the minimalist running shoes and started running.
But guess what?
You already Achilles Tendonitis and your pain only became severe.
What you should have done instead?
You should have done some research on the running shoes for Achilles tendonitis and then purchased your shoes.
Another such example can be, you try to use minimalist shoes for the cool factor in a marathon rather than using a running shoe specially made for the marathon.
These kinds of examples are endless…
What I mean is, don’t get caught up in the fad…listen to your purpose and your body and make decisions.
2. Don’t spend a lot on gears
Running shoes are the only gears you need.
Don’t spend your hard-earned money on a lot of gears.
Avoid the shiny object syndrome and stick to the basics like:
- A good running shoe ( I chose a running shoe for an overweight person as I was totally out of shape)
- A good sports bra/shorts
- Compression tights you may include only after you have become regular with your running.
Other than these, everything else is a waste of money for the time being.
Also, here is a guide for you if you want to buy running shoes for cheap.
3. Learn as much as you can
Running seems an easy sport on the surface until you realize it is not…
- Running form
- Breathing techniques for optimal performance
- Proper running shoes to select for your feet
- Heart rate zone
- Proper endurance building steps
- Running injury prevention
So on and so forth…
Suddenly what seems so simple, becomes complicated…
So, learn as much as possible…
There are so many good websites to learn from and so many youtube videos.
If you have 10-15 min per day…you can start learning about running…
Your knowledge will add up and you will become a better runner.
4. Don’t try to beat yesterday’s self every day
Trying to set a new PR [personal record] every day?
That is great until you end up injured.
This is a very common beginner’s mistake and you should avoid this one.
If you exhaust yourself doing this, you may end up having adrenaline fatigue.
This may force you to stop running and you will not be able to run until you completely recover from running fatigue.
6. Start with short running intervals
A new sport, a new hobby is really fun to start with…
But being a rookie, you have your own limitations.
Just like you cannot replicate your Mom’s signature dish in the first attempt (and in many subsequent attempts :P) so is with your running.
You have to accept that you cannot run a mile without stopping on the first day.
You cannot run a marathon on your first running day.
So it is really OK to start with a short running interval pattern.
You can jog for a while and then walk for a while.
Try different variations of running, easy walking, brisk walking, and jogging.
Whatever is suitable for you, include it in your running plan.
A simple running plan for 20 min could be something like this:
- 2 min easy walk
- 2 min jog
- 2 min running
- 2 min brisk walk
- 2 min easy walk
- 2 min running
- 2 min brisk walk
- 2 min running
- 2 min jogging
- 2 min easy walk
Did I awaken your skeptic?
I’m sure I heard – Only 2 min running then walking…
Screw you! I’m better than that…
I bet you are – but above is my experience.
I could only run for 10 secs when I returned to running.
So, if you can run more than 2 mins, awesome – else adjust it according to your fitness level.
7. Taper your running
This is more applicable to marathon beginners.
If you are preparing for the marathon, then you must taper down your training before the big day.
The correct way is to start curtailing your training three weeks prior to the show.
You must reduce your training gradually.
Before the big day, your body should be relaxed and ready for performance.
All your hard work will pay off.
8. Have a holistic approach even if it is a marathon
Your marathon goals are typically ready much before the training.
It is good to strive for your goals.
One of the primary goals in the list of all runners is completing the run under 3 hours.
However, focusing on only this goal may not be the best way to approach your training.
Have a more holistic approach to have more satisfying training experience.
If you focus on just one goal and for some reason could not succeed, the disappointment is more.
If you keep an eye on all the goals and if you try and accomplish some of them, even that is an achievement.
9. Don’t Start Out Running Too Fast
I applaud your efforts!
But it is not a very good idea to start as fast as lightning, especially in a marathon.
This is one of the most common marathon mistakes that newbies make.
The reason being, initially there is a lot of stiffness in your muscles.
One fine day you start running and you give your best shot.
Your stiff muscles work against you.
There are even chances that you end up in acute pain or even muscle injury.
The best way is to start running at a conversation pace.
While running tries to speak a full sentence and see if you are able to complete it.
10. Take rest
Your body goes through a lot during the first couple of weeks for running.
If you have not been into sports or fitness programs earlier it is very common to suffer from pain, aches or cramps.
Even baby steps cannot prevent these.
So, how to combat?
Take sufficient rest.
Rest makes your recovery better.
You can run for 2 days and take 1 day off.
On your rest day, you can do some stretching or core strengthening exercises.
This will not cause too much pressure on your feet and at the same time, you are doing some kind of workout.
Also, in the night, soak 1 tablespoon of chia seeds in lukewarm water or milk for 30 min and drink it.
It has a high content of protein, omega 3, fiber and is a very good source of essential minerals like magnesium and manganese.
All of this helps you to recover faster.
By the way, once you soak the chia seeds, it will swell up. Don’t worry, this is a layer of mucilage around the seeds and this absorbs the water.
11. Run Easy and Take Short Steps
This is a secret ingredient for a polished performance.
Usually, as a new runner, you may not be aware of it.
Your form plays a critical role in enhancing your form.
You must run with correct posture
- Straight spine
- Tighten up your core
- Shoulders relaxed
- Chin parallel to the ground
- Your arms should be by your waist
- Never look down at the ground and run
- Shorter strides
You may have an opinion that taking bigger strides makes you run faster.
This is just a notion.
However, technically, you need to have a shorter stride to run fast.
When you take shorter strides your foot lands closer to your body.
This makes you land on your toes and makes your running smooth and swift.
12. Choose the right surface
Have you experienced the difference when you run on the treadmill and outside?
