35 Beginner Running Tips

 
 
35 Beginner Running Tips

 

OK, it’s me Sarah writing this post because if HB wrote it:

  1. You would never run again.
  2. You would not pee yourself with laughter.
  3. You would skip over the actual proper technical running jargon.
  4. I am funnier. 
  5. I win.
No seriously, when you first start running for whatever reason you’re doing it, you really don’t quite know what you’ve signed yourself up for. 
 
So being the giver (not the taker) that I am, I’ve devised a not so helpful list of tools and tips on how to get started, not give up and how to keep on running. 
 
PS: If you just happen to be a dead set serious runner like HB, it’s probably best you stop reading now.
 
PPS: Tips are in no particular order of importance, just the randomness driven by my brain.

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35 Beginner Running Tips

1. Toes – you will never ever again have pretty feet. There is not enough OPI or shellac in this world that can cover up the black toenails, lost toenails and callouses that you will endure on your running journey. I used always get compliments on my feet whenever I went in for a pedicure, that stopped 12 months ago. Now I just get looks of sheer disgust.

2. Shoes
– A good pair of running shoes is very important. Ignore any advice that tells you to slip on your Vans and head out for a 10km run. Go to a running shop or an accredited sports shop and get properly fitted with runners that suit your feet. Yes you can be cheeky and get their expert advice and go home and buy it cheaper online but at least you will have the right pair of runners. Don’t buy the same shoe as your friend or your favourite running blogger ie Me, because chances are they will be the wrong ones.
 
3. Barefoot wannabes – Yeah so you may have read ‘Born to Run‘, never run in your life, but you’re all inspired to get out there and want to try the minimalist approach with your shoes. If you like your toes, knees and hips … don’t fucking do it. You need to get some decent mileage under your runner’s belt before you attempt this. 
 
4. Running is expensive – based on a decent pair of shoes alone this will set a fine dent in your wallet. Then you can add your fancy pants gadgets, running gear, hydration and nutrition and OMG next thing you know you will be wanting to sell tattoo space on your ankle just like an Olympic athlete.
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RIP Old Sole x

 

5. Yes you can – run much more than 500kms on a pair of runners before you ditch them for new ones. Running companies need to make the big bucks, so of course they will say this. Keep them in business peeps. But if you’re still running with the same pair a year later, best to let those moths fly out of your wallet and buy some new ones.
 
6. You can’t eat what you want – Yeah this sucks to the max! In fact, many marathoners gain weight whilst training for the big day. You cannot shove pies in your face all day long just because you went for a 10km run, came home and laid on the couch for the rest of the day. If you want to lose a few kilos by running, then sadly you need to keep a food and exercise journal and unfortunately, be sensible with what you put in your mouth.
 
7. Nutrition – Yup, it also matters what you fuel your body with and when you eat it. Don’t go running on a full stomach, that’s just like asking to be knifed in the guts. Don’t go running with a hangover, that’s like asking to be king hit in the head. Get the picture?
 
8. Comparing yourself to others – this will just cause intense depression and possibly even drive you to give up running all together. Slap yourself silly now please! You cannot compare your 5km time to an 18 yr old girl twenty years your junior, or to a Kenyan male who rose from the hills of Africa and was born to run. Genetics can suck when it comes to running, but most of us are not in it to qualify for Olympic time trials either. Most of us also don’t want to be the last one crossing the finishing line, but someone has too.
 
9. Compare if you will – it’s human nature to compare yourself to others, especially when you run past another runner or they whiz past you. You cannot help but think about what pace they are doing, how many kms they run per week. If you know someone who is on the same running level that you are, that just went out and ran 30kms on the weekend then use this jealous energy to get out there and do the same.
 
If they can do it, so can I. It’s a somewhat unhealthy negative attitude that works. Who knew?!

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10. Non-Runners will call you obsessed – who cares? while you’re out there in the zone on a Saturday morning long run, increasing your distance, improving your lap times they are sitting at home in bed watching reruns of Friends and wishing they had your dedication. Find some like-minded friends with similar interests to you. Ignore their taunts and jeers, start wearing your race medals around your neck to work. Be proud, you’re a runner.

