Top Five Tips for Beginner Runners

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Disney Fun Run 2

Inspired by Disney Social Media Moms Fun Run, I joined a training program for beginning runners in April.  I’ve been running for five months now and I’m amazed at how far I’ve come.  You can do it!  Our bodies can go from couch potato to runner more quickly than you would imagine.

A friend of mine started running after I did my first 5K because she said if I could do it, anyone can!  And she’s right, I was not the most likely person to start running.  I’m still kinda surprised.  I listened to the slogans that said “Anyone Can Run a 5K” and decided to believe it!

If you are thinking of starting to run, I can’t encourage you enough.  My shirt for the training program has the words, “Running Changes Everything” and it’s so true.  It’s changed me in so many ways and I’ve only just started.  Many people have asked me, “What are you doing?  You look great.”  I’m not sure if I’ve lost weight, but I know that my clothes fit different… I feel different.  Even my appetite has changed, I find myself choosing fresh vegetables and fruits over rich desserts.  I’ve only just started but I feel stronger. 

As a beginner, here are some of the tips I found to be the most valuable.

first step

1.  Join a Running Group

There are programs all over the internet that will give you the training times, distances, and schedules to follow.  But like many things, it’s tough to do it by yourself.  Motivation ebbs and peaks, having someone encouraging you makes a difference.  Check the Jeff Galloway program that runDisney recommends.  Call a local running store, health clubs, schools.  Find one with a schedule that fits yours and sign up!

Blog Fun Run foot shot

2.  Get Good Running Shoes

If you’re a beginner like me, you need all the help you can get.  And you want to avoid injury.  Shoes can make a tremendous difference.  They will make it easier and more comfortable to start.  It matters.  Did you know your running shoes should be a size larger than your normal shoe size?  You need shoes with more structure if you pronate or lean in when you run.  There is much more to running shoes than the average person is aware of.

You do not want to get hurt.  Unless you are young and running competitively, running should not be something that means injury or pain.

Tinkerbell Half Marathon Run Disney

3.  Set Goals and Reward Yourself

Believe in yourself – you ARE going to do this.  Set goals, sign up for a 5K.  I was lucky enough to experience my first run at Walt Disney World.  The @runDisney events are magical.  It’s difficult to describe the difference that it makes to run somewhere like Disney.  And there’s no better way to celebrate the healthy choice you’ve make, the milestones you’ve reached than a trip to Walt Disney World or Disneyland.  I haven’t done a race at Disney, only Fun Runs, and my goal for 2014 is to earn a @runDisney finisher medal.

4. Take Running Safety Seriously

The first night of my training, the coach shared running safety tips.  He took it very seriously and read through them slowly, carefully and invited questions.  Despite the fact that we run through a very quiet neighborhood, the coach and mentors are careful to keep us on the left side of the road, etc.  Now that it’s getting dark earlier, we are required to have lights.  It’s easy to forget that cars are bigger and drivers are not always paying attention.  Another important safety tip is not to run alone in unsafe areas.  When we run, there are times when you are pushing yourself and concentrating only on running.  That’s not ideal for safety and it’s important to make safety practices a habit.

great to start

5.  Trust your Coaches

Sometimes the run training schedules or rules may not make sense.  I remember when I was first starting, I was so excited and wanted to run every day.  the coaches discouraged me, which I thought was odd.  Now I understand that it’s important to let your muscles rest and recover, especially when you are first starting to run.  It’s a long journey and all about injury prevention.  You want to “live to run another day”.  Suspend what you think you know and trust the people that have more experience and knowledge.  Follow their advice and remember you are learning a habit that will last a lifetime.  It’s about the marathon, not the sprint!

If you’ve been thinking about trying it, stay on the couch long enough to go to the runDisney website and read about the Jeff Galloway training program.  Or if there isn’t one in your area, call a local running store and ask if they have a training program or know of any in your area. I’m doing the New Balance No Boundaries.  Then get off the couch and go!  If I can do it, you can too!

Disclosure: Disney provided me and my family with travel services, experiences and products.  They never require that I post about my experiences and what I learn, but the Disney trips are always full of helpful and important information for parents and families that I love to share with my readers.  All opinions are my own and as always, I love to share experiences with my readers that offer quality and/or value – and make you feel lucky!




  1. 1
    natalie nichols says:

    Great tips. The only thing I would add is that with running, consistency is key. I remember I thought I’d never be able to run a mile straight but I kept going 3-4x per week, only able to run for about 30 seconds at first. Eventually, I was able to run 12 miles without stopping one single time. I lost 40 lbs in the process and I felt AMAZING. Unfortunately, I have to take a break from running for about a year because I hurt my back at work lifting a package that was 137 lbs over a piece of equipment. I have 2 bulging discs, so I have to let that heal before I can get back out there, but at least I know what I’m capable of now! Keep up the good work.

  2. 2

    Thanks for the tips! Starting or restarting after a break an exercise regime can be a bit intimidating, and it’s easy to get caught up in perfectionism…either you’re not good enough to do it, or trying to do too much too fast. Consistent exercise, with breaks and slowly increasing difficulty is the way to go!

  3. 3

    Great tips.. so very beneficial.. after taking a break its pretty hard to get going again.

  4. 4

    I feel like a lot of people I know have gotten into running lately… maybe it’s my time! :)

  5. 5

    The ladies in my neighbourhood have just started a running club. I’m thinking of joining them. Great tips, BTW!
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