Isn’t it easier to run on the treadmill than running outside?
The harder the surface gets difficult it becomes to run.
When the surface is hard, it absorbs lesser energy.
The reflective force on your feet is more and this can cause more stress.
Asphalt, concrete or paved surfaces are relatively harder and hence it becomes more difficult to run on them.
However, the unevenness is less so you can focus on the speed.
If you are running on mud or ground or trail, the stress in lesser but of course they are uneven and chanced of tripping is more.
You need to be more careful on those surfaces.
If you are a beginner, my suggestion would be the best to start with the treadmill.
It is a convenient and safer surface for a beginner.
You can focus on running without worrying much about other factors.
Refer to the post on Surfaces.
13. Accept that there will be side aches
You must have heard the saying “No pain, no gain“.
You are running and suddenly there is a cramp.
In most cases, it is just a momentary trivial pain.
You can stop for a while or slow down.
You can also walk for some time at an easy pace.
The pain should subside within a few minutes.
You can go back to running again after the pain has subsided.
These small aches keep happening in the running world.
And more common during the initial days of your running.
14. Take care of your body
Running is just not getting your feet in action.
It is a complete body workout.
Your arms move sideways in rhythm with your feet.
So if you increase the oscillation of your arms your feet will move faster due to reflexes.
Your core and back should be strong to provide balance to your body.
You must pull your belly button towards your spine to have a strong core.
Your lower body muscles right from your hip flexors to the ankle are in motion when you are running.
You must practice some endurance training for strong muscles.
The easiest ones being:
- Reverse planks
You really don’t need to hit the gym for these.
15. Cross Training is essential
Running alone can get monotonous and boring.
You must consider trying some other sport in between.
You can keep 1-2 days in a week where you can cross-train.
In this way, you can give little rest to your joints and feet and at the same time working out.
Swimming, cycling, elliptical or endurance training are great alternatives to try out.
They are closet to running in terms of muscles and aerobic system.
16. Just Start
This has been my problem as always.
It’s not just with running, with many other plans.
Today, tomorrow, a week, a month you will never realize you have wasted only in planning.
So if you are thinking about running, just head out of the door and run.
The next thing that you should do is get yourself appropriate clothes and shoes.
In many cases, weeks go in just getting the proper shoes and clothes.
So start running without further delay!
And I know you will have a lot of questions – here is a list of most common 40+ running questions answered.
17. Think in time, not distance
So when you start running, you will have this urge to compare your running with your friends or co-runners.
This is not the correct practice.
Your initial goal should be just running for 20-30 min at a stretch and not 1 mile or 2 miles.
If you are comfortable running for long, the miles get added up automatically.
If you put up a goal to run for 1 mile, and frankly on day 1 you cannot achieve it.
Then this may become demotivating.
Whereas if you target to run 2-3 min at one shot and slowly increasing the interval, then this is a more doable approach.
You will feel good about your improving running stamina and also keeps you motivated to run longer.
18. Pick the right pair of running shoes
This is one of the most critical decisions you have to make while getting the running gears.
You are dependent a lot on your shoes.
Or rather, they are your saviors.
The wrong pair of shoes will only make you injured.
While buying the shoes, always consider the surface you plan to run and your pronation type.
Also, a running shoe for overpronation is way different than a running shoe for neutral or underpronation (supination).
A well-cushioned shoe serves for most of the surfaces.
You must get your pronation type and foot-arch checked before buying the shoes.
If you do not pick the right pair, it will worsen your condition.
19. Wiggle-Room for your toes
Again this is a very important factor.
Wiggle-room is nothing but the additional space between your feet and the tip of the shoes.
When you are buying the shoes, you must try it on with one or two layers of socks.
You should always buy the shoes in the evening when your feet are slightly swollen.
Never buy your shoes, when your feet are at its best.
While buying the shoes, wear them tightly and take a few steps.
It should not be so tight that your nails are biting and not so lose that your feet are coming out.
Avoid buying running shoes that have a tapered tip.
Now while running, and when you land on your foot, they get to expand a bit.
So if you are wearing tight-fitting shoes, this will restrict the expansion resulting in shoe bites and blisters.
20. Warm-up before your run
Not just in running, the warm-up is done for all sports.
As the term suggests, you are warming up your muscles.
It’s a way where you prepare your body for any physical activity.
When you work-out, your muscles work hard.
The blood needs to flow through your muscles to supply an adequate amount of oxygen.
The warm-up exercise wakes up the sleepy muscles and there is a rush of blood.
They prevent the muscles from suddenly coming to action and reduces the chance of injury.
You can consider 5-10 min warm-up before the run.
Some of the pre-run warm-ups can be:
- Shoulder rolls
- Arms circle
- Leg crossover
- Hip opener
A safe workout is one where your heart rate climbs up slowly.
You continue to work out at high intensity and then you gradually reduce your heart rate.
A cool-down phase is where you are coming back to your normal heart rate.
A sudden jump or reduction of heart rate is not good.
A 5-10 min cooldown should be sufficient post-run.
Your body continues to burn calories even during the cool-down phase.
You can walk at an easy pace for a few mins or try stretching out your muscles.
This will relax the muscles.
22. Listen to your body
Your body is a magnificent machine and it will give you clues about its uneasiness.
At first, the clues will be subtle…but if you ignore the signs, then it will scream at a deafening pitch.
Sometimes you are just in a hurry to add miles…you ignore the indications given by your body.
If there are any injuries or discomfort take care of it first.
Sometimes due to negligence, small problems can result in serious consequences.
If you are running, especially under extreme weather conditions, and your body demands to stop, just stop.
