Have you been wondering how to start running? If you’re a new runner, and not sure where to start, these five running tips for beginners can be considered whether your running goal is to become a faster runner, gain running techniques for long distance or maybe complete a 5k couch challenge.
This information is generic and does not take into account your individual circumstances. Before starting any exercise program, seek advice from an appropriately qualified health care professional.
Set achievable goals
As a new runner setting goals can not only help you develop your running skills, but also help keep you motivated. As you start to achieve your goals, you may build your own motivation and running can become more rewarding.
Whether you start small with something like complete the 5k couch challenge or run a marathon, setting any goal is a great way to stay focused and motivated.
Sleep is king
As you advance through your running training, your body will rebuild broken-down muscle fibres to adapt to the increasing stress you put it under2. The key time for your body to perform this recovery is while you sleep2.
With this in mind, it’s important to aim for a minimum of 7 hours sleep as part of your training schedule2.
Tip: 1hr to 30mins before you need to doze off, physically jump in to bed. This will help your mind start to wind down and minimise the opportunity for distractions to arise.
To avoid injury, it's important to ease yourself into running by starting out slow and gradually increasing your pace and distance over a few sessions3. Running too fast at the beginning can increase your chances of exhaustion by the end.
Try to take it easy for the first 1km, steady through then middle and then finishing strong.
Mind over matter
Be your own cheerleader. Frequent repetition of affirming statements about yourself can encourage your brain to take these positive affirmations as fact. When you believe that you can do something, your actions can follow these beliefs1.
Nike’s Running global head coach Chris Bennett explains how "visualisation can help you get into the right headspace and gain the confidence you need to hit your target pace"2. "Imagine you're on a track, you're running smoothly, it's a nine out of 10 effort", says Bennett. "You feel a little dangerous, but you're smiling"2. Picturing that effort helps you get to ‘know’ a pace, he says. And once you know it, it's no longer scary2.
So, try smiling as you run and remembering why you are running (think back to your running goals).
Breathing can make or break your success when it comes to running. As you run it’s important to concentrate on taking deep breaths that puff out on the exhale and suck in your belly on the inhale2. Belisa Vranich, PsyD, a clinical psychologist and the author of Breathing for Warriors explains that this technique can help open up more space in your lungs for oxygen. "The densest, most oxygen-rich part of your lungs is at the bottom of your ribs", she says.
In summary, running is a fun and flexible way to exercise that can help keep you in shape and help you lose weight3. Happy running!
- Healthline (2020). Positive Affirmations: Too Good to Be True? Accessed https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/do-affirmations-work
- Nike (2021).11 Tips To Help You Run Faster. Accessed https://www.nike.com/au/a/11-tips-to-help-you-run-faster
- Healthdirect (2020). Running tips for beginners. Accessed https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/running-tips