Our standing for Black History Month UK is not just to tell Black, British stories, but to amplify Black, British voices, and ask them to tell their stories themselves. Episode 1: Aminata Kamara...
Passionate runner? Or want to find out how to start running?
Either way, this ultimate beginners guide to running is designed to bring you the best running tips; so you can hit the road for the first time, or take your pace up a notch.
It's time to delve into the world of running, with the very best beginners running tips, putting you one stride ahead when you next hit the tarmac (or treadmill).
What's in our ultimate guide of running for beginners?
- What Are The Health Benefits Of Running?
- Our Top Six Running Tips For Beginners
- Running Plan For Beginners
- Strength Training For Runners
- Muscles Worked When Running
Scroll down to find out more on each of the above, and get the best running tips for beginners...
What Are The Health Benefits Of Running?
If pure enjoyment doesn't have you increasing your stride, maybe the proven health benefits of running will?
Lifting weights may be the current fitness phenomenon, however, numerous health benefits have been linked to running, no matter your ability or experience; which means it's definitely got a place in your fitness regime!
Putting on your running shoes and hitting the pavement, treadmill or trail is a great way to increase daily activity, cardiovascular fitness and mental health.
Here are some of the main health benefits of running:
- Increases happiness
- Promotes muscle development
- Can help aid weight loss
- Helps to relieve stress levels
- Promotes better sleep
- Significantly reduces the chance of heart disease
- Can help prevent obesity and type 2 diabetes
- Increases bone strength and joint health
Our Top Six Running Tips For Beginners
So, you understand the health benefits of running, now you're probably wondering how to start running?
If you're reading this, there's a good chance your motivation levels are pretty high, which is awesome! However, it is important to ease into your running sessions, and, if you're totally new to running; don't be afraid to start off with a few fast paced walks each week to build up confidence, condition your muscles and create a positive habit you can stick to.
Here are the best Running Tips For Beginners:
1. Pace Yourself
It's not uncommon to be overly motivated at the beginning of your running journey, but it's as important as ever to pace yourself. This includes your running speed, intensity and training frequency.
Keeping an eye on your training load is key to avoiding injury in your early days of running. Remember, your body may not yet be conditioned for this type of exercise, or running frequency, so although it may feel easy at first, pacing yourself will allow you to continue progressing, rather than nursing injuries.
The chances of strains, repetitive stress and foot pain will be more likely during your first few weeks of running as a beginner, or if you're returning to running after a break.
Check out our beginners running plan further down this page for a training structure you can stick to.
2. Give your body time to recover
This has to be one of the most important running tips for beginners.
Yes, your muscles may be a little sorer than usual, but if you're experiencing genuine pain or discomfort from your body, it's essential you allow it time to rest and recover.
If you're suffering from sore muscles, it's most likely 'DOMS', otherwise known as delayed onset muscle soreness. This is the aching discomfort you feel in your muscles following intense training; however, this should subside within 48 hours.
Doing 'nothing' can actually prolong DOMS, so consider lower intensity exercise such as walking, mobility stretches and slow jogging to help increase blood flow and relieve your muscle fatigue and DOMS.
3. Make A Running Playlist
Music - a beautiful, timeless invention.
We all have our own taste in music, which makes it all the more important you pick a running playlist that'll help motivate you to keep moving, even when times get tough, with the wind against you and the heavens pouring.
If you need a little inspo', we've got heaps of Gymshark Playlists for you to follow on Spotify, click here to check it out.
4. Get Yourself A Run Buddy
Running on your own may sound great at the beginning, but as motivation levels start to dip, it's easy to throw your feet up on the couch and miss a session.
Running with a friend or group can be extremely motivating, while also adding a level of accountability to your running commitment.
Share these running tips, and the health benefits of running to a friend. Running can be a great social activity with friends and family!
If they're not interested, don't worry, there are plenty of local running clubs that will gladly welcome you into their squad, helping motivate you along your running journey, sharing their own running tips and experience with you.
