A Beginner's Guide to Running
Running has more to it than simply putting one foot in front of the other. adidas running coaches share their best tips for beginner runners to help get you going.
BENEFITS OF RUNNING
Everyone has a reason for running—maybe it’s rising to a new challenge or sticking to an early morning routine. In addition to achieving your goals, there are countless physical and mental health benefits of running. From clearing the mind of anxiety to invigorating the body with rushing endorphins, you’ll feel both renewed and refreshed once you’ve reached your destination.
As a beginner, it can be intimidating to lace up and venture out on your first run, and that’s why we turned to Jessie Zapo, performance coach for adidas Runners NYC, and Mark Hunter, captain of adidas Runners LA, to help welcome you to the club. We’re giving you the complete introduction to running, breaking it down into simple tips to get started, along with a few beginner-friendly running plans and goals.
HOW TO START RUNNING
If you’re waiting for the perfect day to start running, the secret is… there isn’t one. “Start small and start today,” says Zapo. She also encourages beginners to not be intimidated by the pace or distance you think a runner should run and remember that everyone was a beginner at one point.
For new runners, it’s important to follow these steps to prep yourself for a good run and avoid burn out and injury.
Although you don’t need to purchase a whole new running wardrobe, it is important to consider your footwear. When it comes to all-around running shoe, both Hunter and Zapo turn to the Ultraboost 21. With its responsive Boost midsole and stability, the Ultraboost 21 is a versatile option any day, any distance. For more comfort and support you can reach for the Supernova. Both of these are great high-performance shoes for beginner runners and are trusted by the pros.
You’ve heard it before folks—don’t skip the warmup. “Doing a dynamic warmup is important no matter how far you’re going to run,” Zapo advises. She describes a dynamic stretch as a moving stretch that activates the muscles you’re about to use, warming your body up and prepping it to perform.
Some favorite dynamic moves are: knee hugs (lifting your knee to your chest and hugging it with your arms for two seconds), high knees (running in place, lifting your knees to a 90 degree angle), and the standing figure four (lifting your right leg and resting right ankle on your left quad to create a “4” shape, and bending your left leg to feel the stretch in your right glute).
-> Read our article on essential stretches for runners to check out more positions.
Showing up is the most important step. Hunter and Zapo agree that making progress in running relies on consistent effort. One of their best tips for beginner runners is that going out for short runs every week adds up more than one heroic effort per month. If inclement weather is keeping you off your game, running on a treadmill is a great option to stay on track.
-> Read our Blog article on Treadmill basics.
“Conversational pace is a great way to gauge if you’re running the appropriate pace for your fitness level,” coaches Zapo. Conversational pace is just what it sounds like: being able to talk while running. As tempting as it can be to race down the block, it’s important to build up your base, creating a foundation for your body to build endurance.
COOL DOWN AND RECOVER
Although the run might be finished, you aren’t. Stretching while your body is warm from running is key to alleviating soreness and is where the recovery process begins. After walking for a bit to slow your heart rate, find a nice spot to stretch. This round of stretching is different from your warmup because you’ll hold static poses for 30 to 60 seconds.
-> Check out our guide to post-run stretches for more help cooling down.
Hydration and nutrition are also crucial for your body’s recovery after running. A general tip is to refuel with a snack combining protein and carbohydrates within 30 minutes of exercising. As for hydration, it’s not something to do just while running. No matter if it’s hot or cold out, running causes your body to lose water, so the coaches encourage everyone to take in enough fluids and electrolytes well before and after the workout.
BEGINNER RUNNING PLANS
When Hunter has new runners in his group, he often coaches them on a beginner running plan that divides their first run into manageable intervals. “Run for two blocks, walk for the next block, run for two more, walk for the next block,” Hunter said. “You’ll start noticing you can run three blocks straight. Then you’ll go a whole mile without stopping.” Hunter describes this inspiring progress as “the real secret sauce” of running, and that challenging your body in this way will improve your life in other aspects as well.
Another approach to your first few runs is to designate a specific amount of time for your run. Zapo suggests setting 15 to 20 minutes on your watch and embarking on a one-mile route around your neighborhood. Remember your conversational pace!
RUNNING SCHEDULE FOR BEGINNERS
If you are not only new to running but also to exercising, start by running twice a week. If you have some amount of base fitness, build up to three times a week. This cadence allows your body time to recover between runs, which is beneficial for your overall health. As a general rule of thumb, Zapo says that runners of any level shouldn’t be increasing time, distance or intensity by more than 10 to 15% per week
Download the adidas Running app to track your progress and access specific running plans.
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