7 Tips for Newbie Runners
My relationship with fitness has evolved over the years. I played basketball in middle and high school, but then I barely exercised during college and the years after. In 2015, things took a major shift when I discovered Kayla Itsines’s BBG guide. Fitness came back into my life and changed it in an incredible way. It wasn’t long after that that I fell in love with SoulCycle, leading me to become an instructor from 2016-2018.
Though I no longer teach, fitness is still an important part of my life. Since I’m not spinning as much these days, I’ve had to get curious about what sparks my interest when it comes to exercise. I’m big into group fitness, so I’ve been doing classes like Y7 (yoga), Body Rok (reformer pilates), an GloveWorx (boxing). My boyfriend, Aaron, is a runner, so occasionally I’ll go on a run with him.
You would think that after teaching several classes a day for two years, I’d be able to go on a run with no issues. After all, cycling is cardio and so is running. I shouldn’t have too much of an issue, right?
RUNNING IS SO HECKIN’ HARD!
And if I think about it, running has ALWAYS been hard for me, both mentally and physically. It pretty much feels like torture the entire time. I’ve been convinced that whoever talks about the “runner’s high” is a LIAR!
But despite that, running has always piqued my interest. Plus, I’ve never been one to shy away from a challenge.
I recently had a partnership that included 5-mile race through the streets of NYC. I was pretty nervous for this one considering I’m not really a “runner”, and my max distance is usually three miles. Was I scared? Yes. Did I question my own physical capabilities? Yes. Did I struggle? Oh yeah, you bet! However, I said yes for the same reason I say yes to most things: I wanted to challenge myself.
I gotta admit, the race was definitely tough but it ended up going way better than I anticipated. The first mile was absolutely the hardest, but after that, my body eased into the rhythm, and the energy from fellow runners helped as well. I was so proud of myself for doing the darn thing. Maybe a half marathon is even in my future now! Who knows!
The week leading up to the race, I took to Instagram to ask for some running advice and y’allz did not disappoint. Since a lot of you have been asking, I thought it would be beneficial to round up some of those handy tips so that any beginner runner going through the same struggles as me can set themselves up for success!
Tip 1: Make a fire playlist
Allow music to fuel your motion! Some people like to pump themselves up with EDM while others prefer hip-hop or rock. Some of you even told me you prefer to listen to podcasts! So why not try it and see what works best for you? Whatever you choose, it should motivate, entertain, or allow you to zone out.
If you’re looking for some playlists, here are a few that I made on my Spotify:
I also have been loving the Run ‘N’ Bass running playlist made by Spotify.
@Slayorcray wrote: “Make a playlist that has jams that always get you going… Your brain will connect your memories from those songs with what your body is doing and it will help to propel you through!”
Tip 2: Run with friends
Who says running can’t be a social event? Not only will it help hold you accountable therefore strengthening your endurance, but it’s also just more fun! If you are running while catching up with friends, it can very easily take your mind off the physical challenge you are putting your body through.
@Mclemenz shared: “It is definitely more fun if you run with friends. I build my social schedule around running with my running friends and I chat and catch up with people and then it is always fun!”
Tip 3: Pick some affirmations that resonate with you and use ‘em
Like most runners will tell you, the sport can be more mental than physical. Even if you are just reminding yourself to put one foot in front of the other, having a few affirmations in your back pocket is key. There are a lot of great sayings that are so simple and motivating, they have the power to keep you going.
Some great affirmations that I love and that my community recommended are:
“My body is so awesome for even being able to do this.”
“I will feel amazing when I finish this run.”
“It is great that I am even trying.”
“I can do anything for 20 minutes.”
“It takes more energy to stop and walk then it does to just slow my running pace down.”
Tip 4: Give yourself something to look forward to
There ain’t nothing wrong with a lil reward, and running shouldn’t feel like a punishment. If you are looking to run a certain distance, a great way to motivate yourself to reach that goal is to have a place you are running to. You can run to a cafe or a bookstore or heck, even brunch! My favorite is running to Aaron’s cafe, Three Seat Espresso, to treat myself with an iced matcha afterwards. Whatever gets you excited! Running outside is a huge plus too and will help distract you, rather than running mindlessly on a track or treadmill.
@thehuffie says: “Give yourself something to look forward to/run to. Whether it’s a fun outdoor cafe for a coffee or a fruity beer. Run outside so you can be distracted.”
Tip 5: Set small goals
If you are a newbie, it might be really helpful to go for a certain amount of time rather than speed or distance. Instead of aiming for 3 unbearable miles over the course of what could be 40 minutes, make a simple, more attainable goal. Something like: “I want to run for 20 minutes nonstop.” When you are starting out, it can be more beneficial to keep going, rather than starting and stopping for a long period of time.
Same thing with speed, too! You don’t want to wear yourself out by running at your peak speed for the first 5 minutes. You know what they say -- it’s a marathon, not a sprint! Start by running slower than you think you have to so that you can sustain that. You can always pick up the pace from there.
Also, if you would rather go for distance, know that the first 2-3 miles are the hardest! If you get past that -- which you can -- it will get easier. Remember to also set short-term goals and take it week-by-week. You ain’t gonna be perfect in 2 days and that is a-ok!
Tip 6: Be mindful of your breathing
It’s extremely important to breathe properly and give your breath purpose. You don’t want to just be sucking in a bunch of hot air.
@Miaahrens suggests: “Breathe in for 3 steps, breathe out for 3 steps. Breathe into your tummy, and find what breath count works for you!”
Stitches can often come from not breathing properly, so you definitely want to be aware of that!
Tip 7: Keep running!
Before the big 5-mile race, I was really unsure that I was going to be able to do it. Every run I went on leading up to the event proved to be quite disheartening, with my thighs feeling like bricks and never-ending stitches. However, despite all of that, I still showed up on the big day and I accomplished the dang thing!
Also, ever since completing that run, my entire mindset on running in general has completely shifted. I’ve been keeping up with it since then and I actually enjoy it and find it way easier than before. The seemingly impossible has become possible!
If you are looking to get into running, it is so important to make running a habit, even if you are just getting out and running for a couple of minutes each day. Remember something is better than nothing.
@clara_bo_bara says: “The more you run, the easier it gets. Promise. I remember cramps in my sides and shin splints almost making me give up. Keep going! It’s worth it - the best stress reliever and free workout that you can do anywhere. I honestly look forward to my daily runs.”
A reading suggestion for all you aspiring runners out there:
Also, I’ve been using the app called Map My Run which has been awesome for tracking the distance of my runs, and also things like pace per mile.
Other suggestions that I’ve gotten for apps are Pacer is great for those who are looking to start up a regular running routine. Strava, Runcoach, and iSmoothRun are all great apps for tracking mileage, time, etc, with other fun aspects!
Any other run tips or tricks that have worked for you? Leave ‘em in the comment box below!