Don’t argue with it, just stop. Otherwise, you are putting yourself at a huge risk and may end up with a severe injury.
23. KISS Running
Keep It Simple, Stupid!!
You should run simple.
Do not worry too much about your running.
For the initial period, your goal should be just to concentrate on your running and that means your form, breathing, watching out for aches and pains.
24. Build the base
The strength of the pillar and for that matter, the building depends on its foundation.
Same way, your running must also have a strong foundation.
Whether you want to become a professional runner or just running as a hobby, in all case you must set the base correct.
With this, I mean your ability to lock in miles.
Once you are able to run 3-5 miles a day, you can add variations to running.
25. Step Back
Well well…don’t doubt my intentions…yet!
My point is, focus on your recovery.
New runners are always in a hurry to make new records.
That’s kind of liberating, empowering…
In doing so, you may stretch your limits as much as possible and try to lock as many miles as possible.
It gives immense pleasure to achieve your target.
But chasing your targets for when you are overstretched will only rack up injuries…
Your body is exhausted and will need recovery.
Just slow down…
Give some time for your body to recover and relax and prepare for the next challenge.
26. Shoot for 10 miles
Beginners on the track should set a goal for 10 miles weekly mileage.
The 10 miles a week boost your aerobic capacity and improves your endurance.
Once you are able to run 10 miles a week, go on and add more mileage.
However, once you get used to 10 miles of weekly mileage you may try to run a 10 miler in one day per 15 days.
27. Embrace junk mile running
Junk mile? Really?
Junk mile is the distance you cover while you warm-up or cool down.
While warm-up sometimes you may have felt that the slow pace running will not help.
However, this is a typical beginner mindset…Even they contribute to burning calories.
More than that, it prepares your mind for running.
So take your warm-ups and cool down passionately they play an equally important role.
28. Mind Training
This may sound stupid, but training your mind is as important as training your body.
Because it is your mind which gives up first.
And once your mind gives up, your body follows…
You can practice mindfulness which will provide you the strength to stick onto running.
Also, you can combine running and mindfulness so that you don’t have to give it additional time.
29. Leave the comfort zone
It’s always easy when you work within your limits.
It’s easy and comfortable but you will really not be able to figure out how much you are capable of.
Magic happens when you are out of your comfort zone…
Let’s say you are able to run for 30 min at a stretch, but did you ever try to run for 45 min.
You may fail on your first try but you have started to spread your wings.
Push yourself to run for 45 min by increasing it by 5 min at a time.
Add an extra 5 min every week and within 3 weeks you will be running for a whole 45 min.
30. Quarter Quality
Let’s say you are running 20 miles a week.
This is the total mileage that you are covering at various pace.
Try to run 4 to 6 miles at your best speed i.e. fastest pace.
This will improve your aerobic capacity and improve your performance.
You can make a chart of the distance covered at various pace beforehand.
Make sure that you are running around 0.6 -0.8 miles each day at your best speed.
By splitting it evenly there is no pressure to complete the quarter quality mile in a single day.
31. Hill Training
Once you are comfortable with running on plains, try the uphill running.
It does sound very challenging, and true it is.
But training uphill will certainly elevate your potential.
Uphill training comes with training under extreme conditions.
- Reduced pressure
- Less oxygen
- Increases dehydration
- Less temperature
- Running against gravity
If you get trained under these conditions, you will definitely perform better on the plains.
It is more of a resistance training along with running as you are running against gravity.
32. Fartlek it up
Fartlek is a Swedish word that means “speed play”.
This training method consists of continuous endurance training with intervals of high-speed training.
In regular training, you may mix up your run with high speed running and walking.
In Fartlek training you are running continuously with different pace variations.
This can benefit you in several ways:
- Boost up your stamina
- Your body adapts to various speed
- Improving your pace for the long duration running
A sample Fartlek training plan could be:
- jog for warm-up
- jog for cool down
- Sprint running
33. Keep track
It is always good to keep track of your training.
I mean literally, maintain a logbook of your workout, running plan, results etc.
This will help you in understanding what has worked best for you and whatnot.
You can always go back to figure out your mistakes.
You can make a plan to improve your running and overcome your mistakes.
34. Learn from your mistakes
A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new – Albert Einstein
If you have made a mistake, you are in good company.
However, learning from mistakes is paramount.
Like I did last year…I made a lot of mistakes with my winter running, however, I fixed it and made it work.
You also need to do that…Learn from your own mistakes and you will come out triumphantly.
35. Clone Success
Success is wonderful.
And the best way to succeed is to clone someone’s working strategy.
However, you need to be vigilant about what works for you.
Once you know your strengths, you may apply the strategy accordingly.
You need not have to try out new variations every time.
Once you learn the mantra, just focus on getting the best result out of it.
Success repeats and it’s amazing!!!
36. Test your mettle
So your training is going on fine…
You are practicing also…perfect.
But how will you find out whether what you are doing is correct and working for you?
Participate in a race or a half marathon.
See where you stand.
Running alone is not challenging.
But when you are running in a crowd that shows your potential.
It is not only the physical stamina that is important but also the mental stress.
You get to know how well you can handle the pressure of a race, how you plan your technique or strategy.
Of course, don’t get disappointed after your first attempt.
It is just the beginning of a long journey.
Learn from your mistakes and come out with flying colors in the next one.
37. Running form
Running form is a very very important aspect of running which you should never ignore.
A good running form is a key factor for better performance.
In a nutshell, it describes the ideal posture of your body while you run.
Even trivial things like holding your fist tight make a difference.
Try running with your chin parallel to the ground.
