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9 Beginner Running Tips to Get You Ready for Austin

Get on the right track with these beginner running tips 

Every runner begins at square one. Whether you’re just starting out or returning from a long break from running, these nine beginner runner tips will get you started. Some might not need all nine, but everyone will use at least one to get them going. Remember to have fun, running should be enjoyable.

Don’t track distance

Run on the Boardwalk to track your time, a helpful beginner running tip!

Run/walk on the Boardwalk so you can track your time and be near the water.

Track time instead. Focus on time on your feet when you begin. Start off with a time that’s comfortable for you and increase that amount over time. For your first time out, try running/walking for 15 minutes and see how that feels. If you feel fine, increase it by 3-5 minutes next time! After a few weeks when you get more comfortable being on your feet you can begin tracking mileage.

Take walk breaks

When starting out, your heart rate will increase quickly. You’re asking a lot of your body when you first begin running. Your body will adjust accordingly. Taking walk breaks will allow your heart rate to come back down and catch your breath. When you’re on your first 15-minute run, alternate running and walking every 60 seconds. The next time you’re out, run for 90 seconds and walk for 60. Eventually you’ll eliminate walking altogether!

Run in a location you’ll love

Austin runners can run on the Greenbelt, trail running is a helpful beginner running tip.

If you love nature, try running/walking on the trail when you first start out.

Love nature? Go to the trails. Like a certain coffee shop? Run near the shop and reward yourself. Enjoy being near water? Check out the Boardwalk. Running at a location you love helps you have a better experience when you first start out.

Get fit for running shoes

You’re running, get running shoes! Fit matters. You want shoes that fit your feet, provide comfort, and look good. Visit our friends at Fleet Feet Austin. They’re the Official Running Store of the Austin Marathon. You can use their state-of-the-art foot scanning machine to get fitted with the shoes that’s best for you.

Start slow

Don’t start like you’ve been shot out of a cannon. Begin at an easy, comfortable pace. You don’t want to wear yourself out or elevate your heart rate too soon. Your effort shouldn’t be stressful. Starting slow allows your body to warm up and helps prevent injury.

Track your progress

Group photo of friends before running the 2019 Austin Half Marathon. Running with friends is a great beginning running tip.

Run with friends and track your progress all the way to the finish line.

As mentioned above, don’t track distance, track time. Keep a log of the amount of time you spent on your feet. Track the amount of jogging and walking and how many times you alternate. This will inform you what your next workout should be, how much you run/walk, and how much time you spend on your feet. 

Lower your expectations

If you’re just starting out, you won’t run a 5K right off the bat. Every runner, from elites to beginners, starts at square one. Make sure your expectations and goals are attainable. If you set lofty goals and don’t achieve them you can get burned out and lose interest. Start off small and work your way up!

Listen to music you love

Make a running playlist that you’ll love! Don’t have the time? Check out our #WeLiketheSoundofThat playlist on Spotify! Listening to music you love will help pass the time, act as a timer for your workout, and help distract from the task at hand. Feel free to sing out loud if needed! If using headphones, make sure the volume is low enough to hear your surroundings.

Run with a friend who is at your level

This tip is beneficial for two reasons: accountability and camaraderie. You’ll hold each other accountable, meaning you’re less likely to hit snooze for that early morning run if you know your friend is waiting for you. Additionally, you can push one another when needed, compare training progress, and congratulate one another when you do something great!

Beginning to run can be a daunting task, especially if you don’t break it down. The benefits of running are endless and these beginning runner tips will get you on the right track.  Use them to get ready for the Austin Half Marathon or Austin Marathon KXAN SimpleHealth 5K! Did you use a specific beginner running tip when you first started running? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter.

Is There Really a Right Way to Run?

Go beyond the shoe and learn about the right way to run

Learning about the right way to run for yourself can make all the difference in the world. It can improve efficiency and reduce injury. The right pair of shoes can help, but they’re not going to solve any problems that might arise. RunLab’s, Dr. Kimberly Davis breaks down the myth and the reality about the right way to run. She includes reasoning and how you can learn more about your running form. If you want to learn more or have an injury looked at, give RunLab a call today!

by: Kimberly Davis, RunLab

The Myth

There is a “right” way and a “wrong” way to run.

The Reality

There are many right and wrong ways to run, walk, and even squat. Your ideal way depends on your unique structure, range-of-motion, strengths, limiters, injury history, and goals. Seem like a lot to consider?! It is! 

There are more runners and triathletes hitting the trails than ever and that, unfortunately, means more injury. Many studies estimate that upwards of 90% of runners will end up injured in any given year. Given the fact that millions upon millions of dollars have been spent on shoe design over the last 50 years, why are injury rates still the same, or even higher, than they ever were?

The answer? It’s not about the shoe.

Misinformation about running form

There is a lot of misinformation out there about running form. People constantly find their way into RunLab™ with stories about their struggles to “fix” their heel strike, run with higher cadence, get their “glutes to fire”, to “stop overpronating”, etc. But the problem lies in the fact that most of these runners have very little understanding of how their bodies are built. Despite their best intentions, they have even less idea why they are trying to change things, other than the fact that they read somewhere that what they are currently doing is “wrong.”

There are thousands of variables that go into a person’s ideal movement pattern. A person’s gait is as unique as their fingerprint! Furthermore, changing the way you move isn’t necessarily taking away the load. It simply means you are moving the load around to another area of the body which can be more, or sometimes less, equipped to handle that stress.

Movement analysis

This is where movement analysis comes into play and why it is vital to look at the full body both statically and in motion from multiple planes. It is important to understand the unique way you are built, your current range-of-motion, strengths and limiters, and the way your body has adapted to move through them.

Our brains are amazing at creating workarounds for even the slightest weakness. When we layer compensation pattern over compensation pattern (even as non-runners) for years, there is a lot that goes into unraveling the ball of biomechanical yarn. This is true for runners dealing with injury and uninjured runners looking to prevent injury or improve efficiency.

To illustrate the point, creating increased range-of-motion in one area can create stability problems in another. This can cause that area to develop compensatory hypertonicity (tightness).

One common scenario we see in runners occurs when they have more flexible hamstrings than they think they do and constantly spend time stretching them, ignoring their hip flexors. Since most of us sit all day, the hip flexors can cause the pelvis to roll forward and pull on the (already flexible) hamstrings. This creates a perception of tightness which leads to, you guessed it, more stretching. Low back pain frequently results. This is one of a million examples but illustrates the way the body adapts and why we end up chasing pain in the wrong places for years if we don’t understand our unique underlying biomechanical picture.

Take-home message

If you don’t understand your unique structure, range-of-motion, strengths and limiters, it is very easy to get pulled down the rabbit hole by the mountain of information from articles, underqualified “experts,” wearable technology, and your running friends who “read somewhere that you should run with your feet facing forward.”

Understanding your body should be the springboard to any good training plan and is vital to preventing injury. More importantly, this information arms you with the knowledge to decide which recommendations for “better form” are actually relevant to you.

And remember, shoes matter. But there isn’t a shoe in the world that can replace working on your biomechanics.  The right shoes will aid your body’s ability to move naturally and as efficiently as it can in its current state. However, no amount of shoe technology can permanently solve for a weakness in the body.