7 Running Tips for Beginners; Enjoy Running and Avoid Common Injuries
Updated: Oct 14
This article is a transcribed edited summary of a video Bob and Brad recorded in April of 2020. For the original video go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cNITUyuIlQA&t=12s
Bob: Today we’re going to talk about seven running tips for beginners. Enjoy running and avoid common injuries. This is the time of year that somebody might take up running again.
Brad: Exactly right, Bob. That’s why we’re doing it.
Bob: It was, uh, gosh, how long ago was it? It was 20-some years ago that I picked up running again. Yeah, I stopped for about 15 years.
Brad: Bob and I have both been running for years and we both enjoy running and any time someone is interested, we’re ready to bring them into the group because there’s a lot of benefits to it.
Bob: Come into the family.
Brad: Right, exactly. Or you know, stay out there, but whatever. Enjoy it, you know. It’s fun to enjoy it and stay healthy. Some of the benefits are, you know one. You can reduce your weight. Go out and burn some calories.
Brad: At the same time reduce stress. I think as an adult, that’s probably more of why I do it, than anything.
Bob: It’s a large part of it. It is probably the number one stress reducer in my life. You know, when we had Adriaan Louw on, the pain expert, he said that with running you get that “runner’s high.” It was like taking how many milligrams of morphine.
Brad: But it’s all natural.
Bob: Yeah, it’s all natural. All good for ya.
Brad: It’s from the pituitary gland and you can get that runner’s high. You may not get it when you get started, but as you get into it more, it gets more volume. The other thing is heart, it’s going to improve your heart condition, cardiovascular, blood pressure. My blood pressure clearly went down. I was at borderline high blood pressure. I did not want to take medication. And I started running and sure enough it dropped.
Bob: So I bring it up, and then running brings it down.
Brad: And another thing, it can be either done alone or socially. You know, you can do it with your spouse, a friend, a group. There’s lots of running groups around. And to me, doing something outdoors, is a big advantage.
Bob: Yeah, that’s great when you can get that Vitamin D.
Bob: I mean, it can. It can help set your circadian rhythms. There’s so many benefits.
Brad: Oh, absolutely. So, seven things, now this is what they’ve been waiting for. All this babbling. Now we got to the good stuff. Seven steps for success. And these are not necessarily in order, so take a little paper and pencil and jot ‘em down and see what’s gonna fit for you. 1)The first thing is set a goal, but not too hard. I’ve had people that were going to run a half a marathon in three months and they’ve never run before. And that’s the biggest scenario for a failure, because chances are you’re not going to be able to do it without some serious injuries, tendonitis, knee pain, you know, whatever the problem may be. So start out slow. You’re going to run a mile in the first month. Now if you’ve got a history of running, let’s say you ran in high school, like Bob, you know, 10 years off, then you can set your goal a little bit higher.
Bob: Although it is surprising, Brad. It was really surprising. A mile and I was dogged. After just a mile and I mean I thought I was in pretty good shape. I was playing basketball yet. You may want to start off, like you said, a mile after a month. But the first day you might not what to, and you’re going to get into that aren’t you?
Brad: Right, and the next thing that falls into this, is don’t set your goals too high. You can always increase your goals but if you got too high and you get injured, that’s when people just stop.
Brad: You know they give it up and say, it’s not for me. Start easy and build into it. A really good way to start is: one-minute walk, kind of a warm up, and then a two-minute jog, and then a one-minute walk. Or you can go distance like: one block walk, two blocks jog and do that five times and see how you respond. Don’t run every day. Go every other day to give your body a chance to recuperate and recover from the new activity.
Bob: Yeah, that’s interesting. My brother took up running again at one point and he just went right out and started it and he tore his calf.
Bob: You know, again, I think if he would have walked first and warmed it up a little bit and then ran. I think he would’ve avoided that and like Brad said, I mean, if you get injured, you’re set back. Then you may not go back to it.
Brad: Exactly, right. I’m going to go out of my order a little bit, but that leads me into #2 stretching. You don’t have to go through a 20-minute stretch routine, although you could if you wanted to. But the most important thing in our opinion, I think Bob will agree with this, is calf muscles, hamstrings, and then just doing a general warm up.
Bob: Yes, the calves are really critical. They’re a common one that I’ve seen people tear. And the hamstring is another one I’ve seen, although it tends to be more sprinting. It still could be a problem area.
Brad: Yeah, I would say, yes, particularly hamstrings, you’re probably not going to pull them doing a jog, but you could. Calf muscles can get tight and ornery, if you go from walking to jogging.
