BIG Beginner Index

Our one-stop shop for new and novice runners, packed with links to all the information and advice you need to get started

Posted: 16 February 2009

Whether you’ve decided to make a change to your lifestyle, or you’ve just been roped in for a charity race, this index of our best beginner articles is for everyone taking those first running steps.

From can't-fail motivation, to a first 5K or 10K, to choosing the ideal shoe, it's all here to tell you one thing: you can do it!


Getting Started

You'll learn masses in your first weeks of running, but these introductory articles will help you avoid doing it the hard way...

Start Running Now: Our Get-Going Guide
Anyone can become a runner - never mind the excuses, the weather or the bag of crisps calling your name. Here, a team of experts shows you how.

In The Beginning
Newcomers' tips and lifelong principles - training, nutrition, shoes and injury-beating - in words normal people can understand.

10 Dos and Don'ts
Want a short and sweet guide you can remember? Here are 10 beginner commandments - in a nutshell.

60-Second Guide Index Ten bite-sized articles packed with years of running know-how.

It's Good To Walk
It might sound too good to be true, but this simple training technique can increase your endurance and calorie-burning, decrease injuries and help you to run faster.

Going For Goals
10 first-time running goals - and how to achieve them.

The Total Beginner's Quick Guide To Running
Short answers to eight of the most common beginner questions: How do I get started? Is pain normal? And more...

Easy Does It
Running isn't meant to be completely effortless, but sometimes you do get the feeling that it could be a bit less like hard work. Here are 35 tried and tested ways to make things a little easier.

Simple Schedules

Following a schedule is a great way to know you're on a tried-and-tested route to becoming a runner. Everyone progresses at different speeds, but trust us: you will get there.

Get-Started Schedules
From nought to 30 minutes in eight weeks.

Get-Started Schedules - Midrange
From nought to one hour in eight weeks (best if you have some existing fitness).

5K: Beginner's six-week schedule
This assumes you don't run at all yet. It's designed to get you round comfortably, probably with a few short walk breaks.

5K: Intermediate six-week schedule
For runners who comfortably run 30 minutes four times a week.

Your First 5K (non-subscriber preview)
Get ready to toe the line for a 5K in just five weeks.

10K schedules
Some of our best-ever 10K schedules, tailored to how often you run.

Racing Basics

Once you’ve started running regularly, why not set yourself the challenge of a race? You can browse details of hundreds of races taking place across the UK in our Events section, and enter many of them via our completely secure credit-card system.

Your First Race
How to make your first race a day to remember.

Racing Basics
From finding a race to planning your strategy – told by the people who learnt the hard way.

The Eight Keys To A Great Race
How to make race day go your way – guaranteed.

Moving On Up

If you've been running for a while, these articles will help you focus on specific areas of your running:

Simplify Your Training With These Three Key Sessions
The only three quality sessions you'll ever need, whether you're training for 5K, 10 miles or a marathon.

Pace Key
Learn how to decode your training schedule.

Complete Guide to Heart Rate Training
Learn to train with your heart rate, and it won't just be your pulse that races faster.

Speedwork Rules
10 tips for when you start adding the fast stuff to your training.

Long May You Run
Which single session can set you on the path to greater endurance, muscle strength and cardiovascular fitness – and faster times? The long run.

Everything you need to know about hill training
Hill running is a tough but fantastically effective fitness booster. And you know, it can even be fun...

How To Run At Your Ideal Paces
It’s easy for runners to misjudge their training pace. But with the right guidance, everyone can train more effectively.


Healthy Balance

Taking up running is a great first step, but make sure you stay healthy and active with these top reads from our nutrition and injury archive.


Nutrition Basics
Is nutrition too complicated? These 10 simple commandments are guaranteed to make you healthier, fitter and faster

Nutrition FAQs
Frequently asked questions about the cocktail of spaghetti and sports drinks that puts the tiger in your tank.

RW's BIG Weight-Loss Index
Your guide to everything on this site for losing a little weight - from our best articles to our finest forum threads.