You should be looking at an angle 50-100 mt ahead of you and not in your shoes.
It normally happens towards the end of the race you get tired and naturally, your head bends down.
Try to avoid this as much as possible.
This will reduce the oxygen supply to your body.
Most of us have a habit of keeping the shoulders hunched.
This is not the best form of running.
You must keep your shoulders straight as if you are pressing a pencil between the shoulder blades.
Keep your shoulders relaxed, else you will be wasting too much energy in keeping it tight.
Your shoulder and torso should move in the “X” pattern.
So when you take the left foot forward, your right shoulder should come forward and vice versa.
Core & Spine
Always run with a tight core.
This gives you more stability to run long.
A strong core will prevent you from going too far forward or too far backward.
You must stand long and tall and your spine is not crunched.
A crunched spine will not let you use the elastic force which comes from the ground.
Arms & Hand
Your arms should be bent at 90 degrees at your elbow.
The arms should not be hanging at the side neither should be resting near your chest.
They should be at the height of your waist.
Your arms movement can actually impact your running.
The feet move at the same rate as your arms due to reflex action.
Never hold fist tightly, you will be wasting energy doing do.
The finger should be open as if you are holding a potato chip between your thumb, index and middle finger.
When you are running on the plains, keep your body inclined a little.
The inclination should be from the hip flexors and not from your shoulders.
Keep your stride small such than when you land on the ground your knee is above the mid-foot.
While running never raise your knee too high, you will be wasting your energy doing that.
38. Seek advice
If you are unsure of your running form, go to an expert.
You must go for running form analysis.
It is better to know your mistakes at initial stages before it becomes a habit.
Advice from a coach or professional runner may help you overcome your weaknesses.
39. Run in the morning
Trust me, morning is the best time to run.
The calm atmosphere and a new day, what else do you need to concentrate on your running.
A study shows that people who run in the morning, stick to their regime more.
The only challenge with running in the morning is waking up early.
Once you get into the habit of waking up early, I am sure early morning run will become your addiction.
40. Run in the afternoon
If you are really not able to wake up early and go for your runs, the next best option is to run in the afternoon.
You will really not have many excuses for skipping this.
If you are running in the afternoon, apart from your daily workout, you will get a refreshing break.
If you plan to run around your lunch break, then definitely you will be skipping a heavy lunch.
A smaller healthy lunch will curtail the extra calories.
41. Run facing the traffic
Well, it is totally up to you where and how do you want to run.
But this is a great tip which works for me.
Running opposite to the traffic will keep you more alert.
You can keep a safe distance from the vehicles coming in front of you.
This is extremely helpful when you go for early morning or late night run when the visibility is less.
42. Vary routes
Yet another safety tip.
When you run in the ween hours and follow the same route at the same time, you are inviting a threat to yourself.
Someone may be keeping a track of you, and may find a good opportunity to attack you.
So it’s better to change the routes and even change your pace.
Also, running on the same route may become monotonous and leave you in boredom.
Trying out different routes will give you new running experiences.
However, be careful while selecting the routes and do not try a lonely deserted stretch if you are alone.
43. Mind games to train your mind
Your mind controls your actions.
So use your mind as a powerful tool for your training.
Think about what you want to do.
Let’s say you want to get up early and go for a run.
Chat with yourself a bit about this.
Register it into your subconscious mind.
This will certainly help you in achieving.
Also, if you want to stretch your limits, you can do try the above technique too.
And if you are in short of games to try…here are some of the mind games.
44. Set your goals
Goals setting is the benchmark of how much you have achieved.
During the initial days set your goals.
The goals should be SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely.
This will help you to judge your progress.
There has to a balance when you are setting your goals.
Do not be over-optimistic nor too pessimistic while setting your goals.
Also never compare yourself with a co-runner and set the goals.
There might be a lot of differences between the two of you.
Also, both of your training purposes may be different.
Your goals are meant for you, so be honest while you set the goals.
45. Read your goals 3 times every day
Yes, you read it right!
This will help you in understanding your goals better.
Reading daily will register the goals in your mind.
Your mind then will start playing tricks with yourself and will keep you motivated.
Reading your goals daily will help you understand your progress.
You can update your goals based on your current training plan and performance.
For a better result, just set one goal at a time. Try it out for 90 days.
It will become a lifestyle for you…
46. Be realistic
Setting up the goals pushes you to do stick on your plan.
But the goals have to be realistic.
An unrealistic goal or over-optimism may lead to disappointment.
Running is all about your stamina level.
And practically you cannot suddenly increase your stamina to another level.
Let’s say your current best racing pace is 10 min a mile.
If you target an 8 min a mile over in a week’s time, you are overestimating.
It is not possible to jump to an 8 min a mile in a week’s time.
You can keep a 5-6 week plan to accomplish.
So, set realistic goals and have a plan to achieve it.
47. Minimize friction
Well, you can have 101 reasons for not running or not working out.
Most common ones – I am perfectly fine, I don’t have time, I am not interested, etc, etc.
The more you come across people having such lame excuses, you are bound to get deflected.
You need to stay away from all these negativity.
You are running and that is best for you.
You need to stay motivated and feel great about your running.
Now, what is friction? and how to minimize it?
This is a concept that I’ve learned from Atomic Habits by James Clear. (You might be hearing me raving about this one in different posts. But what can I say…this has been helping me immensely with my habit building and I can’t stop talking about it… :P)
Friction is something which will not let you take action on your goals…
Like having the snooze button within your reach, or not taking out your running gears previous night.
You must reduce all such small frictions so that you can easily take action on your goals.
48. Find your reasons
As I said, you have abundant reasons for not running.
