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5 Things Every New Runner Should Know

Posted on October 07 2019

5 Things Every New Runner Should Know

I started my running journey five years ago and on most days I still consider myself a novice to the sport.  There are some runs where I feel like I totally know what I’m doing and other runs when I feel like it’s the first time I’ve laced up my shoes.  If I could go back and give myself some advice on the day of my first run, here are five things I wish I knew.

Shoes Matter

Not all running shoes are created equal and not every running shoe works for every runner.  Running shoes are definitely an investment, but they will become one of the most important pieces of running gear you own.  Find a local running store and get fitted for the shoes that are right to you. 

Run the Mile You’re In

The first mile can be a liar.  And sometimes it can be difficult to not let that mile get in your head. For me, running is as much a mental sport as it is a physical sport so I often remind myself during my runs to “run the mile you’re in.”  When I’m doing my long runs or races, I try to focus on where I’m at and not how much further I have to go.  If I’m really struggling during a run, I’ll give myself landmarks to reach before deciding the fate of the run—“run to that tree and see how you feel.”  I can usually shake off those negative thoughts and keep pushing through the struggle.

Your Race, Your Pace

It is sometimes said that “comparison is the thief of joy” and that can be true in running.  You might be out on a run and see someone going faster than you or see a post on social media that makes you wonder why you haven’t reached that distance yet—I’ve been there.  But what you don’t know when you see those things is where that person is in their running journey.  Enjoy your journey and focus on where you are, not where others are.  It’s your race—run it at your pace.

Set Goals

My first run was frustrating—I couldn’t even run for the entire length of one song and if I’m being honest, I hated it.  But that motivated me to try again and I set the goal to run one song—that one song becomes two and eventually, those songs turned into miles.  Progress will come and it can be even more fun when you get to celebrate reaching goals.  Maybe you want to qualify for the Boston Marathon or run your first 5K—whatever your goal is, having something to work towards can give meaning to your runs. 

Listen to Your Body

In time, you will begin to know what feels right when you’re running and what doesn’t.  You’ll be able to tell the difference between tired sore and injured sore.  With that, it’s always important to listen to your body.  Give yourself the rest and recovery it needs.  Running with an injury can not only delay the healing of that injury but cause other injuries.  When I first starting running, I tried to push through an injury and ended up in a walking boot for months.  Now I’m more in tune with how my body responds to different mileage and run conditions.  I also take the time to recover with things such as yoga, Epsom salt baths, and foam rolling.  If your body is telling you something is off, it probably is.  Listening to your body will make you a stronger runner.

So I know I said there were five things I wish I knew when I started running, but I need to add one more.  And it’s probably been the most important one for me to learn on my running journey.

Have Fun!

Running won’t always be easy—there may be runs or even training cycles when you just want to stop.  During those times, take a step back and remember why you started and find the fun in it.  I find fun by running with run groups, running with fun socks and interacting with other runners on social media.  Find what’s the most fun for you in running and try to incorporate that into your training.   

What are some of the things you wish you knew when you first started running?
Until next time, happy running!

Jenn Smith 
Explorer. Signer. Ultra Runner.

IG: @Jenn13.1