1. Health
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Discuss in my forum

7 Key Running Tips for New Runners

Get Started With These Running Tips


Updated May 30, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

If you're new to running, you may be overwhelmed by all the running information that's available. Here are seven basic running tips to get you started:

1. Get the right running shoes.

Legs and feet of joggers
Ghislain & Marie David de Lossy/The Image Bank/Getty Images
Wearing the right running shoes is the key to comfort and injury prevention. Visit a running specialty store to get fitted for the right running shoes for your foot type and running style. Also, make sure you don't run in worn-out running shoes – they should be replaced every 300-400 miles.

2. Make sure you warm up and cool down.

Trail running
A good warm-up signals to your body that it will have to start working soon. By slowly raising your heart rate, the warm-up also helps minimize stress on your heart when you start your run. So you should start your runs with a brisk walk, followed by very easy jogging for a few minutes. The cool down allows your heart rate and blood pressure fall gradually, so it's important that you end your run with a slow 5-minute jog or walk.
More: How to Warm up and Cool Down

3. Learn the proper upper body form.

Runner outside in fall weather
Photo by Chase Jarvis/Getty Images
Improper upper body form can lead to pain in your arms, shoulders, neck, and back. Try to keep your hands at waist level, right about where they might lightly brush your hip. Your arms should be at a 90 degree angle, with your elbows at your sides. Keep your posture straight and erect. Your head should be up, your back straight, and shoulders level.
More: Tips for Proper Running Form
Video - Proper Running Form

4. Don't worry about pace.

Two women running
Photo by Chase Jarvis
As a beginner, most of your runs should be at an easy or "conversational" pace. You should be able to breathe very easily and carry on a conversation. Don't worry about your pace per mile -- if you can pass the "talk test", you're moving at the right speed. Starting out with this type of easy running will help prevent overtraining and overuse injuries.
More: When Does Running Get Easier?

5. Try a run/walk approach.

Man and Woman walking

Most beginner runners start out using a run/walk technique because they don't have the endurance or fitness to run for extended periods of time. The run/walk method involves running for a short segment and then taking a walk break. As you continue with a run/walk program, the goal is to extend the amount of time you're running and reduce your walking time.
More: How to Do the Run/Walk Method
Tips for Your Walk Breaks

6. Don't do too much too soon.

Runner with cyclist
Photo by Silverstock
New runners sometimes get too enthusiastic and anxious to get started and end up increasing their mileage too quickly -- which can lead to injury. Don't increase your weekly mileage by more than 10% each week. By building up slowly, you can save yourself pain and frustration, and still reach your goals. Use common sense and follow a beginner training schedule determine how much you should be running. If you'd like to do more, you could always supplement your running with cross-training exercises such as swimming or biking.

More: How to Prevent Running Injuries

7. Breathe in through your nose and mouth.

Some new runners assume they should breathe in only through their nose. You actually want to breathe in through your nose and mouth to make sure you're getting enough oxygen to your muscles while running. Taking deep belly breaths can help prevent side stiches, which are a common issue for new runners.

More Running Tips for Beginners:

Related Video
5 Stretches for Runners
Proper Running Form-Gait

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.