But it takes just one reason to stay motivated.
So think what is the reason behind your running?
It could be anything like general fitness, weight loss (as mine :)), passion or you aim to set up a record.
Just think of your motive behind running whenever you feel not running or not working out.
This will keep you committed.
49. Buddy up
I believe this is the best way to stick to your running or your workouts.
In fact, this has worked the best for me.
When you are running with a buddy there is a sense of commitment.
It becomes your responsibility to join your partner.
Treat running with a buddy as a healthy competition.
You have a lot of opportunities to learn from each other.
Not only that if you are a morning or late evening runner it is safer to run with a buddy.
50. Or, join a club
Another great idea to stay motivated.
If you think you can slack your regime, this is the best option.
There are many running clubs.
Join a club depending on your training.
Every running club has its own guidelines.
This will keep you motivated and make you stick to the program.
You get plenty of opportunities to learn from other runners.
This will certainly bring out the best of you.
51. Go solo
Solo running is a great way to enjoy “me time”.
Everyone needs that “me time”.
You can ditch the regular regime and enjoy running the way you want.
Isn’t it amazing to go out for a slow run on a lovely spring morning?
Or run really hard when you are agitated?
Running is a great way to express your emotions and you need to run your way!!
52. Have fun
Mark Twain in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer wrote an interesting piece “Work can be fun”.
You don’t really feel the pressure or work if you are enjoying it.
So don’t consider your workouts and running as any tedious job to do.
Enjoy them and you will never realize how time flies.
To make it interesting, listen to your favorite music (of course consider the safety).
Or, try new routes, enjoy the nature around.
Take a short break to click selfies.
Just try to enjoy your workouts!
And one more thing…I know many will not agree with me…
Running is wonderful and has done wonders for me, however, you may not at all enjoy it.
Although you may enjoy running after some trying, however, if you pick something that you enjoy…
I’m absolutely for it…Go enjoy your sports…Fitness is our goal…running or no running…
53. Dodge Boredom
At the same pace, the same distance may get a little boring.
There are several ways to break your running boredom.
You can try the 30-30 boosted run.
- Try to increase your pace and run for 30 sec for 30min.
- This 30-30 run will revive your muscles and break the same running pattern.
A break from the usual does make the chore more interesting!
54. Run naked
Well not literally!!
These days we carry a lot of technology along with us while going for a run or workout.
Pace calculator, fitness band, GPS tracker, heart monitor, chronometer and the list goes on.
True, they are very helpful and improves your performance but the idea of a simple run is long gone.
Sometimes it’s just good to ditch the advanced devices and just run naked.
Run for yourself, spend some time with yourself.
It need not be an accurate power-packed run, but a pleasant one.
You will definitely feel very contended post-run.
55. Enjoy the easy run
Yeah, true go and enjoy some easy runs.
Running behind your goals is great but not always.
Try to break the routine and opt for light running once in a while.
It gives a perk to your mood.
More than that your body needs some light workout in between.
So give your body a chance to recover.
Try and make your easy runs more interesting.
Run up to a field to get a nice view, enjoy the sunset or sunrise, feel the breeze brushing your face.
It is just amazing!
56. Run to music
I love music.
I can relate my mood with music.
So mostly during running or workouts or any other job, the music is there in the background.
Make a nice playlist before you head out for your run.
Over a period of time, you will realize that you want to run because of music.
It will definitely make your runs more interesting.
Running can be one of the best ways to practice mindfulness…
You can focus on your steps or your breath or anything you like…
It is like you are doing meditation while running and this will improve your overall focus.
This mindfulness can transcend into any other parts of your life as well.
58. Eat right
Eating and running go hand in hand.
If you are running, you need to eat well.
At the same time, you need to be careful enough that you are not overindulging in calories.
A balanced diet should have 70% carbs, 20% proteins, and 10% fat.
When you are running you are burning a lot of calories and this might push you to a low depletion state.
Complex carbohydrates refuel you with the glycogen loss.
Avoid simple carbs like refined flour, sugar or drink with high sugar content.
This will only contribute to increasing your waistline.
59. Vary your eating
The key here is to include variety in your diet.
I really don’t mean including junk here.
So you can try different color fruits and vegetables.
The best is to include green leafy vegetables and fruits and vegetables rich in Vitamin C.
Vitamin C helps in reducing the inflammation and helps in recovery.
Your low-calorie meal will look more sumptuous with different colors.
Variations in your diet will also help in maintaining the balance.
You can NEVER miss this.
When you are running you are sweating and dehydrating.
Always carry your water bottle or energy-based drink when you go out for your run.
Dehydration can have very serious consequences.
You surely don’t want to be a victim of it.
Along with water, your body loses essential salts and minerals.
It is a good choice to take a few sips of electrolyte based drink on the go.
Make sure it is not loaded with sugar.
62. Don’t run on an empty stomach
Mostly when you run in the morning, it is advised not to run an empty stomach.
You would have had your dinner early the previous night.
And typically f you do not eat in the morning before the run, it becomes a gap of 8-10 hrs.
This is a very long gap.
You are sure to suffer from fatigue.
Try to eat a small snack 30-45 min before the run.
A banana, small apple, 1-2 hard-boiled eggs or a handful of nuts are good options.
Keep your pre-run snack light.
63. Fast low-fat fuel
They are the energy supplements that you carry while you run.
Typically energy bars or energy drinks or caffeine tablets.
Make sure that these on the go energy bars are low in calories.
Preferably low on the sugar content as well.
Otherwise, it just adds to the visceral fat.
Also, don’t get generous in consuming them.
Use it when you really have the need.
