50 Best Beginner Tips - From The Forum

At the last count, 132,000 runners had posted 1.6 million messages between them on the Runner's World forum - here are 50 good ones for beginners


Posted: 26 July 2004

At the last count, 132,000 runners had posted 1.6 million messages between them on the Runner's World forum. That's a ton of useful tips!

Our readers already helped us pick out some of the best threads (or 'conversations'). Now we've gone a step further and picked 50 of the best tips from within those threads.*

Enjoy them! You can even bring threads back to life by adding a new (relevant...) message at the end of them. And as ever, don't forget to eventually scroll to the bottom of this article to see a list of related articles you might be interested in...

Training | Motivation | Injury | Nutrition | Racing | Shoes and kit | Weight-loss

Believe us, though: there are thousands more...

Training

How to improve on 30-minute runs
The Bobolink - You can try for a quicker time or you can try and increase your distance. Personally I would go for the distance. You could think about entering a 10K race and then working towards a half marathon but again it depends on where you want to go with this running malarkey. As you get stronger you will probably increase your speed anyway. See full thread

How to run more often
Johnny J - Slowly increase the length of a weekend run until you are up to a couple of hours fairly easily, and build up one other run (mid-week) into a real hard speed session. Treat the other two runs as steady general purpose training. When you are accomplishing all this fairly easily you could consider moving up to five sessions. See full thread

Indoor vs outdoor running
Dragon breath - You really just can't beat the outdoors. You get to see other runners and there's always somewhere to spit. My favourite time to run is about five o'clock at night so I'm moving faster than all the sad commuters stuck in their cars. It makes me glad to be alive, even when it's raining. See full thread

Dr Brainz - If you are already a member of a gym then by all means use the treadmill to gain some experience of running. Put it on a 1 degree incline and away you go; also treadmills are generally a bit gentler on the legs. See full thread

Finding time to run
Helen A - I'm no morning person but I get an enormous satisfaction from going out first thing. The roads are much quieter, it always seems to be less windy and I feel so good when I get to work knowing I've already exercised. Just try it once and see if it works for you! See full thread

Pioneer - I could never find time to run, so I've started to run home from work three nights a week, Monday/Wednesday/Friday. I live about six miles from work so it takes me less than an hour, which is only 25 minutes longer than catching the bus. If I have nothing planned in the evening I run different routes to add variety. See full thread

Weight-lifting alongside running
Dalya - I do a great deal of lifting in addition to the running. It is generally best to lift weights that feel on the lightish side, but to do a lot of repetitions. This builds your endurance and stamina, but when done correctly, tends to circumvent the bulking up that you get from heavy lifting. When you start lifting, it is really important that you get experienced supervision and advice, as you can injure yourself otherwise. Try to find a coach for a few sessions if possible, if you have not done so already. See full thread

Motivation

Overcome self-sabotage
Cary - I've been making futile attempts to run regularly for years and have always felt that I just wasn't good enough somehow. So this year at Christmas I simply decided it doesn't matter any more how fast I do it, it's that I do it. I went on to realise how often I sabotage my running efforts, in that as soon as I finish a run I begin to criticise and scold myself for all the things I hadn't done well, such as being too slow, or even at times not enjoying it. Since I've left all of that behind, I am running regularly now, three or four times a week, and for the first time am actually enjoying a lot of the runs. See full thread

Join a club
Michelle - Last week I emailed a couple of clubs in my area (explaining how I felt and what my best times were) and they both replied inviting me to come along, explaining that there were runners of all levels and abilities at the clubs and that they would welcome me as a new member! Maybe you could email a few in your area, and I'm sure they'll be as welcoming as the ones I've tried. See full thread

Train by racing
Nick - Why not use 5K races as part of your training routine. I assume you don't enter them with the intention of winning, so why not enter them with the intention of adding them to your training routine. This should give you some milestones to work to, the chance to run in safety, the buzz of joining others and some nice little medals/mugs/certificates/bottles of beer to admire on those long dark nights. See full thread

Watch the public
Froggy Jo - If I start to lose motivation, I go and sit at a pavement cafe in Bath, watching people of my age waddling past (you know the ones, spray-on leggings and midriff-exposing T-shirts) and think "with a bit less effort and a bit more lard, there go I". That normally does the trick. See full thread

Find a running partner
Stu Gordon - I find that training with someone else really helps loads. If you do train with someone else, you can talk and let your minds wander! Before you know it, you'll have been running for an hour and a half! See full thread