11. Stretching is Bullshit – let’s face it not all of us know how to stretch properly, and we all look a little bit wanky when we try and do it. Start your run off slowly, let your muscles warm up, let those limbs limber up and then increase your pace. Definitely invest in a foam roller for post-run recovery and work on building some core muscle strength too.

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12. Anyone can run – It doesn’t matter how tall, how short, how fat, how thin or how stupid you are, you can run if you want too. Running is not an exclusive club. At the start of this year, I saw so many morbidly obese people out there on my run, heads down and shuffling the best they could. I still see some of them a couple of months later, they have lost weight, they are running faster, their heads are up, they make eye contact, and they have the running bug. I take my hat off to them.

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13. Mental Health – running will not cure your mental health issues. Yes, you will have major increases of serotonin and happy endorphins floating around your brain but quite often this is not enough to keep the black dog or anxiety at bay. So even if you’re running 50kms a week, don’t stop any medication until you’ve consulted with your doctor.

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Don’t be scared now. 

14. Safety Concerns – As a woman I had serious concerns when I first started running long distances solo. I had to give myself a stern talking too, there is not a serial killer hiding behind every tree, there is not a rapist waiting for me in every park I run through. Yes, bad things happen but they are rare events. You do need to keep your wits about you. Try and run in daylight hours, carry your phone if you can, and if you listen to music keep the volume down low. It’s also not adviseable to watch Wolf Creek II the night before a long run.

15. Random strangers are more likely to be scared of you than vice versa. I run past one old lady some mornings and because I sound like an elephant thundering through an Indian jungle she whips her head around at me and looks at me in absolute horror every single time. I’m certain she thinks I’m going to stab her in the back just to steal her ugly fucking poodle.

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My First Half Marathon really should have been
BREAKING NEWS!

16. Post Selfies – Some call it bragging, but runners know there is nothing like sharing the post run selfie – runfie. You’re proud of yourself, so why not let the whole word know it. Those who don’t like it, well there is a ‘unfollow‘ button, shut up and use it. Posting selfies inspires others to get off their butts and get out there. Just wait, it won’t take long until you get your first comment ‘I went for a run today because of you ….’. You won’t wipe that smile off your face for a week. Guaranteed.

17. Bust your balls – it is not necessary to run like the wind every single time you run. In fact, if you do this you will most likely cause yourself some serious damage. Mix up your weekly running with a tempo run, intervals, speed work, hill training and a long run.

18. Running is HARD – it is bullshit hard work. When you first start to run, you will be red faced, wheezing, struggling to breathe, trying not to vomit and thinking death is nigh. You will be writing your last will and testament in your head and choosing your funeral songs. It does get easier, each run gets easier and one day you won’t even have to focus on your breathing anymore it will just come naturally. Don’t give up!

19. Running is ADDICTIVE – There is not much that beats that runners high after a fabulous run. You don’t always get it but when you do, you know exactly why you run. Halfway through a run, you may swear you are never running ever again but when you’re at home uploading your stats to Strava, you will most likely be planning your very next run. Women, it’s similar to childbirth, you forget the bad shit and that’s why we do it again and again.

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RICE Rest Ice in riesling, Calf sleeves, Elevation

20. Rest Days – are not only important they are necessary. Your body needs time to repair and recover. If doing nothing makes you anxious then go for a swim, cycle or walk around the block. Or start a blog.

21. Weather extremes – most of us are not lucky enough to have perfect running conditions all day, everyday. Plan your runs accordingly, be smart. I live in a hot tropical climate so I have to run early in the morning or late in the evenings. I’ve learnt to love running in the rain and believe it or not you won’t get sick or catch a cold. Runners are incredibly healthy and generally speaking we have high immune systems that keep the bugs at bay.
 
22. Running may cause anxiety – In many ways more than you may think. If you miss a run, sustain an injury or god forbid lose a $40 Thorlo sock in the dryer … all hell will break loose. 
 
23. Dreadmills – When I first learnt to run I started out on a treadmill at the gym. I gradually increased my time and my distance to 5kms. Nothing compares to road running though. My first 5km road run after doing multiple 5km treadmill runs, I wanted to die. It was very different, and it was tough.
 
24. Runners form – you will start to read shit about correct running form and posture. Don’t worry about it. Concentrate on breathing, finishing the run and managing not to call 000 during it. Posture and form can come afterwards when you are more experienced. 
 
