100 Beginner Running Tips

running tipsWelcome to the Complete Running Network 100 Beginner Running Tips. This first top 100 post is the CRN teams first group writing project — everyone chipped in to come up with the list. We hope you like it and that it becomes a place you refer to often. Do you have tips that should be on this list? Feel free to comment below!

    Apparel Tips

  1. Wear spandex shorts under your regular running shorts so you don’t chafe “down there.”
  2. Cotton socks will only lead to blisters; invest in socks designed for running.
  3. Ladies, do not skimp on a bra. Even if it costs more than your shoes it’s still a bargain.
  4. Buy running clothes you look good in and that will motivate you to run.
  5. Buy new running clothes at the end of the season when stores dump the old season’s line. Think clearance!
  6. Community

  7. Join your local running club—check with your local running store fitness center and/or recreation department to find one.
  8. Volunteer at a local race—meet runners support runners and connect with your Community.
  9. Manners

  10. Remember to say “Thank You!” to race volunteers (e.g. when you get that cup of water at the aid station) and family and friends who support you.
  11. Conscientiously share the trail with walkers, bikers and other runners.
  12. Always try to balance running with the people you love by making a schedule that involves and is considerate of everyone.
  13. Don’t carry loose change. It will annoy those who are running with you.
  14. Don’t neglect and irritate your family and friends by spending all your time running and talking about running.
  15. Motivation Tips

  16. Sign up for a race as soon as you feel up to it.
  17. Find a committed running partner. It is much harder to skip a run when you have someone else depending on you.
  18. Remember that you will have plateaus in your progress and tough days along the way.
  19. It gets easier.
  20. Accept and appreciate the fact that not every single run can be a good one.
  21. Be prepared to remove the words “can’t” and “never” from your vocabulary.
  22. “Do not compare yourself to others. Run within yourself and for yourself first.
  23. Don’t expect every run to be better than the last one; some of them will hurt.
  24. Don’t think too much about it or you won’t do it.
  25. Even a bad run is better then no run at all.
  26. If you normally run with music try skipping it and listening to your feet to hear your pace and your gait.
  27. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t experience weight loss immediately.
  28. Start a running blog and read other running blogs regularly.
  29. Running is not an excuse to triple your intake of doughnuts because runners gain weight too.
  30. Nutrition Tips

  31. Buy the powdered sports drink mix instead of premixed. It’s cheaper and more similar to race drink mixes.
  32. Each pound you lose makes running a little easier.
  33. Hydrate. Make it a habit to drink water throughout the day.
  34. If you are running very long distance drink enough electrolytes (e.g. Gatorade).
  35. On long runs eat something every hour—whether you feel like it or not.
  36. During longer runs if you don’t like to carry water take some cash in your pocket pouch or a shoe wallet. Run a route where there’s a corner store that you can use as a pit stop to pick up your water and maybe use the bathroom.
  37. Avoid eating spicy foods before running and the night before your long runs.
  38. To aid recovery the most crucial time to eat and drink is in the hour immediately after you run.
  39. Prevention Tips

  40. Use Vaseline or BodyGlide wherever things rub. They will help prevent blisters and chafing (guys don’t forget the nipples).
  41. Do not increase your mileage more than 10 percent per week.
  42. Guys: Band-Aids before the long runs. Your nipples will thank you in the shower afterwards.
  43. Log your mileage for your legs and your Shoes. Too much on either will cause you injury.
  44. If you are prone to shin splints and lower leg pain try running soft trails for your Training runs and save the asphalt for race day.
  45. Do not run two hard days back-to-back.
  46. Ice aches and pains immediately.
  47. Pay attention to your form. Try to run lightly to minimize impact that could lead to injury.
  48. Cut your Training by at least 30 percent to 50 percent every 4th or 5th week for recovery.
  49. When trail running don’t forget the bug spray.
  50. Neosporin (or another antibiotic cream) is good for chafed areas (if you didn’t use your BodyGlide!).
  51. Make sure you cut your toenails short enough so they don’t jam into your Shoes!
  52. Put some BodyGlide between your toes on long runs.
  53. Be careful about running on paths that force you to run consistently on a slant. It’s hard on the hips knees and IT bands.
  54. Don’t stretch before a run. Warm up by walking briskly or jogging slowly for several minutes.
  55. Do not ice for more than 20 minutes at a time.
  56. Do not use the hot tub after a race. It will increase inflammation and hinder healing.
  57. Frozen peas make a great ice pack for aches and pains. A thin t-towel wrapped around them makes the cold more comfortable.
  58. Racing Tips

  59. Race day is not the day to try new shoes, eat new foods, or wear brand new clothing.
  60. Do not try a marathon as your first race.
  61. For races longer than 5k start out slower than you think you should.
  62. If you conserve your energy during the first half of a race, you can finish strong.
  63. When you pick up drinking cups at aid stations, squeeze gently so it folds slightly and is easier to drink from it while you are moving.
  64. A plastic garbage on race day is a very fashionable cheap disposable raincoat.
  65. Safety Tips