Escape from Injury
The basic principles: how to avoid injuries on the run

The Top 10 Routes To Injury
Of course you wouldn't make these classic injury-causing mistakes... but just in case, here they are.

Kit Check

Don't forget to make sure you’ve got the right kit to keep you comfortable while you’re pounding the pavements too.

Top 10 Running Essentials
Make sure you’re properly kitted out with our essential running kit list.

How To Choose The Right Shoe
A beginner's guide to choosing a shoe, with links to stacks of reviews.

Interactive Shoe Finder
Match up your needs and preferences to help find the perfect running shoe for you.

How To Look After Your Kit
Get more mileage from your money with these simple gear dos and don'ts.


Staying Motivated

The key to a long running career is to make running a regular fixture in your life - here’s our advice on how to make time for your newfound favourite sport.

10 Guaranteed Ways To Burst With Motivation
Ever wondered how some people have a perpetually bright and enthusiastic running career? Here are their secrets...

Running You Ragged
Running is the best stress-reliever around - but it's sometimes easy to forget that. Here's how to stop your favourite sport becoming a stress in itself.

Time And Motion
In the real world, running often has to be slotted in among all your other responsibilities. Here's how to manage your life, so that "No time" is no excuse.

Balancing Acts
Is running overwhelming your life? Is life overwhelming your running? Here's how to bring balance into your routine to stay healthy and happy.

How To Make The Most Of 45 Minutes
Think you can't pack an effective training session into 45 minutes? Think again: these routines are guaranteed to produce results for every type of runner.

Real Runners, Real Conversations

Enjoy the expertise and enthusiasm of more than 450,000 runners of all shapes, sizes and speeds! Our busy, friendly forum welcomes any questions or comments, and there's even a dedicated beginner section.

Plus don't forget to check our BIG Reader to Reader Index too - it's packed with top reader answers to your most common running-related questions.

Previous article
Your First Marathon: Words From The Wise
Next article
Top tips for cold weather running

beginner misc, walk-run, wisdom, beginner speedwork, beginner schedule, beginner hills, beginner marathon, beginner racing

Discuss this article

I am relatively new to running but feel that I am now ready to start participating in some 10km+ races. However, I am slightly put off by the seemingly fast fields and competive edges to many of the events I have seen. Can anyone advise me of any ideal 'beginner friendly' races to start off with? Thanks!
Posted: 12/12/2006 at 14:28

HI there beginner!

In my opinion, most races are competitive, but that still doesnt detract from the fact that they are generally welcoming to all abilities.

Some of the Cancer charity races I seem to think are particulalry welcoming - MAcmillan I think do a number of 10k races around the country (you dont say where you are based).

You could also try joining a local club as these also normally welcome all club has a real range of people from returning mums, more mature runners, pretty fast folk and everything in between. They will have details of races and by making friends it will make entering races seem less daunting with other people around!

What sort of time are you expecting for 10k?? The first one I did had a winning time of 33min, and the last place person came in around 90 minutes i think, but everyone was cheered as they crossed the line!
Posted: 12/12/2006 at 14:41

Hiya Beginner!
As a "bit of a plodder" I've always been scared of smaller events especially when you tunr up and see al of the "racing whippets" lining up in shorts and vests in all weathers.

Bit none of the races I've been in so far have ever been as scary as I first thought and I've not regretted any.

My first race was the Dewsbury 10k which has a nice mixed field and a great out and back course with lovely marshalls and spectators.

Try something local and if possible run the route beforehand to take away any fears?

Posted: 12/12/2006 at 15:03

Hello beginner - how long will you be keeping your name :D
Have a look at the anticipated numbers in each race - the more, the better as there is less chance of coming last when you're in a crowd!
Posted: 12/12/2006 at 15:14

Have a look on the events page at the 'beginner' friendliness of each race. However I would try and choose something local. If worrying about being last have a look at the results of the previous years race. Mind you haveing come last a number of times there's nothing wrong with it..somebody has to make sure everybody else has finished!

(hi Min!)
Posted: 12/12/2006 at 15:26

I chose a local 10K for my first event and was very nervous when I turned up for all the same reasons as you (the event incorporated the county championships!).