Chart your progress
Velociraptor - The realisation that you can do a bit more today than you did this time last week, the way muscle definition starts to appear, the endorphin rush that makes runners pleasantly crazy, the sheer pleasure of using your body to do what it was designed to do - move - more than compensate for a bit of inconvenience. Grit your teeth and get on with it. See full thread

Keep a record
Gavin Hall - Get yourself a training diary ( just an ordinary diary with "training" written on the front will do). Fill it in every day, even if you fill in "nothing". See full thread

Aim for a race
Cougie - Whatever your aim is, try and pick a run that you want to do in the future. Then you'll have a goal to focus on. See full thread

Common beginner injuries and health tips

Blisters
Marathong - The night before a long run, I put petroleum jelly all over my feet, put socks on and go to bed. The petroleum jelly softens the skin while you sleep. On the day of the run, I put Body Glide all over toes and areas I might get a blister, and wear double layer socks (Wright makes good ones). I haven't had problems with blisters since I started this regimen. See full thread

Monique - Dancers buy jelly toes which are caps of bandage with a squashy silicone gel inside. They fit over individual toes and really do help prevent blood blisters. See full thread

Shin splints
The Dog Walker - The two main things you can do to prevent shin splints are (a) build up your mileages and intensities very gradually and (b) avoid running on hard surfaces as much as possible.
I had shin splints for a while, and they were finally sorted out by a visit to a podiatrist, and some orthotics. Expensive, but very effective in my experience. See full thread

Stitch
Dangly Spice - Usually with beginners it is caused by eating too close to running, or gulping down too much water at a time instead of sipping little mouthfuls when running. See full thread

Back pain
WildWill - Actively think about your posture while running - one of the major causes of back pain while running is inappropriate posture. You may find you are either leaning forward whilst running or running with your back slightly twisted. See full thread

Smoking
Steve Metcalfe - Think of the lungs as just another muscle. You're exercising it by running far more than you ever have before, so it's bound to complain at first. It happened to me too. Just stick with the running and your lungs' ability to cope with the extra demands will slowly improve. See full thread

Emer - I know a (very good) runner who told me he gave up by running very fast up long steep hills, and then smoking at the top. Eventually he came to associate fags with choking and throwing up... See full thread

Sweating
Shire Horse - I've found a high-wicking top helps enormously as it stops clothes clinging to me. I prefer to run outside as the cool air helps. See full thread

Hay fever
Ice maiden - Try running in the morning or just after it's rained; there will be less pollen in the air. Failing that, a small amount of petroleum jelly in the end of each nostril, (do make sure you can still breathe through your nose though), may catch any stray pollen. I wear glasses and that does help the eyes a bit. If you're not a spectacle-wearer, try reactolite sunglasses. See full thread

Beginner Nutrition

Timing food
WildWill - Normally have something about 90 mins before a run (nothing that repeats and normally carbs) and sometimes a banana a few minutes before I run. But I have to make sure I GO before the run or I tend to need an emergency pit stop!! See full thread

When to use a sports drink
Paula - My dietician friend advised me to use a sports drink if my runs were going to be any longer than about 45 minutes. You need to replace the various things, especially electrolytes, that you lose through sweat, that plain water can't replace. See full thread

Make your own sports drink
ZorbaTheTaff - Try making your own isotonic energy drink with 50/50 fruit juice/water and a pinch of salt. Much cheaper than commercial drinks and works just as well, I feel. One pint per hour delivers about 30g of carbohydrate, which is what you need if you're running more than two hours. See full thread

Odd but energy-filled
Jacqui Starling - Eat banana mashed up with a tablespoon of low-sugar peanut butter (microwaved-just enought to be warm and mushy - sounds horrible but tastes lovely about half an hour before a run. Fantastic energy boost! See full thread

Discover your own secrets
Ems - Try writing down EVERYTHING you do in a day, not just your running. Also note down everything you've had to eat. When you have a good day running, look at what else you done and eaten, and do the same for bad days. You'll soon work out what's helpful and what's a hindrance. We could all give you tips, but we don't all work the same way! See full thread

When weight-loss comes
Velociraptor - It may take some time for weight loss to start. Those long runs, where you have to switch to using fat as fuel, are the key (although total mileage, and speed sessions, help too), and the ability to reach that distance and to switch smoothly to fat-burning, instead of conking out when the glycogen starts to run low, doesn't come instantly. See full thread

What to eat after a run
Velociraptor - If you can't face food (and I'm with you there in not finding it easy to eat after an evening run), have half a litre of sports drink or squash (not the sugar-free sort) as part of your post-run rehydration, and maybe a couple of biscuits with your bedtime cocoa. Then follow up with a big breakfast! See full thread

