Ready to Start Running?

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I’ve got 8 Tips to get you started running — and enjoying it!

Running is often seen as a simple sport, and on the surface, it is: Put on some clothes, lace up your shoes, and just run.

Speaking of shoes, that leads me to my first tip . . .

Get fitted for shoes at a running store
Here’s a cautionary tale for you: my sister decided, no doubt after years of hearing about my running, that she would start running, too. She didn’t get running-specific shoes (or ask me for any advice). She injured herself badly and that was the end of her running.

A good running store will at the very least watch you walk to see if you pronate or supinate. If you’re lucky, they’ll have you run a bit. If you’re really lucky, they’ll video you running and do a gait analysis. Although I’ve had different opinions about my foot mechanics at the same store.

Run in those shoes before you buy them
In pre-Pandemic days, running stores allowed you to run a little bit in the shoe. I don’t know if they still do that. You can’t really tell if a shoe is right for you — especially if you’re a beginning runner — but you will at least be able to tell whether or not the shoes feel good out of the box.

I like to say that I have to run at least 6 miles in a shoe before I can tell if it’s really the right fit. As a beginning runner, you won’t be running 6 miles at a time! If there’s a problem with the shoe, the store should accept a return (like the time the sole came off my trail shoes).

In the future, once you know your foot mechanics and the type of shoe recommended for you, you can try buying your running shoes online. Some brick and mortar stores have loyalty programs — make sure to ask about that.

If running feels terrible . . .
. . . you are probably running too fast. You should be able to talk. Your runs should feel easy. Don’t worry about pace, that will come with time. Even if running feels good, you should still run easy! It takes time for your cardiovascular system — and more importantly, your body — to get used to the effort of running.

It’s okay to walk
New — and experienced runners — get very hung up about not walking while running. You are still a runner even if you walk. Especially when you start, walk breaks will help running feel easier. Even experienced runners can hold off fatigue by taking walking breaks. Jeff Galloway is a famous Olympic medaler who promotes run/walk.

What about the famous runner’s high?
It definitely exists, but many runners will tell you they don’t feel it until they stop running. Some never experience it at all. Thankfully I have, and it’s a wonderful feeling — usually one I get after a race.

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Cotton is Rotten
Unless you enjoy chafing, I highly suggest there should be no cotton in your running gear (yes, that includes your socks). Cotton blends can be okay — often race shirts are a blend of polyester and cotton. Cotton doesn’t wick away moisture, which is part of why you are much more likely to chafe if you’re wearing cotton anything.

You Earned Your Callouses
I suggest you keep them! They are usually places on your feet that take a beating, and hard skin builds up in that area. They are there to protect that area from damage. Whatever you do, don’t try to get rid of them before a race!

2 Tips for Your First Race, No Matter the Distance
Almost every first time racer obsesses over their finish time. Don’t! Enjoy the experience. Soak in the atmosphere. Chat with some of the runners: before, during, after.

My number one racing tip, and this one applies to both seasoned and novice runners: don’t go out too fast! Just trust me on that — it pretty much never ends well.

Final Thoughts
Running is sneaky. You may start it thinking I’m only doing this to lose weight, or because my doctor told me it would be good for me, but it has a sneaky way of getting under your skin. Some people love running from that first run, and others can take months or even years to fall in run with running.

Follow some (or all) of these tips and I promise that your love affair with running will start sooner rather than later.

You might also enjoy:

5 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Running

ABCs of Running

What if I ___________ in a Race?

5 Cs of Mental Toughness

What’s your number one tip for beginning runners?
What did you have to learn the hard way?
What do you wish you’d known when you started to run?

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Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with the new Runners’ Roundup linkup.

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33 thoughts on “Ready to Start Running?

  1. All good tips.

    As a seasoned runner I still break many of these.

    The most important thing to remember is that there are no hard rules. All runners are different. Also all races are different.

    And that runners high I also only get that after the race. Which is why I race so often.

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  2. Yes to all of these, Judy!
    Most new runners worry about pace, distance and not walking….and yet all of that doesn’t matter. Faster paces and longer distances might come with time.
    Even now, as a seasoned runner, I like to take walking breaks…although I cleverly disguise them as “photo stops” 😉

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    1. Oh no! I think we’ve all made mistakes like that. Pretty sure my most recent foot soreness was due to running too many miles after a very short break mi thought the hiking would make up for the lack of running — that’s worked for me on the past!

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  3. My running store lets you return the shoe if you aren’t satisfied up to a month I believe! A runner’s high definitely exists and it bums me out that some people don’t get to experience that! The cotton tip is a HUGE one. My husband loves his cotton socks but quickly learned they are not for running!

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  4. I ran in cotton for way too many years! Looking back I have no idea how I did it, but I didn’t know any better. its great when stores have good return policies on shoes. It can be tough to know how a shoe will work for you until you’ve run in it several times.

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    1. I agree it can take a while to know if the shoe is really right! I’m somewhat lucky, I can get away with a lot of different times of shoes. Usually.

      I don’t know how you ran in cotton either! I think that would be painful for me; I’m a heavy sweater!

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  5. I don’t run in cotton clothing but do miss the cotton tops we would get at races. The long sleeves were nice too. I would wear wear as pajama tops. I remember running with Jeff Galloway during a few Disney races and that’s when I was convinced about walking during a race. If he did it then I can too.

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  6. A tough lesson to learn was to leave my ego at home when I started running. Trying to run like others (trying to run “fast” or imitating someone else’s cadence) because I didn’t want to look like a beginner…did not have me instantly loving the sport of running. Taking walk breaks is such a great way to build your endurance, and it’s a great way sneak in a quick recovery move while running (as well as photo ops).

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    1. I just may have to rename walk breaks to photo ops. 🙂

      I never did try to run like anyone else, it amazed me that I could run, LOL! But yes, I often did wish I could run at the same pace as some of my friends — as easily, anyway. Although I suppose you never know how the other person is really feeling.

      It definitely took me a while to fall in love with running, too. It’s just not something that comes easily to me.

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  7. These are all great tips. My biggest piece of advice would be to commit to at least three months of consistent running before making any decisions about whether or not to quit- it can feel hard (and not fun) at first but if you keep with it, you can get to a place where everything eventually “clicks.” And then you’ll love it of course! 🙂

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  8. Great tips! I always tell new runners that they should start with a walk/run program and gradually increase the running while then reduce the walking. I’ve seen many go out and run 3 miles the first time then be so sore the next day they can hardly move. That includes me! I couldn’t walk for several days because my calves were so sore.

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  9. Yes, those calluses come in handy for runners. I always joke I have “runners feet” and am proud of it because they’ve carried me many miles.
    Having support from other family members unless a person is single is always huge, whether you’re a new runner or not. If you live with someone and probably even more so if you have kids, you really need the support of your partner before you start running.

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  10. Great tips. I am also one of those that started out too fast, too far when I first started running several years ago. I had shin splints so bad that I went to the doctor because I couldn’t walk up stairs. I thought I had broken something. LOL Now, I do run/walk and try to follow the 80/20 plan of having 80% of the runs at an easy pace.

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