How To Start Running: 5 Tips For Beginner Runner

 How to start running: 5 tips for beginner runner

Running is the simplest form of exercise to pick up as it requires minimal equipment.  With the implementation of Movement Control Order (MCO) that only allows outdoor exercises, it is the best time to pick up your running shoes and start running!

Running provides great benefits to our physical fitness and also mental health, which is really important during this pandemic period. Running can help in reducing weights, improving our cardiovascular health, improve our moods, cultivate good discipline and improve our overall confidence level. Running can be done alone for peace and serenity or you can run together with your friends for social interactions.

Here are 5 tips for beginners to start a safe running routine:

1. Set a realistic goal 

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It is important to set a realistic running goal. Being realistic means not pushing yourself too fast and causing yourself to burnout and be demotivated. You may start with short running intervals where you walk in between the runs to recover a little. After a while, you may slowly increase the running speed and duration to build up your stamina. This is to allow your body some time to get used to the new stress and strain of running.

If you need a structured guide to help start your running routine, there is a program called “NHS’s Couch to 5k programme” which can provide a great start and it has been tried and tested by many beginner runner as an awesome program to start a safe running routine.

2. Get a proper running shoes
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 Running is a very affordable exercise where all you need are a T-shirt, shorts and most importantly a running shoe. The running shoes do not need to be the most expensive or the latest model, but they need to be fitted and suitable for your foot type, running gait and running style.

 Usually a sport equipment or attire shop will provide a free foot type analysis and some may even analyze your running gait and style on the treadmills before recommending a suitable running shoes. By understanding whether your foot is pronounced, supinated or flat foot, you will be able to get a running shoe that complements your structure to minimize injuries during your running routine.

 3. Perform warm up before and cool down after running

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Before starting running, it is important for you to warm up by doing some dynamic stretching to improve blood circulation, minimize injuries and prevent muscle cramp during running. You may incorporate lunges, leg swings, forward bend, butt kick, high knees, and marching as a warm up routine before running.

Besides that, performing a cool down routine after running is important as well. As tempting as it is to just go back home and rest, performing a cool down routine will help to alleviate muscle soreness and allow your body to relax in a gradual manner. A simple stretching routine such as quadriceps stretch, calf stretch, hamstring stretch and hip flexor stretch can easily help to cool down your body.  

 4. Practice a good running posture

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 Although running is a simple repetitive movement sport, it is important to have a proper running posture as it will help to reduce risk of injuries, conserve energy and enable you to run longer distances.

The posture must be upright during the run and the head should be lifted to look straight ahead with the shoulder relaxed. Make sure that you are not leaning forward with a rounded shoulder as it may tighten the chest muscles and restrict the breathing during the run. Both arms should swing naturally from the shoulder joint with the elbow bent at 90 degrees. You can relax your palms and do not clench them into fists as it will cause tension to build up in the neck, shoulders and arms.

5. Have proper rest for recovery
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Having a rest day is important for body recovery because continuous running without a rest day may cause microscopic muscle tears and overuse injuries. The body needs to adapt to new demands and prepare itself for the next running session. By scheduling the running and rest day alternately will help you to achieve the best training effect and also avoid unnecessary injuries to your body.

If you experience any pain or discomfort during running, remember to stop and rest. Remember to seek professional advice if the pain persists longer than it should be.

Finally, age is no barrier and it is never too late to pick up running as a sport!


Jocelyn Ooi – A Chiropractor and a post graduate student of Master of Strength & Conditioning, Centre for Sport & Exercise Sciences, University Malaya.

 A guest post written by Dr. Jocelyn Ooi

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  1. Interesting knowledge! Will start running soon

    1. Yes, we have to put in some exercise during this lockdown for physical and mental health

  2. Thanks, yes need to know so that we will not overstrain and hurt ourselves.

  3. Good to start running now during MCO