  66. Be aware of cyclists approaching you from behind and try to keep to the right. Try to pay special attention when running with music.
  67. Run facing traffic.
  68. Never assume a car sees you.
  69. Give horses wide berths on trails and walk as you pass them unless you enjoy a hoof to the melon.
  70. Always carry I.D. because you just never know.
  71. Shoe Tips

  72. Try shoes on in the afternoon when your feet are bigger.
  73. Doubleknot your shoe laces so they will not come undone when you run.
  74. Buy yourself some actual running shoes from an actual running store because running in junk “sneakers” will destroy your feet and your legs.
  75. Get assessed for the right kind of running shoes.
  76. Training Tips

  77. In the immortal words of Walt Stack famed senior-citizen distance runner “Start slow … and taper.”
  78. At first keep your runs short and slow to avoid injury and soreness so you do not quit.
  79. If you are breathing too hard slow down or walk a bit until you feel comfortable again.
  80. Pick your route close to home (out your front door)—the more convenient it is the better chance you will have sticking with it.
  81. Find a beginner training plan for your first race.
  82. Set realistic short term and long term goals.
  83. Keep a training diary.
  84. Soreness one to two days after a run is normal (delayed onset muscle soreness).
  85. No amount of money spent on gadget training programs or funny food can substitute for minutes, hours, days and weeks on the road.
  86. There’s no shame in walking.
  87. Subscribe to a running magazine or pick up a book or two on running.
  88. Four laps around the local the high school track equals one mile.
  89. Lift weights.
  90. It’s okay to take walk breaks (run 1 minute walk 1 minute then progress to run 10 minutes walk 1 minute etc.).
  91. Vary your training routes. This will prevent boredom and prevent your body from getting acclimated.
  92. Speed work doesn’t have to be scientific. Try racing to one light post and then jogging to the next.
  93. Push through rough spots by focusing on the sounds of your breath and feet touching the ground.
  94. Do speedwork after you develop an endurance base.
  95. Practice running harder in the last half of your runs.
  96. Do abdominal breathing to get rid of side cramps or “stitches.”
  97. If you can’t find the time to run, take your running gear to work.
  98. Run on trails if at all possible. It will be easier on your body and you’ll love it.
  99. Build rest into your schedule. Rest is just as important of an element as exercise in your fitness plan.
  100. Forgive yourself. Over-ambitious goals usually lead to frustration and giving up on your fitness plan. If you miss a goal or milestone let it go and focus on the next opportunity to get it.
  101. Mix-up your training plan. Make sure your training plan is not too heavily focused on one thing. No matter what level of runner you are your training plan should include four essential elements: endurance speed rest cross-training.
  102. [ad#inPost-Big]

    Weather Tips

  103. Dress as if it is 10 degrees warmer than the temperature on the thermometer.
  104. Wear sunscreen and a hat when the sun is beating down—even in winter.
  105. Run early in the morning or later in evening to avoid mid-day heat.
  106. Pick up a pair of Yaktrax when running in icey conditions.
  107. In the winter dress in layers (coolmax or other technical clothing) and wear a headband over your running hat to cover your ears.
  108. For colder climates invest in socks rated to 40 below (usually found in sport/ski shops).
  109. To keep cool in hot weather soak a bandana in cold water wring it out a bit and tie it loosely around your neck.
  110. For hot weather fill your water bottle about half way lay it at an angle in the freezer and just before you head out for your run top it off with more water.

186 thoughts on “100 Beginner Running Tips”

  1. Thank you very much for the dieting tips, David! I will try to follow your advice as strictly as I can. Luckily I have strong will power, so I should be able to stick with it. =)

    Jon, I am 5’4″. I know how dangerous being underweight can be, so I will definitely take your advice and talk to my doctor. Thank you for your response!


  2. UPDATE: As a continuation of a couple of previous posts….

    In the last two days I ran two 5k training runs in under 28:30. Todays run was 28:13. So for anyone interested it has taken me roughly three weeks to get my basic conditioning back. I anticipate it taking another three weeks to get my time back to the low 26’s. All told, that would make 6-7 weeks to make up for a three week layoff. That seems really long to me, but a friend reminded me that I turn 39 next week. I guess this does get a little more difficult with age.

  3. occationally walk the trail you run it will help you appreciate how fast you are. i often train with a weighted vest, and or on a hill. the hill trains your hips to tuck to a prime posture roughly 60deg. im tall so i also concentrate on keeping my center low using momentun and saving energy. yoga is great for runners!