Racing

Choosing a pace
Del Piero - Just pick a reasonable time goal and keep to that pace (try not to get caught up in the moment and go out too quick). I usually pick someone who is going my pace and run behind them, makes a big difference when you're pacing with someone. See full thread

Swerve - Most races have markers at each kilometre. Work out what pace you need per km, and adjust your effort depending on whether you hit your expected time at the first marker. The idea is to keep roughly to an even pace. Hopefully you'll have some left in the tank for a big push in the final km or half km. Very important - try not to go off too fast! You'll pay for it later. See full thread

Pre-race nerves
Michelle Crick - There is a bit of a competive feel in the air but it was so exciting - I can't wait to be fit enough to run again this year. The thing I found was that there were so many people there different shapes and sizes and ability. I remember at the finish a little old lady sprinted past me at the finish - humiliating you would think, but I just laughed at the whole experience. See full thread

Gill G - When you get nervous, try thinking about how good it will feel just to finish your very first race, and about how much you have improved since you started out (that's what I'm trying, anyway!) You say you're not very fit, but you've just done five miles... that's way better than me! Good luck. See full thread

Goo5e - Remember the charity that will benefit from your venture - they won't care where you finished, but just thank you for making the effort and helping them. See full thread

What does 'undulating' mean?
Fiona - This description can cover basically flat ground with a few non-level bits to courses with hills that climbers would be proud to achieve! The best thing to do is to try and look at a map which shows contours etc, this at least gives you some idea as to the flatness (or not). Multimap online is very useful. See full thread

Beginner Shoes and Kit

Shoes
Jane M - The most important piece of kit will be your running shoes, which should be comfortable and suited to your running style. See full thread

Cleaning running shoes
Iain - In winter, 'hand wash' them in a bowl/bath and then turn them upside down to get the worst of the water out. Then stick them on the central heating storage thing to dry out. An old toothbrush is good at getting mud off, I find. See full thread

New shoes for racing?
Jill Neill - Not sure it's a good idea to run your first race in brand-new shoes. I feel I always need to break mine in a couple of times before they feel really comfy. It may be best to do the race in the shoes you've been training in, and then look for some new ones. See full thread

Avoiding chafing
Fergalk - Nike do a pair of lycra shorts with the seams running across the body (left to right from inside of leg to opposite side rather than back to front.) No Chafing (research by Mr Fergalk), so comfy running. See full thread

What to wear in the rain
Jill Neill - Wearing anything vaguely waterproof while running makes me... how shall I put this delicately?... sweat like a racehorse, so I just wear a T-shirt and tracksters. Getting wet from rain is preferable to stewing in my own juice, and I just do a quick change to dry clothes when I get back to the house/car. See full thread

Cold-weather running
Village runner - In the winter, or if the weather is cold, I wear running tights, and find a gilet is best. If I wear a light jacket I end up having it tied round my waist for most of the run. I'm a real sweaty runner, so under the gilet I wear a short-sleeved wicking top, or if it's really cold a long-sleeved wicking top. You can buy them in all sorts of weights so best to go to a specialist running shop and have a good look at what's on offer. See full thread

Weight Loss And Running

Eat enough
Gail H - Make sure that you are eating enough. If you don't give your body enough food to fuel all the exercise you are doing, it will refuse to give up any of the energy (fat) stores it has. See full thread

... But not too much
Hobbit - It may be that you are eating too much, even if it's the good stuff! Okay, you need energy to run, but you still need a calorie deficiency to lose weight; when you are running your heightened metabolism enables you to eat more because you are using more energy, but if your intake exceeds your energy needs it will still be stored as fat, even if its 'good' food such as carbs etc. See full thread

Three tips that work
Lozzabeth - The most effective things I've found are: giving up drinking (not fun but it helps weight loss like you wouldn't believe), writing down what you eat (it's easy to think you're 'watching' it but so much slips by unnoticed), and making your runs harder, eg either faster or hillier courses. See full thread

Don't worry about a short-term weight gain
Colly M - One effect to watch out for is that when you start exercising initially you replace muscle for fat as you get fitter. As muscle weighs more than fat you can even put on weight. If you stick with the training, and eat the right quantity of food, the weight will come off. Be patient! See full thread

Reward successes
Deeplydippy - Like everyone else says, take your time and celebrate the little successes, like the first time you run for three minutes. Buy yourself some really nice bubble bath so you can have a lovely luxurious soak after a good training session and enjoy the fact that you are out there taking control and making an effort. See full thread

