Running for beginners – 15 things you should know

There are lots of things you'll learn when you start running. Here, we've compiled a few tips to get you started as a beginner.

1. How to treat an injury

Before you even start running you need to know how to treat injured muscles, because then if you do get injured you can act on it straight away and waste no time. If you roll your ankle you should put an ice pack or some frozen peas on the ankle straight away to reduce swelling, after this you should rest it for as long as it takes making sure it is fully recovered.

2. Shoe selection

Buying and selecting the right shoe is very important, the more comfortable you are the easier the run will be and the less long term injuries will occur. Try on at least 3-4 pairs of shoes making sure you find the perfect shoe. Ask the store about the shoes, which are most comfortable etc. Finding the right shoe is key.

3. Running attire

Make sure you wear the correct clothing for the correct weather. In the winter you should wear a few layers to make sure you stay warm, if you are too cold your muscles will be the same although they are working, if they are too cold then you may injure them very easily. In the summer you will want to wear less layers this is so you don’t get too hot, if you do get too hot then you will get tired quicker and get dehydrated very easily. This could lead to you fainting or feeling very dizzy causing you to stop halfway through your run.

4. Where to run?

Many people think running around the block or on busy main roads is better but this isn’t always the case… running on trails is a lot safer as there is no traffic, you can fully focus on the run not everything around you, there is less chance you will get hurt. You will also get to run constantly instead of stopping every 5 minutes at a set of traffic lights. Try to run with a friend or family member if possible.

5. When to run?

You can run whatever time you like or whatever time suits your everyday life but most runners run in the morning. The reason behind this is because it wakes the body up and gets your body and brain physically and mentally ready for the day ahead. In the summer you can avoid the hot weather by running either in the morning or at night, this will reduce the risk of dehydration.

6. Stay safe

If you are one to go for late night runs, then you should always make sure you run with a partner no matter where your route is. Always stay alert and aware of the things around you, try not to have headphones in as then you can hear everything around you. You should also wear reflective clothing so nearby cars can see you and slow down beforehand.

7. Exercise accessories

You may want to track your runs to see how many calories you’ve lost, how long it took you or even how far you ran, this is a good way to try to improve, you could try and beat your time or run further on your next run. Gradually start improving and then you will be a pro. You don’t need to spend a fortune on the accessories, a simple cheap exercise watch will do the job.

8. Warm up

Warming up before a long run is one of the essentials, the main reason behind warming up for any sport is to prevent injuries typically pulls or tears of the muscles being used. There are many ways to warm up but a typical warmup consists of a pulse raiser and then dynamic and static stretches. It is important you always warm up properly before a long run.

9. What to eat before a run?

You should eat foods that contain carbohydrates in them as that is what gives your body the energy it needs to do a long run. But if you have a big meal you should let it all digest for at least 2 hours, you don’t want to start running with a full stomach as you will get a stitch straight away or even puke up everywhere and no one wants that to happen now do they! Fruit is a good snack to eat before a run especially bananas as they are full with energy and they are also not too heavy.

10. How weight loss affects your running speed

The more weight you lose the quicker you can run without getting tired as quickly. So the more jogs you go on the quicker you should be able to do them as each jog you are losing weight which makes it lighter on your working muscles to help you go faster and further. The further you go the more calories you will burn, this is affective on your body as it helps you lose weight and your cardiovascular system gets stronger so more blood can get around to the muscles quicker which also means you can use those muscles to a higher intensity.

11. How to start running

You should always start off nice and easy, gradually getting your body used to running. Start going on light jogs around your block or local park, gradually increase the distance and then gradually increase the speed of your run once you start to feel more comfortable. You could even start on a treadmill instead of going straight onto the road, as some people don’t feel that confident so running on a treadmill may increase their confidence.

12. Always do a warm down

A warm down is important so you prevent injuries, it’s basically the equivalent to a warm up but you just do it after the run rather than before the run. The reason behind doing it is because it cools down your body and the working muscles which are going to be very warm as the blood has been rushing through them. it prevents lactic acid building and it also reduces the risk of injuries such as pulls or tears to the muscles. So ALWAYS make sure you warm down!

13. How to get motivated

Motivation is what many people lack in and you need it to even start running in the first place. Many people find that one friend who enjoys running too and is also on the same level of you, those people motivate their friends to run and then they make it a regular thing and add it to their daily or weekly routine. Jogging with a friend can motivate you more than you think, you just need to find that person who is willing to do it with you.

14. How often you should rest during a long run

If you are going for a very long jog then you should stop for around 2 water breaks, but there is an issue… some people end up drinking too much water at once which results in them getting a stitch once they carry on with their run, this then makes them stop to try and stretch the stitch out and it causes them to mess up the whole entire run. So the key is to take sips of water no big gulps! Take sips of water every so often to make sure you stay hydrated throughout the run, especially in the summer you may need to take more water with you. Hydration is KEY when it comes to running a long distance!

15. On the run fuel

Many people such as sports players use glucose supplements that come in packets at half time of a football game. These packets consist of edible gel like substance which is full with glucose which fuels your body with energy. Many people use this when they are midway through a run as it refuels their body to make sure they finish the run. You can get them in different flavours.