After all, it’s just the supplement and not a vacation treat.
64. Eat within an hour of your run
This is indeed a critical part of your workout.
You MUST eat within an hour after your workout.
Your body needs to recover.
There has been a loss of glycogen and anti-oxidants which need to be recovered.
In your post-run meal try to have a ratio 4:1 carbs to protein ratio.
Include lots of fresh fruits and green leafy vegetables.
They are rich sources of vitamin C and anti-oxidants.
You are definitely starving after your run.
So it is better to keep the meal ready beforehand, else you will end up eating a lot of junk.
A small tip, use a smaller plate to avoid overeating and without any distractions.
You definitely don’t want to waste your workout.
65. Take multivitamins
By now you must be aware of the salt and mineral loss when you run.
Sometimes even after including fruits and vegetables, you may not be able to meet the requirements.
Keep a check if an additional supplement is required.
Check with your GP and have them included in your diet.
66. Iron Supplements
Athletes are more prone to iron deficiency.
Iron deficiency can lead to fatigue and other serious health conditions.
With the lesser number of RBC counts, the oxygen reaching your muscles will be reduced.
Try to eat iron-rich food like spinach, banana, apples, dates, fish, and liver.
You can check with your GP and take an iron supplement if required.
67. Check your pulse
Running puts a lot of pressure on your heart.
Your heart rate goes up drastically when you are running.
You must give your body the appropriate time to recover.
When you check your heart rate the next day it should not be more than 10 counts more than normal.
If it is so, that indicates you have not recovered from the previous run.
You must take rest and wait until your heart rate is normal.
This is very important if you are in the mid-40s or in case you have any medical conditions.
68. Progress gradually
If you are a beginner then this is the golden rule you must follow.
Your running journey should progress gradually.
Take baby steps.
Never rush to reach the milestones.
This is the correct approach for injury-free running.
You need to have good stamina and strong muscles to sustain your running.
And both of these cannot be done overnight.
It takes months to develop endurance.
It is perfectly ok if you start with walking and gradually build over it.
69. Harder is not better
Well, you can push yourself hard.
But don’t be too harsh on yourself.
This can lead to injury.
And if you sustain one, you must wait to recover from your injuries before continuing with your regime.
So your aim should be injury-free running.
Overexertion may lead to stress and aches which can hamper your progress.
In the beginning stages, there is a lot more temptation to take up the challenge.
But, wait, take one thing at a time and stay safe.
70. Go small
When a marathon is your aim, you try to put in your best to do it.
However, you need not be running for hours together right from the beginning.
Instead, you can start with a 20 min walk/run twice a week.
And gradually increase the running duration.
In this way, your body will gradually get accustomed to running.
71. Have a limit
In marathon training, you run for a longer duration.
Your typical aim is to complete the race under 3 hours.
You give your best in the training.
Try to run as long as possible.
But, you should learn to draw your lines.
Never ever run for more than 3 hours continuously.
There is a huge risk of running-related injuries.
Keeping aside the pain and aches, your body can go in glycogen depletion state.
You may also suffer from fatigue and dehydration.
Since you have just started running, don’t aim for a marathon.
This is typically one of the worst marathon mistakes any runner can do.
73. Resting is not useless
Running is a very intensive sport.
When you run, your body tissues develop microwear and tears.
Also, there is mental exhaustion.
To recover from it completely, you need rest.
Once you are well-rested, your body is more than ready to perform at the next level.
73. Slow and steady
So you have put in a lot of effort.
And now the race day has arrived.
What should you do?
Do you have any strategy ready for the race?
When the race starts, there is always a temptation to run fast.
When the co-runners are running faster than you the temptation is all the more.
But, it is not the time to show your emotions.
You need to calm your senses and run at your pre-decided pace.
Try to go slow and steady.
Or even try running the negative splits.
Save your energy for the finish..that is the moment to show your potential.
74. Enroll for a race (make sure its a paid one)
Sometimes you will lose motivation to run.
The best way to deal with it is to sign-up for a race and this should have an entry barrier.
You have to put in some money…
This will ensure that you are fully committed to the race.
And how to find the races going on nearby you?
Do a Google search.
You will find lots of websites sharing the race calendars…
They will also provide you with details about how much costs and how to enroll…
Pay and you are good to go…
75. Don’t run a marathon as your first race
This will be a blunder…
First of all, you are a beginner…
No pun intended…
Just that you lack experience – You probably don’t have that mental toughness or the physical endurance to take on this mammoth.
You need at least 20-26 weeks of training with long runs at regular intervals especially if you are a beginner…
If you have not done that, just forget running a marathon.
Start with shorter distances like 5K and gradually build-up to the marathon.
Otherwise the sheer overwhelm of practice will demotivate you.
76. The perfect runner myth
There is no perfect runner, to be honest, there is nothing called perfection.
The amount of effort you will spend to perfect something will result in a lack of progress.
So, ditch perfection and strive for progress…
You will be far more satisfied with the effort you are putting in.
77. Prevent blisters
Blisters can form due to various reasons but the common root cause is friction.
Friction produces a mild heat, and that creates the blisters.
They are painful and annoying and may leave an ugly scar on your feet.
Here is how to prevent it:
78. Prevent chaffing
Now that you have decided to become a runner, you should be aware of one of the biggest scare out there for runners.
It is the soreness that develops on your skin when your clothes rub against your skin.
It is tender to touch and is extremely painful
To prevent it from happening, you should apply a generous amount of anti-chaffing cream on your body.
This will ensure that you don’t have to deal with the aftermath of chaffing.
79. Maintain a training log
A training log is extremely useful.
