Top tips for new runners - Women's Running

Tips for new runners

Author: Chris Macdonald

Read Time:   |  October 8, 2014

If you’re about to embark on your running journey, it can feel a little daunting. Worries about not being able to run fast enough, far enough, being judged harshly by passersby and doing yourself an injury are possibly coursing through your head. But there’s honestly no need to quake in your trainers. Take a deep breath, read these tips and you’ll soon be raring to get out for a run – we promise!


First things first

Perhaps this will be your first ever run, or perhaps you’ve tried running before but just haven’t got on well with it. Previous attempts may have ‘failed’ because you’ve headed out too fast and tried to run for as long as possible, which generally results in lungs feeling like they’re on fire and niggling injuries. The key is to start slowly. Perhaps head for a 30-minute brisk walk, which includes five to ten short 30-second jogs. You can check out our beginner’s training plan on this website for how to get started.



Fit to run

If you’re new to exercise in general, you’re probably going to feel muscles you didn’t know existed after those first few short runs! This is normal – aches don’t necessarily equal injury.

‘Aches and pains are very common when you start any new exercise,’ says Simon Fairthorne, Bupa Sports Physiotherapist at the Bupa Basinghall Street Clinic. ‘Distinguishing these from injuries can be difficult. Minor muscle aches and delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) are normal, but reoccurring localised pain in a muscle says something is wrong.’

Simons top tip for pain? Ice.

‘If it’s a new niggle ice it’ he says. ‘If it’s swollen ice it. If it’s bruised ice it.’

And never ignore joint or tendon pain.

However, if the aches you are feeling stem from simply starting running from scratch or returning after a long break, you should be fine to continue with your training. It can help, though, to “get fit to run”. This means adding strength and conditioning exercises to your weekly routine. You don’t need to do a lot for now (you’re just starting out, after all), but setting just a little time aside each week for this could really help your running.

‘When it comes to strength and conditioning for runners, there’s not much that compares to the simple lunge,’ says Simon. ‘Start with a forward lunge with a relaxed back knee, then add a reverse lunge once you get going. As you progress, try the “lunge around the clock”, lunging to 12, 3 and 6 o’clock on the right leg, and 12, 9 and 6 o’clock on the left leg. There is only one simple technique rule to remember – keep your knee pointing over your toes.’


Stretch it out

Finally, as a new runner you’ll probably hear a lot of debate about stretching. Should you or shouldn’t you? Simon’s easy top tips are as follows:


  1. Stretch slow and long /away/ from running.
  2. Do a light warm-up followed by dynamic (moving) stretches before running.
  3. Stretch lightly after running.
  4. Don’t stretch if you think you might have pulled a muscle or injured a tendon until you’ve had it checked out.


Now all that’s left to do is follow our get-going tips, pin that training plan to your wall, pull on your trainers and head for that first run. You’re in for an exciting journey… enjoy!

Chris Macdonald

Editor-at-Large, Women's Running

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