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Who wants to start running?
This beginners guide to running is the absolute best resource for anyone who wants to start running…period.
By the end of this beginners guide to running you will understand the importance of running, how to get motivated to run, tips on how to run your first 5k or 10k, nutrition for runners, the best running gear, and how to crush your first race!
The guide is divided into chapters, and each chapter contains several links to the best hand-picked blog posts on running.
The Ultimate Beginners Guide to Running
Chapter 1 – The Benefits of Running
New to running? No worries, we all start somewhere and that’s why I created the Ultimate Beginners Guide to Running.
Just be aware that running can be addicting and you may start a habit you won’t be able to stop!
Running is one of the best forms of exercise. I started running about 10 years ago when I decided to run a 5k. By the grace of God, I somehow placed third in my age division! Soon after that, I ran a half-marathon.
Then I abruptly took a few years off while I managed a full-time job and an Amazon business.
It was during that time my health was put on a back burner, and my weight crept up to nearly 200lbs. That’s when I started to take up running again because of all of the benefits.
Personally, I enjoy running because:
- You can do it anywhere
- Nearly everyone knows how to run
- The health benefits of running are excellent
- Signing up for races gives me something to look forward to
- It makes me mentally stronger
Additionally, you create a great memories from running. I have great memories of running in races with my dad, finishing on The Ohio State Football Field, and completing my first half. Below is a picture of me, my mom and dad, and my oldest son after completing a four mile race at Ohio State.
If you are new to running or getting back into running, then below are a few articles that detail the benefits of running:
- 8 Key Ways Running Can Transform Your Body and Brain | Business Insider
- 31 Unbelievable Running Benefits | A Next Level You
- 7 Mental Benefits of Running | Run for Good
- 9 Surprising Benefits of Running According to Science | Beauty Epic
- How Running Greatly Improved My Well-Being | The Running Mate
Chapter 2: How to Get Motivated and Start Running
When you start anything and want to follow through, then you must determine why you want to do something and then set goals.
Once I was nearing 200lbs and working on my third chin, I wanted to get back in shape to increase of being around for my kids for a long time. I also set a goal to complete three races that year.
So the reason I wanted to start running was that I wanted to get in shape (weigh 178lbs, get my BP down to 120/80, and get in great shape by competing in long-distance races). My goal was to complete one obstacle courses, a Sprint Triathlon, and an Olympic Triathlon.
Once I knew what I wanted to accomplish, I signed up for the races. I paid for the races well in advance because I knew I would want to lose the money. I also didn’t want to look like a fool by not finishing. That’s motivation.
Want some more information on how to set running goals for beginners? Then check out some of these great articles:
- How to Start Running | A Next Level
- How to Achieve Any Running Goal | The Running Mate
- Setting Running Goals for 2017 | Laura Peill
- 12 Essential Life Lessons Learned from Running | Coach Debbie Runs
- How to Set the Right Running Goals | Runners Blueprint
Chapter 3 – The Best 5k and 10K Training Plans
Since this is a beginners guide to running, then you should have your sights set on training for a 5k or 10k race. A 5k race is 3.1 miles, and a 10k race is 6.2 miles.
My first race was a 5k, and somehow I finished the race in third place in my age division, but it was HARD! I really had no training plan, and my goal was to finish!
After the first half mile, I realized I started off way too fast and wanted to quit by the time I saw the first-mile marker. By the time I hit the second mile, my heart was racing, my legs hurt, and I couldn’t believe I still had another mile to go.
Needless to say, I finished, but I could have a better training plan in place. I learned a lot from that race, and it helped me complete a ½ marathon and several triathlons.
Finding the right training plan for you can be difficult, but below are the best 5k and 10k Training Plans available on the internet:
5k Training Plans
- Couch to 5k IOS App
- C25K IOS App
- 8 Things to Know before Running Your First 5k | Bustle
- First 5k Training Tips | Sarah Halstead
- 5k Training Plan for Beginners | How to Run Guide
10k Training Plans
- Tips for Running Your First 10k | Loop Social Sport
- 10k Training Plan for Beginners | SkinnyMs
- The Training Plan That’ll Help You Run Your First – or Fastest! – 10k | Women’s Health
- 10k Beginner Training Schedule | Run for Good
Chapter 4- Essential Gear for Every Beginner
When I started running, I made my life very difficult because I had no idea what I needed. I wish I had a beginners guide to running back then.
I ran in old basketball shorts that chaffed my thighs to the point I had to take a week off of running. My shoes were the cheapest things I could find at Kohl’s which cause a world of problems. The only way I knew how far I ran was by driving the distance before I ran.
Do yourself a favor and consider some of the following items:
Garmin Watch – I’ve had both a Garmin and Apple Watch; and I prefer the Garmin because it was made for running. You need a watch to help you understand your pace, distance, and heart rate. It is a necessity.
Brooks Ghost Running Shoes – These are the easiest the most comfortable, durable shoes I have ever owned. Once I purchased these shoes, any pain I had in my knees, feet, or back went away.
Running Hat – If you are going to be outside, then a running hat is essential. You want to keep the sun off of your head.
Sunglasses – Honestly, you can probably go to Target and pick up a decent pair. However, my personal favorite running sunglasses are the Nike glasses below:
Running Shorts – OMG…if you only buy one thing on this list, then buy a decent pair of running shorts. Running in regular shorts with underwear (or boxers) is probably the worst idea in the world. Running shorts have underwear built in and are made of a magical material made for runners.
Shirts – Personally, I typically run in long-sleeve shirts made of some type of Under Armour like material. However, when it gets hot outside, I switch to a tank top made of the same material. Below are a few choices:
Sunscreen – Ugh, if you are running outside then sunscreen is a necessity! Especially if you have skin as fair as mine. Since you’ll be sweating, then chose a sport sunscreen. My favorite is Coppertone Sport.
Chapter 5 – Nutrition Tips for Beginner Runners
By no means am I an expert when it comes to nutrition. My personal diet consists of lots of fruits in the morning, a salad or peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch, and some type of meat and veggies for dinner.
Don’t let me fool you, I also enjoy my share of pizza, burgers, fries, and wine.
However, this would not be a proper beginners guide to running without a section on nutrition.
If you are looking to understand more about nutrition and running, then I highly suggest you take a look at some of these articles:
- Nutrition Tips for Runners | Jenna Braddock
- How Much Water Should a Runner Drink? | The Wired Runner
- 17 Pantry Staples Every Runner Needs | Runner Wiki
- Smoothies for Runners | Gone for a Run
- The Best Carbs for Runners | Fuel Running
Chapter 6 – Race Day Tips for Beginner Runners
Competing in your first running race can be terrifying. The night before my first race, I couldn’t sleep, and when I lined up, I was filled with nerves.
I had so many questions and really had no idea what I was doing. Before you run your first race, I suggest you take a look at some of these race day posts:
- Race Day Etiquette | Run to Finish
- Creating Your Race Plan | Sara Kurt
- 5 Effective Ways to Calm Race Day Nerves | MBIO Apparel
- Pre-Race Countdown: What to do the Week Before a Race | Running for Sweets
- My Race Day Essentials | Belle’s Running Blog
- Running Quotes for Race Day | Run for Good
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