After a couple of months of your training, you can look back and see how far you have come.
You can flip through the pages when you are low on motivation.
Also, you can refer back to see what happened in case you have to deal with any kind of injury.
It can also serve as a reference if you seek guidance from a coach to improve your performance.
Maintain some basic stuff like:
- When you have run (Time of the day)
- How long you have run
- Any problem you have faced
- Any pain you are experiencing
- Your mood
- The food you consumed that day
80. You are a runner. Period.
I’ve heard so many times that people say that they are not a runner.
That is not true.
If you have two healthy legs and the motivation to run, you are a runner.
This is one of the basic movements that we learn as a child.
So, believe with every cell of your body that you are a runner.
81. Pay attention to your hip flexors
Your hips flexors are one of the most important tissues of your body that helps your running.
However, if you have weak or tight hips, you may end up being injured more often.
There are several ways to strengthen your hips to enjoy a more effortless and injury-free running.
Don’t ignore any kind of hip pain. Many times we tend to do just that.
We ignore that dull pain in hips until it becomes so severe that we can barely move.
82. Replace your sneakers on time
Yes, you read it right.
If you are thinking that you have purchased a fabulous sneaker and your job is over, then think again.
You should replace your sneakers on time.
Of course, it depends on the amount of running you are doing, but nonetheless, you have to replace your sneakers.
Now when should you replace it?
Here is a simple picture to help you understand:
83. Thinking recovery runs are useless
What is the purpose of the recovery run?
The purpose of a recovery run is active recovery, duh!
What do most of us do?
Turn it into a mini race.
So, next time you are tempted to do this, remember that you will be stressing your soft tissues out and will also be subjecting them to the catabolic effect.
Here are some of the benefits of a recovery run:
- Actively engages your muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
- Promotes more blood flow to these tissues.
- It helps in aerobic development.
- Develops your mental toughness.
- It helps you to work on your running form.
84. Being dangerously adventurous
Don’t get me wrong.
I love adventures…that adrenaline rush…increased heartbeat…the ‘what will happen’ thought…all are very alluring.
But working in the stock market for more than a decade now, I understood there is something called ‘calculated risk’.
Where you know, what is the biggest loss you can have and by how much. You also take deliberate steps to minimize the loss.
However, while it comes to running, I’ve been extremely reckless in the past.
I wanted to complete the distance that I had in the goal and headed out during the wee hours of the morning without informing anyone.
Or I’ll disregard the weather and will head out when the storm is full-blown.
In short, I was putting myself in too much danger.
I got my senses back after being chased by some street dogs in the morning and twisting my ankles and saved by a fellow runner.
That day, I was extremely lucky. Else would have to be in the hospital severely bitten by dogs.
But I learned my lesson well…
Don’t do what I’ve done…be safe…
Here are some guidelines about safety that I diligently follow now.
85. Not having an exit plan
In simple terms…carry some money and your subway card with you.
Also, carry your phone…
Let’s say there is some emergency and you have to head back home fast…
Or let’s say, you get lost and not able to figure out the way.
However, you see a subway station…if you have your card or money, you can head back to a known point.
Otherwise, you are on your as we call it ’11 number bus’, running several extra miles until you figure the route out.
86. Launching a rocket
Do you run fast in the beginning?
Are you out of breath very easy?
Do you want to run faster without getting tired in the beginning?
Then you have only one option.
Run slowly at the beginning.
This will help you to conserve your energy and will help you run longer.
Also, it will help you focus on your breathing pattern and your running form.
87. You mostly run on treadmills
Many beginners rely too much on their treadmills as it saves them from running in the public.
Also, treadmills like Nordic Track T series makes this reliance very easy by offering it at a competitive price and with free 1-Year iFit membership.
This makes the treadmill runs great and you can have a lot of fun on those runs.
They are a handy tool when the weather is bad outside or you want to squeeze in a quick run in your busy schedule.
However, don’t make these treadmill-runs the only runs in your runner life.
Running outside has many benefits like:
- You will be getting to feel the road or the trails.
- You will be experiencing the beauty of mother nature.
- You will be more mindful of your running.
- You will develop dodging skills while avoiding poodles, stones or roots.
- You will be more attuned to the skills needed during different times of the day.
and many more…
Although you may find running on a treadmill easier, however, you should not limit yourself.
88. You need to develop the mental toughness of a runner
As a beginner who has just started running, this mental toughness development will take some work.
Focus on something other than running while you are running.
See how fast the trees are passing by or how the air feels against your skin.
You can also play some mental games like running past 5 trees continuously…then 6 trees or 4 trees…
Focus on anything other than running.
If you put in the deliberate effort for a couple of weeks, you will see significant changes in your mental toughness development.
You can also, significantly increase your mental toughness by running in the cold, or rain.
Even running in the heat can do the trick. However, while applying these tactics, make sure that the weather is not too bad.
Else you will be putting yourself at risk.
89. Talk to your doctor before you start
Running is n easy and effective sport for beginners and can help you to lose a lot of weight.
It can make you fitter without racking up gym membership bills.
However, it is a very cardio-intensive sport and may not be suitable for everyone.
And who can provide you with the correct suggestion?
You may not like the answer but that is true…
Not only when you are starting to run, but also you should consult him when you are want to try a new running plan.
This way you will be safe and will not aggravate any underlying medical condition.
90. 10% mileage increase is a guideline and not a rule
If you have done some research then you may have read or heard that you must increase your mileage by 10% every week.
