Running Tips for Beginners

I like fighting. Sometimes, though, I am the enemy.


Priscilla Doran, Contributing Writer, Hixson TN

In gymnastics, mastering a pullover meant fighting myself. Climbing the rope meant fighting my fear: It’s only my first time. I can’t do it.  It’s the same with running.

Recently, my team made a video. One girl said running meant, “Doing something you never thought you could do…and then you do it.”

Running doesn’t mean logging a number of miles, a number of pounds of weights, a number of minutes. It means fighting yourself to do something you never thought you could do.

So if it’s hard, don’t be discouraged. That’s what it’s about! If you’re a first time runner, here is my advice.

  1. Don’t start too fast. Depending on how used to exercise you are, it’s important to balance how much you run. Don’t be discouraged if you have to walk at first–but there’s something called the 30-60 rule that’s helpful: Walk for sixty seconds, run for thirty.
    I found an infographic that helped me go from running a quarter mile to three–a huge step for me. Here it is.
  1. Do core. My cross country friend recommended this to me when I started running. It works! I recommend doing ten+ minutes core after you run, so your muscles are tired and have to work harder.
    I started with Popsugar’s core workouts. On my Youtube channel, I created a core workout playlist ranging from easy to hardest which is here if you’d like to try it.
  2. Strength train. This may be important if you have not exercised in a while. Building muscle (especially in your legs) will help you run without developing injuries like runner’s knee. Not sure where to start? Wall sits, calf raises, and squats are good muscle building exercises. (Don’t overdo it–like running, strength takes time and consistency). I have a playlist of workout videos I use here. (Warm up before strength training!)
  3. Stretch! Stretching prevents injury and keeps your muscles healthy. When I started running, I actually did more stretching than running. After I started running more, I started stretching less, and noticed more injuries appear. So don’t underestimate the power of stretching.Alivia D’Andrea provides excellent stretching routines, and inspiring health-based stories.
  4. Go Slow. Track your progress. Once you can run ½ a mile without walking, that’s an achievement! Next, focus on running one mile. After you can do that without needing to walk, try two miles. Three. Eventually, I ran four miles without stopping (I was exhilarated then). This all happened in one summer–I went from doing ½ miles to 4 miles, and that’s when I joined the cross country team. “Quarantine glow ups” can happen.

Your Running Checklist: Next Steps

  • Print Couch to 5k Running Infographic
  • Get a playlist of abdominal workouts
  • Get a playlist of stretching videos
  • Assemble strength workouts to do
  • Plan your weekly workout sessions (include running, core, and stretching, as well as strength training on off/light days).

Good luck!