Running is one of those passions that takes no time to learn but a lifetime to master. One thing that beginning runners and elite champions have in common is that the best of each are still eager to learn.
In our experience, the best running advice doesn’t necessarily come from books or experts. It comes from the collective wisdom of everyday runners — online, in running groups, around the water cooler. That’s why we’re reaching out to all of you to share your best running tips in exchange for a shot at some fun, useful prizes.
Our goal is to come up with a solid roundup of tips from three categories, with prizes going to your favorite submissions. So from now through Sunday, April 29 please share your favorite running tips in the comments section of this post. The three categories we’re looking to fill are below –just submit your tip and tell us which category you’re entering. Submit as many tips as you like and tune in on Monday to see if you’ve been selected to move on to the voting round.
The categories are…
Running Basics (running tips, dos and donts, general advice)
Running Gear (shoes and accessories)
Motivation (inspirational quotes, running when you don’t feel like it)
What’s in it for you?
Your choice of a new SPIbelt (retail US $19.95) — the absolute best way to carry your gear while you’re running.
Your choice from our suite of Bluefin training apps ($2.99 – $9.99). We love these things, too.
We can’t wait to hear what you guys come up with. Be sure to keep an eye out as submissions come in and check back next week when voting begins. Thanks for reading and playing along!
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When you feel it gets to hard, just tell your self it’s just putting one foot in front of the other…..it’s actually not that hard.
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When you start to feel yourself struggle, pick a mantra and just keep repeating it over and over to yourself. Mine is ” What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger!”. I’ve repeated this to myself over and over for a mile. It helps me focus on something other then finishing or how much more I have left. It gets me out of my own head!
There is no such thing as a bad run. When ever you get out and put some time on your feet is that much less time you spend on the couch.
It’s not really about the destination, but the journey itself. If you don’t enjoy the journey, the destination is going to be anticlimactic or worse, you give up before reaching your goal.
My advice is that beginning runners shouldn’t be scared of going to slow, for fear of being last. A friend of mine said “you have just as much chance being first as you do being last… There is only one of each!”
Also, I love keeping a list of “pump up tunes” as I hear them, so I can add them to my running playlist.
The speed/pace at which you run does NOT define you as either a runner or as a jogger. Shocking, I know. 🙂 Too many new runners (I was one) either by reading blogs and books or by word of mouth get caught up in the trap of what pace is considered the official ‘runner’ pace. They get disappointed in their performance compared to other runners, lose hope and often times quit. Don’t give up because I am going to tell you a secret: If you are moving at a speed that is faster than your normal walking speed and your INTENTION is to run, YOU ARE A RUNNER! Isn’t that liberating? It was for me, so relax, run at a pace that is conversational (unless you are doing speedwork), and have FUN! 🙂
Eek, I forgot to name my category! My apologies!
Running Basics. Many thanks! 🙂
On the days that I don’t have a good run, I remind myself that I just lapped everyone on the couch.
You need great music and know that it’s mind over matter. Don’t listen to your mind that it’s time to quit…listen to your body!
Even if you are self-conscious about your weight or your slow pace, get out their anyway. There is no shame in trying to change. Eventually you will be proud to run around the neighborhood.
Get good socks! I’ve had one blister and it came after an 18 mile run when I wore a different pair of socks. It may take some trial and error to find the right pair, but when you do, stick with them!
Basics: forget “no pain, no gain.” That doesn’t apply here.
After your run, post your successes (or failures) in your status update. Nothing beats the support from your family and friends. Who knows, you may inspire someone else to start running.
For motivation, even when I don’t want to run, I find that after the first 400 yards, I forget about my day at work, any stresses I have or any dread I had about my workout. My thought at every start is “just give it 400 yards” and I know I’ll feel better. I know it’s hard to start from nothing and train for a 5k or more, but if you never start, you’ll never get better. Just give it 400 yards, or the first interval or whatever it takes. You might be surprised at how your mood changes once your body starts moving.
While you’re working hard at becoming a runner, take care of your feet: make sure your nails are trimmed (no kidding – hitting your nail on the inside of your shoe is NOT fun), pamper yourself with a massage every now and then, and literally put your feet up once a day. In that same vein, it’s worth the investment to shell out money for functional socks. A friend of mine learned that the hard way after training for a half marathon in cotton socks.
Having trouble getting up the oomph to actually run? Remind yourself that all you have to do is close the front door behind you, ready to run; everything else will follow. If you think ahead of time about the run too much, it can be easy for beginning runners (and those of us starting back up after a “season” not running) to put it off for another 10 minutes, an hour, a day or several days. Success is just getting that front door to close behind you.