5. Condition Yourself For More Than Running
It's easy to neglect other aspects of your fitness and strength when starting your running journey. Balancing your running sessions with other forms of strength and exercise will help to build muscular resilience, preventing injury and boosting performance. Don't neglect your strength training!
Repeatedly hitting the road without developing strength in the gym can lead to injury and a performance plateau.
Be sure to balance out your training with strength-based exercises to work on muscular endurance, speed, power and potential imbalances; all of which will help with your running in the long run.
6. Wear The Right Gear
Look, we aren't saying go out and buy a wardrobe full of expensive new running kit.
And we definitely won't be insinuating that if you cop the latest, super-lightweight sneakers, that you'll be running a sub-2-hour marathon (Eliud Kipchogne, we're looking at you...).
With that being said, staying equipped for the environment and surface you'll be running on is a great start. If you don't have suitable running shoes, this is a good place to start. Offering extra support, cushioning and grip for your runs. Grab a snug pair of reasonably priced runners and body will thank you for it.
And with the clothing, well, of course we're here to help. Keep things practical with the new Gymshark Speed Collection, launching later this month, providing you with the perfect step into cardio.
7. Make it a habit
Last, but most definitely not least...
Consistency is key; if you want to succeed with your running, building a weekly routine is essential.
Choose a time you can run each week and stick to it, whether it's a Monday evening or a Saturday morning, sticking to a schedule will help create a habit that makes your exercise part of your life, rather than a chore.
Check out our example of a beginners running plan below to get an idea of where to start with your running.
Running Plan For Beginners
Fail to prepare, prepare to fail...
We've heard that time and time again, because, more often than not, it's absolutely true.
Without a clear idea of what you're trying to achieve, and the steps you need to take to get there, you're making the challenge much tougher than it needs to be.
Achieving your goal is all about taking small steps. Similar to building a wall, it may seem overwhelming at first, but as you build brick by brick, the wall soon starts to take shape.
We've put together the ultimate beginners running plan, to take you from a fast walk to running for 30 minutes, twice per week. This plan includes strength training days, which you can do at home or at the gym with/without weights.
This base beginners running plan can be amended with progressions or regressions, dependant on your running experience. Once you have completed the six weeks, a de-load / lower intensity week will have been well earned - go back to week three and work your way back up to week six.
Strength Training For Runners
Conditioning yourself for running is key to injury prevention, increased performance, and recovery times. This isn't about turning you into a bodybuilder, but strength training for runners is crucial.
All three of the aforementioned benefits aren't just for the elite runner, in fact, a study by NCBI saw 41.6% of amateur runners record one or more injuries from the sport with over 80% of these linked to lower limb implications, potentially preventable from the correct conditioning and strength training programme.
What are the most important muscles worked when running?
Before you can create a strength workout for runners, it's important to understand the muscles worked when running. Emphasis can then be placed on both the muscular strength, endurance and mobility of these muscles to help reduce running injuries and increase performance.
- Hip Flexors
- Calf Muscles
What are the best strength training exercises for runners?
With hundreds, if not thousands of exercises that can aid both your running performance and injury prevention, we wanted to cut it down to ten of the best strength exercises that can help beginner runners progress - many of which can be completed at home, without weights!
- Barbell Squat (or front squat)
- Split Squats
- Romanian Deadlift
- Box Jumps
- Glute Bridges
- Clam Shells (w/ resistance bands)
- Speed Skaters / Lateral Jumps
- Banded Crab Walks
Your core also plays a key role in stabilising your body, but the most important muscles when running are the five listed above.
Need a little inspiration for leg strengthening exercises? Check out our best leg exercises article here.
There we have it, the ultimate guide to running for beginners. Remember, whether you're new to running, or wanting to start running again...
Consistency rules. However you plan your runs or training programme, developing a routine you can stick to is the key to progression.