Bob: And that’s why it’s so important to go into it slowly. Every day I walk a bit first before I run, even though I’ve been running for years now.
Brad: And then, you know, jumping jacks is a good one.
Bob: Jumping jacks is a great one.
Brad: Just do 20 of those just to get things moving. But if you start walking, and then you go to running, and alternate, you know, that’s pretty low-key.
Brad: You’re not going too aggressive. You’re probably going to be safe. #3 Shoes, people think oh I better get a good pair of shoes. An expensive pair of shoes versus a good pair of shoes are often times two different things. I used to buy the most expensive ones when I first started running because I thought I needed them. And this was 20 years ago. I spent $140 on these Air Max Nike things and finally I went to New Balance and bought them for half price, $70 and they were better. My feet felt better on those than they did on the expensive ones. Yeah, it’s all a matter of fit, really, and how the arch fits your arch.
Brad: Right. We actually have a video on that, "How to Select a Pair of Running Shoes. Best Information." If you’d like to check that out visit:
Bob: If you get seriously into running later on and you are running every day, they do recommend you wear a different pair of shoes every other day.
Bob: This allows the shoe to recover. You know, it takes like 24 hours for it to recover.
Brad: That’s not for beginners, Bob.
Bob: No, that’s right, this is for beginners.
Brad: Let’s stay on track, here.
Brad: #4 Have a support group, family members, friends, that are going to say “you can do it!” “Get out there and run.” As opposed to, “why do you want to go run and bang up your knee joints?” “You’re gonna need a knee replacement in a year.” So, make sure you stay away from those people.
Bob: Positive people.
Brad: Yes, positive people, one thing that works good for me is have a buddy. A workout buddy, or a whole network. You may join a group on Saturday mornings, and you run as a group. You find someone that runs your speed. And you have a little social. I personally have one buddy that every Saturday morning, we do our exercise together and kind of keep up with how our workouts have been going throughout the week and if we learned anything new. Sometimes we just talk about sports.
Bob: Yeah, I find how important that was when I was in college and I did weight-lifting. Some days you just wouldn’t feel like it, but then your friends would come by, “Come on, let’s go!” And you always went.
Brad: Yep, those days when you don’t feel like doing it, sometimes you need a little push or a little help from a partner or a buddy, etc.
Bob: I found once it becomes a habit, Brad, it’s hard to shake then. Then you don’t want to miss a day.
Brad: Yesterday I did not want to go out.
Bob: Didn’t ya?
Brad: No. and I just did because I knew when I got done, I’d be really happy I did it. It ended up being my first mile was slow, my third mile was really good and it’s like it felt pretty fun, you know? You have to just get up and do it. Next, this is really important, #5 learn how to run relaxed. One of my first things when I was a cross-country runner in eighth or ninth grade, our coach said don’t run with tight fists. He said, let your fingers just touch. And that made such a difference because I used to run with fists, you know.
Brad: And my jaws were tight and my fists were tight and I was running really fast and really hard. And a half mile later I’d just be exhausted.
Bob: Expending energy that you don’t need to.
Brad: Oh, you’re so inefficient. So, relax your arms. Relax the jaw muscles, the face. Let everything relax. And just allow yourself to run.
Bob: The other thing I’ll mention, Brad, it’s really important your posture. When you’re running in poor posture, your diaphragm can’t work like it should and it can’t take in air like it should. I’ve seen people get better just by improving their posture. I worked with a cross country team and when they did this their times got better.
Brad: Oh yeah, oxygen in, carbon dioxide out. That whole system is much better with good posture. So, now, here’s another one, Bob. Do not get into this trap. #6 Do not compare yourself to anybody else. You’re out there for your reasons. You’re out there to get better. All these benefits we talked about. I didn’t mention one thing about going to a race and getting first place at a race because if you have that attitude, if you’re a really competitive person, you have to set that off to the side. You know, after a couple of years, maybe you can get into it, but when you’re starting out, just enjoy it. #7 don’t increase your speed or your volume too much too soon. That can also either cause injury or psychologically burn you out, so just enjoy the activity.
Bob: Exactly, some people look at that. You just need to think about it like you’re beating all the people who are still on the couch. You know what I mean?
Brad: Yeah, exactly! Which is about 90% of the population.
Bob: Right, right, so you’re doing so much better than the people that aren’t out there at all. So that’s if you want to compare yourself, compare yourself to them.
Brad: Yeah, that’s an alternative. So, there’s seven steps. You know, by now you have written them all down. Take a look at them. Sleep on it overnight. Get up in the morning and get your warm-up in.
Bob: Go to it.
Brad: Go for a nice easy run.
Bob: Thanks, everybody.
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