Let me tell you something…that is absolutely not true…
This is just a guideline and not a rule…
And this mileage increase is dependent on your body…
Your body may be comfortable with an 8 or 9% increase or maybe happy with 2-3%…
Do what is comfortable to you and as is mentioned here, don’t follow the trend blindly…
91. You are afraid of carb
Everyone has given so much bad name to it…
Let me refresh one childhood lesson from Science…
There are three macronutrients that your body needs…
Protein, Carb and fat…
If you skip one or do not take one in an appropriate quantity, you will be pushing your body into a nutrient imbalance.
But how many carbs you should eat?
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that 45 to 65% of your daily caloric need should come from carbs.
If your daily caloric intake is 2000 calories then 900 to 1300 calories should come from carbs.
However, if you are planning for a marathon or a more intense form of workout…then the intake may change based on that.
If you are not clear of how to do that, please consult an RD for that.
92. You want to run a marathon in a day
This is a horrible mistake that I did…
I tried to run for 30 min for the first day of my run…
The break from my past training went long…In college, I ran last…
But then again my expectation was all wrong…
I thought (horribly assumed) that my fitness level has not changed…
Oh boy! I was huffing and puffing only after 30 secs of a continuous running…
It was earth-shattering and I thought I was having a cardiac arrest…
After I returned to my senses, I decided that I will do a walk/jog until I feel ok to run…
You can also do that…Download any Couch25K program on your app and follow the instructions…
However…if that is too difficult for you to try to start with 10-sec jog and 2 min walk.
Focus more on form rather than speed or distance.
93. Be patient with yourself
Most of the runners quit in their second week of trying…
They don’t see progress…
Well, they have already come out to run for 4 days a week for 2 straight weeks…
They still not consider it as progress…
They quit because they cannot run at a stretch for 10 min, some workless (and worthless) a$$ commented on their running, and such silly reasons…
Let me ask you a question…
When have you last ran in your life?
My break was more than a decade…
For some, they may not have run at all in their life…
Then how can you expect that you will be able to make considerable progress in only 2 short weeks?
Not possible right?
Just stick with it and be patient…
You will surely make progress…
94. Use a Couch25K app to help you ease into running
The thing is, they are not happy to follow…
Or at least for me, that is how it is…
This is like someone is forcing me to run and pushing my limits…
Well, that is how it should be, isn’t it…
A little push to stretch your limits but not so much that you should not go back the next day.
I found them useful…
You can also give it a try…If you are a beginner, this will help you to break down that initial barrier for running…
95. Chant a mantra
This can push you to go further, faster…
And mantra can be anything…
When you feel like giving up, just chant it and keep going…
If you are having difficulties in coining a mantra, here are a couple of effective ones…
You may use those until you can come up with something of your own.
- I am strong. I am tough.
- I am almost there.
- I’m a runner.
- Too early to quit.
- Run fast, go past.
- Two more steps.
- Dig deep, breathe deep.
- I kill hills.
96. Movies are my inspiration
I mean it…
The power a movie has to move you is second to none.
They will show you the struggle and how someone conquered the world despite all adversities.
This will inspire you to take action, they will inspire you to move forward if you are feeling beaten down.
So, this weekend you plan to watch some movies.
Here are my favorite five running movies list:
97. You fail to reward yourself
Little by little one walks far – Peruvian Proverb
That is so true…
But what no one tells you is that you should reward each of these steps.
Because you have reached a milestone…
Like, you ran 3 days a week for a month from ‘0’, you are on no carbs for 1 whole week, you woke up early 3 days straight…
The list is limitless.
If you reward yourself for every little step you take, you will be able to stick around for a bigger milestone.
98. You are on Instagram for wrong reasons
What is Instagram for?
To share images. Duh!
And to like them, comment on them and so much more.
But what you do instead?
Sneak into your friend’s profile to check out how much weight she has lost…how stylish she is looking after losing weight…how fat you are…how old you are looking…and the thought train goes on and on…
Now do this…
Start sharing your pictures on Instagram after each of your workouts…
Instantly you will receive so much appreciation that you never thought you will get…
You are more enthusiastic to run more…Tada!
99. You don’t do a gait analysis in the beginning
Although there is a lot of information on the web about your gait.
However, getting a gait analysis done, when you are just starting out is a great way to ensure injury prevention.
Also, they are not very expensive.
You can get it done by your podiatrist, your physical therapist or some specialty shoe store.
But get it done as it will ensure that you pick the right running shoe for your needs.
100. You ditch your coffee
Well, you are embracing a healthy lifestyle.
Good for you.
However, that doesn’t mean that you let go of everything that you like.
Coffee although it has a very bad name, is not as bad as you think, especially the black one.
A limited quantity every day of coffee can boost your performance.
So, don’t ditch it completely. However, ditch the extra calories of milk, foam, cream, and sugar.
101. You let the momentum go
I’m a very visual person.
If it is in front of me, I will be motivated more.
An app doesn’t work for me at all.
You may also try this if you cannot stick to your running plan.
You need a calendar and a marker.
Put a tick on the days you have run and a cross on the days you have not run.
I’ll not repeat the exact steps here.
If you would like to learn the exact method, then read the ‘don’t break the chain method’ in Running at 4 am in the Morning: 11 SECRET Habit-Forming Tips.
photo credit: verchmarco Frankfurter Marathon Athleten mittendrin via photopin (license)
photo credit: verchmarco ASICS Frontrunner at Frankfurt Marathon via photopin (license)
photo credit: verchmarco Anthony Modeste in team jersey, leaving the pitch after football training via photopin (license)
photo credit: romanboed Amsterdam Meet: 5K via photopin (license)
photo credit: Chris Hunkeler Runner in BOA Split Running Shorts via photopin (license)