Drink lots!
Debt Man - Drink and drink lots. The minimum should be two litres a day, including water, no-added-sugar juices, Isostar (mmm..scrummy), and no pop or fizz. See full thread

Slimming world...
Rachel Rogers - 'Slimming world' is a great plan for runners; you need to make sure you restock you muscles after a run, and you can have potatoes, pasta and rice in as large quantities as you like. I've lost nearly four stone with them so far. I don't feel like training if I don't feel like I'm eating enough. See full thread

Cross-train
Lion Around - Don't just rely on the running: I cycle for an hour on the days I don't run and the weight fell off, after sitting there for ages with just running. See full thread


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beginner racing, injury general, beginner misc, beginner hills, kit general, beginner marathon, forum, shoe use, beginner speedwork, shoe choice, beginner schedule, beginner wisdom, beginner goals
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Discuss this article

But where have half these excellent posters gone?





I do hope they are still running
Posted: 26/07/2004 at 20:48

I Dunno!

(mind you, there were an awful lot of names I didn't recognise on beginners)

Notice they didn't replicate any of my words of 'wisdom' ;)
Posted: 26/07/2004 at 21:01

Didnt recognise many at all......


and I am not very wise!!!
Posted: 26/07/2004 at 21:02

Plodders / Trin - can't believe neither of you were on there. You've always given out good advice to me!
Posted: 26/07/2004 at 21:06

yeah, but I say an awful lot of silly stuff too!

Did you decide what to do in the end about your training, vs?
Posted: 26/07/2004 at 21:09

nah, i talk crap


or about runners trots
:))))))
Posted: 26/07/2004 at 21:11

wonder if runners trots are the most popular/regular topic of conversation on the site?

(any how, I've always wondered if that can be any good for you? - what do you think, PH - can you cause yourself any long term damage?)
Posted: 26/07/2004 at 21:14

Not really done much more about training plan although I've been out tonight and ran with a one of the other people that agreed to do GNR with me when I foolishly suggested it back in October last year.

It was quite good because I set the pace and found that I could converse whilst jogging so wasn't pushing hard. I even included the Scunny Killer Hill in the route - thought my running partner was gonna pass out at the top LOL.

I don't think runners trots is the top topic. On General and Beginners, it seems mostly to be food topics that promote the most discussion. On URWFRC, well, anything goes really - even rehydrating food with pee :o)
Posted: 26/07/2004 at 21:45

trin, if i die of the trots, then you will know its bad for you
Posted: 29/07/2004 at 03:43

There were very few of the people I look to for advice re. training / nutrition / use of antibiotics:) etc. on there.
Posted: 29/07/2004 at 05:49

youre not a beginner BR, thats why
Posted: 29/07/2004 at 06:48

But i do think they might have included my how to run slowly quote
"like the bionic man"
Posted: 29/07/2004 at 06:48

Yup!

Just as I thought.

I've never said owt useful or interesting

:-(
Posted: 29/07/2004 at 07:48

Never keep anything that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.

ergo Chimp is beautifl
Posted: 29/07/2004 at 07:59

OOO! - I made it on there a couple of times :o)
Posted: 29/07/2004 at 08:41

I was mentioned, as expected.
Posted: 29/07/2004 at 08:42

I made it once - ages ago when I was posting under my real name!
Posted: 29/07/2004 at 09:37

"Marathong - The night before a long run, I put petroleum jelly all over my feet, put socks on and go to bed."

I wonder if Marathong was single...
Posted: 13/09/2004 at 22:22

Gosh I am mentioned :))

I know this thread is from last year but just found it.

Posted: 25/03/2005 at 08:58

eh?


whats going on
Posted: 25/03/2005 at 09:00

Just what you need at the moment eh, Hipps?. Old threads coming back.

((((Hips))))
Posted: 25/03/2005 at 10:09

Sorry :((((
Posted: 25/03/2005 at 11:48

Only kidding, Jane :)
Posted: 25/03/2005 at 11:49

I found it from the homepage so not too hard to find really, must admit never heard of some of the forumites quoted.
Posted: 25/03/2005 at 11:52

sobs loudly



Ill never be top poster again!
Posted: 25/03/2005 at 12:37

Pssst, Hips. A little tip.

When you have this conversation with your bosses, try not to put too much emphasis on the top poster bit.

You knows I'm right :)
Posted: 25/03/2005 at 12:55

But I thought we had to celebrate our achievements-------
Posted: 25/03/2005 at 13:01

Yes but dont forget that old saying

"One hippo's achievement is another bosses stick with which to hit"
Posted: 25/03/2005 at 13:04

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