But the thing to realise is that it doesn't matter - you are doing the event for you, not for them, and not to get a podium place!

I finished about 5th from last - but who cares. The point is that I finished (wasn't sure that I would even when I was 100m from the end) and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. So what that I got lapped - the stewards were wonderful and full of encouragement and they kept me going when I felt like packing in.

So give it a go. I promise that it won't be as bad as you fear.
Posted: 14/12/2006 at 08:24

hi beginner. i ran my first 10k and thought what am i doing here? with all these wippets , at the start i went near the back so as not to get trampled when the gun went off. i stuck to my training pace and after 8k i was passing some of the wippets ,as my fellow club members said i would and thought i,m not as bad as i thought i was going to be.and then i started to relax and enjoy do what feels good for you and enjoy the the end of the day how many in your area in your age group can do a 10k like you are doing, good running.
Posted: 17/03/2007 at 15:53

Hi Beginner :) I entered my first kinda 'official' run in Jan which was a 5k, all the competitive runners who had entered were naturally all encouraged to start near the beginning in groups relating to their projected finish times.

Those running either for charity or just for the fun of taking part congregated behind....I personally found that absolutely fine and enjoyed every minute of it with a good time that I didn't expect. This has encouraged me to enter a 10k in May and another 5k in June.

Start small and work your way up if you that's what you want. I envisage hopefully entering a half-marathon next year, but again, I am doing this for charity and for the fun I get from running :)

Enjoy it :)
Posted: 17/03/2007 at 17:04

If you are worried about being last, then like people say the big cancer races it's unlikely to happen. On the other hand my experience of one of these type (hydroactive 5k, which isn't actually a cancer race... or 10k+, but...) was that even as one of the slowest folks on this forum it was annoying as hell having to weave past massive crowds going slower than me. In a way being one of the slowest in a smaller field has advantages *g*. Plenty of space to go your own pace...

2 I'd recomend are London Pride 10K (you don't have to be gay to run, just willing to wear a bright pink number... very friendly and relaxed and cream cheese bagels after) and Swindon Half (they have a local walking group takes part, so no worries about being too slow, takes you out onto the downs so some lovely scenery, few spectators but those there are are really enthusiastic)

Both of those are a good few months off.
Posted: 18/03/2007 at 18:07

Join a club - helps a lot. I waited about 22 years to join my club, should have joined much sooner.

All good clubs will welcome anyone who wants to run (at any speed). We have a Olympic silver medalist and 12 minute a mile plodders, it doesn't matter unless it matters to you.

  I have done the "big" race GNR and FLM but much prefer the smaller club runs that aren't well advertised.I recently  did a 10 around Kielder Forest in a field of 73 - I don't know where I came in the field (who cares)

Best bit of advice always start at the back and stay there until you feel confident to start overtaking people - sod everyone else just enjoy yourself.

PS A club vest is a great motivator, great friendly rivalry and support among  clubs and members especially towards newer people

Posted: 31/12/2007 at 14:30

I agree about joining a club.  When you wear a club vest you will have supporters from the club cheering you on.  I recently came last in a race (I'm usually towards the back anyway) and as I turned towards the finish line, wondering whether I had the energy to make it across the last 200 metres,  I heard my name being shouted out by what seemed like a thousand people.  Actually it was only about 15 other members of my club but I think I got a bigger round of applause when I crossed the finsih line than the guy who came in first.  And the club appreciated it as I made up the last member of the ladies team and scored points for the club.
Posted: 02/01/2008 at 08:16

i am 21 years of age, i just started running after a 4 year recovery from a car crash (did not break anything). I love running and i started with the 5K begginers schedule found on this website,i can run for up to 3 mintues now without getting tired. However i tend to get ill every time i run, mainly flue and general fatigue. I dont know why this might be and i am not sure how to go about stopping it. I will be thankful for any help.

Posted: 08/07/2009 at 20:23

We'd love you to add a comment! Please login or take half a minute to register as a free member

Smart Coach
Free, fully-personalized training plans, designed to suit your racing goals and your lifestyle.