  4. I started running a year ago but during the winter I didn’t run because it would be so cold that I couldn’t breathe and when I put a scarf over my mouth it would be too hot. Do you guys have any ideas on how I can run during the winter Thanks

  5. Great article! I hate running though. I find it boring. While I understand that it’s great exercise, I find that beginner runner may have a huge obstacle mentally. My page has some motivational tips that may help get the toughest couch potatoes off their butts!
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  6. I learned this from a running clinic for cold weather…if you don’t want to spend the money on yaktraks, then you can screw in 3/8 inch screws into the perimeters of your shoes (so as not to puncture any air or gel pockets in your shoes) for running on ice in the winter.

  7. Hey guys, just found out that i need to do a fitness test in order to validate my enlistment in the Naval Reserve. I’ve pretty much all the bases covered but I’m slightly concerned about the running side of things. It’s a 1.5 mile run to be done in under 12:00. I’m quite fit – 17 years old, 6′, 62kg (136.4 pounds)- I do regular exercise and all that, but not a lot of it would be running.

    I ran the road outside my house (which is around 2 miles long and substantially hilly) in 17:48 and only around 30 minutes after a loaf of bread and a big cup of tea (which was pretty damn stupid><). Just wondering if there are any handy tips around for a run of this calibre (what to eat that morning, the proper way to warm up etc.)? The test is in two days ( sorry about the short notice) but any advice would be greatly appreciated.:)

    I covered the 1.5 miles in roughly 13:50, but it was my first run in a looong time and i was kinda weighed down with all the stuff inside me.

    As regards diet, i eat quite well, avoid all the high fat stuff etc. Any comments would help. Cheers.:)

  8. I am 14, 105lbs, 5’2″ and just started running a couple days ago. I used to run everyday in elementary school (it was required) but once I hit middle school, i basically stopped. My best time was 7:37, but it was usually around 8 min. Unfortunately, 2 days ago, it was around 10 min. I know this is terrible and would really like to build up my endurance and speed for the upcoming tennis season.

    I read this and it had so much information! It is a lot to take in, but eventually I will get it. When I went out yesterday, I got horrible cramps, but I know it is because I ate not to long before i ran…. I am starting a journal, and one of my goals is to get to 2 miles by May, is this a realistic goal?

    I really would like to be a successful runner, and I do know a few people who run, but they are very, very good and I think I would want to get a little better before I go out with them. If you guys had any extra tips for me I would really appreciate it!

    I definitely want to stick with this, there are many things I have tried to do and I just get lazy and don”t feel like doing them, so I don’t want this to be like that.

    I also would like to lose a little bit of weight (I’m slightly above average) So if anyone has any good nutrition tips (although many great ones are listed here) please let me know!

    Thank you guys so so much!! 🙂

  9. Hi

    I’ve recently started running, and I’m loving it! However, around the first 1/2 mile or so I begin to feel a sharp pain in my upper arms/shoulder area. Is that normal? What could he causing that and how could get rid of those pains.


  10. I recently started running, and these tips have helped amazingly! Thank you for having these open for everyone to look at.

  11. I’m a runner but I am only 12 , and I’m about to go out and run 10 miles right now. Sometimes it’s hard for me and I was looking for ways to mabey help the process this really helped me . Thank you!

  12. Great post with lots of tips. Maybe this list should be more than just for beginners. I’ve been running for the past 20 years and still enjoyed reading through and reminding myself of some of these tips!

  13. I started running a bout 15 year ago I was 24 years old and in bad shape and now @44 I feel and look better than when I was younger

  14. I observe a number of people jogging and I shutter at some of the bad form they have. All joggers should have someone observe them and help them to understand any form corrections that they need to make. Bad form and technique will slow you down and could result in injuries over time as you continue to run incorrectly.

    Just because running is a natural function, it doesn’t mean you should not seek guidance to make sure that you are jogging correctly. For example I observe a number of women joggers with the habit of crossing their arms in front of them as they jog. For most of them it results in a twist of the torso as they follow through. The twisting over time causes more fatigue and could possibly cause other problems over time. In addition it slows you down because your momentum is moving in opposing directions.

    Have you ever had the experience of hurting a foot or leg and began to favor one leg when you walked. In a lot of cases you will find that the good leg can become injured. Why, because you are taxing it in a way that is contrary to the correct way of walking. The same is true for bad form.

    Make sure have good form. Starting out with good running habits will pay big dividends in the long run. Have fun and stay healthy.

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  16. I just did my second 5K a few months ago and I consider myself fairly new to running. When I did my first 5K i noticed that about half way through my left foot became numb. I though maybe it was because i wasnt wearing running shoes. So I went out and bought a pair of running shoes. Well when I did my second 5K the same thing happened to me even though I was wearing running shoes. Can anyone tell me what the possible cause is for the numbness and what I can do to prevent it.

