13 tips for beginning runners

January 13, 2015

This is a continuation of my running story. The first part actually got me back on track with running. Since that post, I received a lot of encouragement, booked the next race (running half marathon on March 8th!) and signed up for a very cool gym, so I’m back in business! Right now I’m experimenting with different running apps and plans, bought a few books about running techniques, try to follow bulletproof diet (I’m very consistent with the coffee part, hehe) and I run at least 3 times a week plus have two pilates classes and one hike a week. But more on that later.


So running. There is tons, TONS of information about it out there. But since today is January 13th, I came up with 13 tips for beginning runners and things I personally did/read/used. All this is purely my experience, I’m a beginner myself. If you have thoughts on this or would like to share your tips, please share them in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you!

1. Do your research

Read. Study. Understand running and what it does to your body. I read stuff in Russian mostly. And Lifehacker on running. And Runner’s World.

I’ve just downloaded Gordon Pirie’s “Running fast and injury free” pdf (link) and bought Pose method of running by Dr. Nicholas Romanov. Haven’t read them yet, but they are highly recommended on running blogs and sites.

2. Get friends on board

I told people I’m running. This made a public commitment to the new routine and really helped in the long run. Literally. I had friends supporting me during the race (mentally) and it helped beyond words. Social commitment is crazy powerful – having a running or a workout buddy is vital for me. I have a friend picking me up 4 days a week at 7:07 am and we go to the gym together. If this is working for me, so not a morning person, anyone can do this.

3. Get the right shoes

I bought mine at New Balance. They had good shoes for my heel, I tried 5 or 6 pairs and these were just perfect for me and my goal (running on treadmill, long distance runs).

4. Are you running right?

I watched this video about the right positioning of the foot

and this video about the pose method of running

5. Run where you can

To me running on treadmill was a conscious choice – running outside was just too hard for me – too hot/raining/humid/hazy/can’t wake up early/too dark when I get home/hundreds other excuses – I would never get into running had I waited for better weather or a perfect moment. So I ran indoors. The half marathon was actually the first outdoor run in Malaysia. Not the smartest thing to do. So yes, decide where you are running and when, but just run, ok?

6. Then commit to it

Just show up. Do whatever helps. Don’t slip. Better run slower and steadier and build up pace than burn out on week one. Trust me, you will see results fast.

7. Set a goal

Do you want to run a race? Lose weight? Be able to run 10km without dropping the pace? What motivates you? Set yourself a goal.

I had: to be able to run 5km (I thought it would take a while, but with lots of dedication, I pulled it off in two months), then it was “run half marathon”, now the goal is to run a full marathon in 2015. And then? I don’t know yet, let’s see.

lets go

(click the image for the source)

8. Have a plan

I used Runkeeper‘s 0 to 5km plan and then a half marathon preparation plan. Of course I didn’t do the WHOLE plan perfectly. I missed one or two workouts here and there. But to me, that was the hardest – committing no matter what. And then I started seeing results and it became easier.

Now, I’m not a big fan of Runkeeper, will give Nike+ a try. I’m using Garmin’s Vivofit and the heart monitor to track stuff, but still haven’t found a good smart app. Advice?

9. Celebrate your results

Suddenly people started complimenting on my look and my clothes became too loose. That’s when I realised that small steps over long time show real results. Looking back, I can totally say the result stayed even though I paused running for a few months.

10. Book that race

I booked a Penang half marathon in August and a Standard Chartered KL marathon in November. Needless to say I did underestimate the time I was ready to dedicate to this and overestimated my capabilities. I did run the half, but the full marathon.. The half made me realise how much more serious I need to be about it and how much proper training I need to be able to pull off a full marathon. So I skipped that one for now.

Furthermore, I paused running after the race for 4 months! I’m slowly starting back now, but the break was a conscious decision. It could have been shorter, now I fell out of the habit and it’s very hard to get back into the flow.

No tips here, I guess. It’s my big problem – so I’m dealing with it as much as I can – committing to something and getting it to become a habit and not letting it slide. Hard..

remember why you started

(click the image for the source)

11. Find motivation

No joke, running quotes are cheesy, but guys, they are so empowering! If a fluffy quote makes you get out of the bed in the morning and run 5km, it’s probably not that fluffy, right? Check out Pinterest for inspiration. Goodreads also has a good collection of quotes.

12. Don’t stop

See step 6. Consistency is the key here. I just cannot emphasise on this enough!

13. Enjoy!

“People sometimes sneer at those who run every day, claiming they’ll go to any length to live longer. But don’t think that’s the reason most people run. Most runners run not because they want to live longer, but because they want to live life to the fullest. If you’re going to while away the years, it’s far better to live them with clear goals and fully alive then in a fog, and I believe running helps you to do that. Exerting yourself to the fullest within your individual limits: that’s the essence of running, and a metaphor for life — and for me, for writing as whole. I believe many runners would agree”

― Haruki Murakami, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

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