Personal Trainer Tips

A Beginner’s Guide to Running

beginner's running shoes are tied
Make sure to have the right shoes for the best running experience!

A lot of people we talk to say they really want to be more active — maybe even take up running— but they don’t know where to start as a beginner. It’s true: running is an excellent way to lose weight and improve cardiovascular endurance, but it’s important to be smart about how you get started. 

Start small, then build up

A dynamic warmup is the key to getting moving. And static stretching is a great way to end your run. So start warming up your legs with some lunges, side leg swings, and front kicks. Foam rolling is great to incorporate before your run as well since it helps relax overactive muscles in the body, especially as a beginner.

Rather than going full speed ahead, start with a walk/jog combination. Walk for one minute, then jog for 30 seconds. Each week, reasonably increase the amount of time you jog. You should also increase your mileage over time — a good goal is one added mile every other week. Injury prevention is important, so don’t overdo it.

A great way to gauge if you’re at the right speed is to measure your rate of perceived exertion (or RPE). You should be at a conversational pace for most of the workout. If you feel your heart rate getting too high, then slow down. Below is an example of a way you can structure your run/walks.

 

Level Run Walk Repeat
Beginner 10-30 seconds 1-2 minutes Duration of run
Intermediate 1-5 minutes 1-2 minutes Duration of run
Advanced 6-8 minutes 30 sec- 1 min Duration of run

Focus on proper form

Your head, neck, shoulders, and jaw should be relaxed when you jog. Keep your arms bent at a 90-degree angle — freely swinging your arms forward and backward like a pendulum, not crossing over your belly button. You should land on the ball of your front foot, and pull your feet off the ground as quickly as possible. Ensure your stride length isn’t too long by bringing your feet directly underneath your body instead of out in front of you. Engage your glutes and hamstrings on every stride. Keep your muscles as relaxed as possible, and don’t forget to breathe through your belly.

Wear the right shoes

Where you run will determine what goes on your feet. Trail running calls for shoes that have much more tread and support. Road shoes, on the other hand, will have more of a zero-drop heel and less support. Either way, you want to make sure your shoes are the right fit for your foot. It is best to go to a running store and have them analyze your stride so they can pick out the proper shoes for your foot. Typically you want to replace your shoes every 300-400 miles. So make sure you’re tracking that mileage in our app!

start free trial

Create a beginner’s running plan

If you’re really committed to running, sign up for a race. Give yourself adequate time to train for a reasonable distance. Most beginners start by working toward a 5k which is 3.1 miles. There are a number of training plans online – in fact, Gixo offers a well-thought-out training program.

As a beginner, start out by running/walking 2-3 days a week, then add one long run on the weekend. During the long runs, try to increase your mileage every other week. Add in some speed workouts as well which will help you increase your pace. The most important part of a plan is to stick with it and stay consistent!

Know Your Running Lingo

These are a few terms you’ll want to know as you train.

Stride rate: The forward steps taken while running.

Fartleks: (“speedplay” in Swedish) Easy runs broken up by quick sprinting bursts.

Tempo Run: To hold a “threshold” (comfortably hard pace) for a 20-minute period during a run. (Typically done once a week.)

Cadence: Number of steps taken per minute.

Speedwork:  Anything to improve running speed, including tempo runs, hill repeats, and intervals.

After you have a few runs under your belt, you’ll start building up that mileage and can confidently call yourself a runner. And your Gixo coaches will be proud to welcome you to the club. (Perhaps at an Endurance Builder class this week?)

Stay safe, hydrate, and most importantly stick with it. We can’t wait to hear about your progress!