25. Running jargon – Have a convo with HB on running and he will be spitting out terms like pace times, negative splits, positive splits, cadence and your head will begin to spin faster than a carousel. Again, learn to run first and the rest will follow.
 
26. Bad runs – Now there will be many of these when you first start out. I remember running my first 10km run and at the end of I shouted to HB who was trying to encourage me to run the last extra 800m home. I should not repeat what I said but I will, I told him ‘to go fuck himself‘,  and I was never running again and in no uncertain terms was I going to sign up for the half marathon program. That was over 12 months ago, I’m still running and he ignores my running tantrums because he loves me. And still now some 5km runs piss me right off because they are so hard and yet a 17km long run was a breeze. Learn to take the good with bad.  
 
27. Good runs – now I promise these will happen. Every now and then you will run a truly effortless run and be disappointed when it ends because you could have just kept on running. When it happens, lock that moment into your brain for safe keeping. Pull that memory out on a shitty run. This is why I run. Repeat.
 
28. It’s OK to stop – I can thank HB for this running issue I have. HB has a theory it’s not a run if you stop. Bullshit! When I used to do my long runs with him and had to pause for a drink of water I felt like a complete utter loser because I could not drink water on the go. I am quite possibly the most uncoordinated person on this earth, me drinking water on the go would most likely result in lung aspiration and death. It’s also OK to stop and go to the loo on a long run too. 
 
29. Nature Calls – This is where I call bullshit on HB’s ‘no stopping rule’, I know he gets the occasional stomach troubles when he runs and he just has to GO. If there are no toilets in sight he will go behind a bush, many runners face this same issue. Be smart if you can and plan your route around some toilet stops. Hello, Runners Trots. 
 
30. Pee – I have no issues with my stomach but on occasion and thanks to giving birth to 4 children I do pee a little when running downhill. Thankfully Darwin is mostly flat and I haven’t noticed the problem here, but ladies if this happens you’re not alone. Thankfully there are some great sports liners out there to decrease your embarassment and you can be quite confident that no-one will notice. Maybe just don’t wear white running shorts. 
 
31. Self doubt – most runners fight a war inside their heads and it is filled with self doubt unless you’re Usain Bolt himself. Your brain is your own worst enemy, your body can run, your legs are built to run. When was the last time you sat and watched a two year old at a park, all they do is RUN. Slowly as we get older, we get lazier, more immobile and we lose this natural ability.
 
32. Mindset – if self doubt plagues you like there is no tomorrow then you need to change your mindset from negative to positive pronto. This is something I have had to do. On many runs my head has said ‘you can’t run this far. It’s too hot, you’re too slow’, now I just tell my head to STFU. My running mantra is literally ‘out with the negative, and in with positive’. I shut those thoughts down as soon as they enter my head now. I think of my week ahead, I write out a blog post in my head, I think of my weekly shopping list, I sing along to the songs on my iPod and I do anything to block out the negativity.
 
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33. Hitting a wall – Most beginners stop running and walk when they hit their first wall. I hit a wall every single time at the 3-4km mark, I slow my pace right down and think all I can do is run in this moment and put one foot in front of the other, I concentrate on making it past 30 metre landmarks in front of me and I keep doing this until I’ve forgotten all about the wall I just hit and I get back in the zone. Until the next freakin wall and then I just repeat the process. 

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34. Positivity Sucks – Occasionally you will have to pull out the big guns to direct your focus and keep on running. Please only do this if you have a sense of humour, not recommended for those who don’t. I want you to stand full frontal naked and look in the mirror. Let your shoulders relax, let that tummy relax and most of us will not like all of what we see. Remember this image, lock it in. The next time you hit a wall and want to stop and walk, remember that full glory naked you, remember that you want to rock a bikini, remember that you want those bits to stop jiggling when you run and run you will.
 
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Tape those nipples.

35. Chaffing – no matter how trim, taunt and terrific you think you are, bare skin will chaff unless it’s covered up. This means covering yourself in head to toe in running apparel or using a little bit of body glide in the places that naturally rub like your inner thighs and under your arms. Unless of course you are indeed Usain Bolt’s lovechild. 

 

Can you add anymore tips to this list?

 
 
 

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