I started running last year and I got very frustrated with trying to break a 30 min 5K. I pushed and pushed, came very close. I started doing a Bootcamp style (core) workout along with my running and I’m now sub 27 mins in 3 months. I highly recommend picking up a serious core workout along with your running. It did wonders with my running times, and I feel like a million bucks after my runs now!
I’ve always hated running. It seems like my body isn’t built for running, because it is SO hard for me and my progress is SO slow. So I definitely need motivation. So to get my bum in gear, I take my dog out with me. He loves to go on walks and runs. So I tell him we are going on a run right when I get home from work. He knows what that means and gets all excited and energized. And then I know I have to go before I have a chance to sit down on the couch, or look around for something to eat, or check my email, or anything else that will deter me from going. Even though I know I would be disappointed in myself if I didn’t end up going, the thought of disappointing my dog by reneging on my promise to take him out is the true motivator for me to get outside and run. So my advice is to get a running buddy – whether it’s a dog or a human friend. Making promises to someone else along with yourself makes it harder to find (or make up) excuses to not go.
My second piece of advice is to track your progress. Whether it’s with smart phone apps, a GPS watch, or just pen and paper, seeing what you are accomplishing motivates you to keep pushing yourself. 🙂
A great running coach once said that the key to running long distance is to “start slow and taper off”. For slow runners, like me, it was good advice. It also applies well to beginners. If you find yourself getting winded or tired, shorten your pace (the distance of each step) as much as possible, but keep running (in other words, don’t walk if you can help it). Although you may be “running” at a pace that isn’t any faster than walking, you’re still using the same running motion and working the same muscles that you use for running. Try to maintain your normal running cadence (the speed of your steps) if you can. Then, when you’re ready to speed up, you can keep the same cadence but increase your pace.
Mix it up. Try to vary your routine a little every time. That may be as simple as running your favorite route in reverse, or doing something completely different. It’s like adding a little flavor to dinner, it is still dinner, just better.
Whenever I don’t feel like running I always tell myself, it’s more than what I’ve done the day before, each day I tend to push myself a little harder. Also, watch your nutrition. It amazes me how your body feels when you are PROPERLY fueled for a run, long or shot:)
Rest! Your body needs rest. That means take a full day every once and a while and don’t run/bike/swim/rollerblade/hike/pretend to rest 🙂
Just take a day off every week. It will be fun and your body will love it.
Go to an actual running store and get fit for shoes. Strength train. Stretch your calves a lot, especially after running on hills.
As a brand new runner I am finding that interval running has been really helpful to gain distance and time. I run for 2 minutes and walk for 1 minute and repeat until I hit my distance goal. Currently I can run almost 4 miles using intervals!
Just get out there and do it. You never get better, faster or stronger without trying. Also, don’t underestimate the importance of the right running shoe. It has made all the difference in the world for me. Not only was I purchasing the wrong shoe, I didn’t know my correct size. I was put in a bigger shoe and all of my foot and shin pain has disappeared.
When starting out, try to run at the same time each run day. Scheduling your workout helps make it a priority in your day. Working out before breakfast has been shown to kickstart your metabolism, which is great for those looking to lose weight.
When starting out, try to run at the same time each run day. Scheduling your workout helps make it a priority in your day.
Dynamic stretching is your friend. It preps your body for the run and gets your blood flowing.
Running basics: don’t neglect resistance training! I had a ton of knee problems in my 20s-early 30s and only after years of pain, doctors and PT did I figure out that it was because my quads were too strong in relation to my posterior chain. Working the back of the legs (hamstrings, glutes, low back) have stabilized my hips and my knees rarely bother me now (in my 40s). I’ve never been a very long distance runner, but it seems that many of my friends who are runners end up having a PT tell them to start working on their legs at some point (even body weight exercises are great). I know that I need to do squats and kettlebells to keep mine working.
I’ve only been running a year but one thing I have learned is to stay hydrated and do NOT worry about your time. Go for a run and just go slow and relax and enjoy it.
Don’t compare yourself to someone else’s abilities. Sometimes it can take others longer due to injuries or other issues. Go out and enjoy it to your abilities and build on to that.
As a running newbie, make sure you set some kind of goal and find a plan that fits your needs to follow. Having those sessions laid out for me made sticking with the runs so much easier! Also, if you’re having a hard time with speed, DON’T WORRY about it. Just run slowly and try to achieve the intervals each time. This gives you a huge boost when you finish. You can always work on speed later. 🙂