  17. I run about 2 -3 miles around 3 – 4 times a week. However, I live in deep South Texas and the temperatures are brutally high. I run either early in the morning or late evening when temperatures are cooler around 90+ degrees. I find that I cannot run more than 1.75 mi without stopping because my feet get very hot. I feel like my feet are on fire and I can’t help but stop and walk. I wear mesh running shoes (Nike Lunarglides) and running socks. I drink water throughout the day. What can I do? I sometimes feel that I cannot reach my full potential because this keeps getting in my way.


  18. First off, great information!! Alot to relate to, and alot of tips which basically hit the nail right on the head. I saw that quite a few people has already asked the questions I had in mind and I am here everyday looking for updated posts to them. However, I still have quite a few questions in my mind. I am trying to join the Navy and running 1.5 miles in 9:45 is a requirement. I feel like I can accomplish it over due time but I am extremely nervous. The thing is I have to lose roughly 60-70 pounds and I am trying to do it by running. I play loads of tennis, but suck at running. I started going back to the gym and trying to gain endurance and confidence on the treadmill. I am gradually getting developing longer running times but at a very slow pace. However, I feel like I should leave the birds nest and transfer to the wide open roads, but its like flying for the first time as a bird. I’m shaken because I lack confidence and am easily distracted. Also, i work 5 days a week and have my son and it’s like my mind uses that as an excuse to stay in bed or to not go at all. But i do make a lot of effort to run the treadmill and try to get accustomed to the fact that running must be a very passionate and vital part of my life before I build up speed and endurance. I think its the mental part that consistently gets in the way of my training. On the account of everything else, I do alot of cardio and crunches to prepare for the military. Its funny because even up to now i’m on my way to the gym and am totally terrified about the running part. Can someone please help me adjust my mind to running because I need and want this so bad. Also, can someone please tell me if sunflower seeds are good as a substitution because I work around a lot of candy and soda, and I have went from eating one of each and every candy and drinking three sodas a day to eating a small breakfast and fruit afterwards throughout the day. The sunflower seeds helps to calm my sugar cravings and have developed an addiction for them.

    P.S.: One more thing I read on one of the posts and have gotten advice that multivitamins are good. Right now I am taking magnesium and fiber. Can someone tell me what to look for in a good multivitamin. I greatly appreciate any advice I can recieve because everything I have read have changed my perception drastically and I somewhat am developing some kind of vision that this is possible for me. i just need a kick in the ass is all. Thanks everybody!! =)

  19. Need HELP!!!!! got a course coming up in 4 weeks and I need to run 3 miles in 27 mins or under … Bearing in mind im doing 2 and a half miles in 26 mins. Has anybody got any reaining tips, would be so grateful for any help?

  20. i love to run and ive started t run alot moe and lately my knee has been given out or i just start walking and feel this sharp pain in my kneee i read above that i should not strech before i run so im probably not going to be doing that anytime soon

  21. I probably missed it but in case I didn’t, I’d like to add to the list…

    #101: Don’t underestimate the power of “hello.” Give it out freely, and cheerfully accept it. Your runs will be a whole lot more fun.

  22. Hey there,
    I would like to address Isatu’s message, I believe anyone can accomplish any running goal with the right mindset, optimism and key ingredients.

    The best way to see the very quickest results in terms of speed, endurance, Vo2 Max (oxygen utilization) and muscle building is “interval training”. Basically pushing and exerting yourself at a hard sprint for about 30 to 45 seconds, than recovering for a couple mins, than doing it again and again. I recommend a couple times a week, Thomas Tadlock (top fitness trainer) recommends daily for a scuplted body in 30 days. It totally works and fast!
    Either way, steady state cardio will be the most tedious way to build up endurance and speed.

    And the sunflower seeds, keep it up! Especially if you plan on increasing your fitness regime and joining the navy! Sunflower seeds are great for vitamin E, actually a quarter cup contains almost your full daily value of vitamin E! Vitamin E is great for reducing inflammation and destroying free radicals which would help your muscle recovery and keep your immune system and red blood cells happy! Also great for avoiding cardiovascular disease, PMS symptoms, lowering cholesterol, and great for skin! Find Vitamin E in most nuts, seeds, and healthy oils. Wheat Germ Oil has 100% DV in one tablespoon! Although wheat is a high allergen and not recommended..

    I love digging up certain running tips in the nutrition aspect!


  23. I feel these tips cover exactly what beginners need. Some of these statements are common sense, but then some are amazing that one as a beginner doesn’t know. I love the way it is structure because it is nicely organized and it not only covers health tips but also prevention and more. I feel that if I would have read this earlier, I would have been in good hands to start running again.

  24. A bit of advice? I’d like to participate in a 5K, and I run 6 miles a day so I have the endurance, but I’m afraid I’d come in last going the speed I’m going. What is the best way to increase my overall speed?

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