No matter your experience level, running can be a challenge. Becoming a runner or beating your personal record requires training and practice.

When I started running I could barely run 3km and eventually I beat my personal record finishing a 16km race in under 90 minutes. I want to help you do the same.

I compiled my best tips on how to become a runner or tweak your current routine to help you improve your speed and distances!

Running can be an excellent addition to your workout routines, especially when you are looking for workouts you can do without a gym or equipment like the ones I discuss here!

I am by no means an expert, these tips are from my personal experience.

Disclaimer: some links on this page may be affiliate links and if there is a purchase made through them I can earn a commission from the sale. The decision to make a purchase through these links is entirely up to the reader. 

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6 Tips on Becoming a Runner

No experience required!

#1 Make a Plan and Track Progress

I love planning every aspect of my life and I think it is essential when becoming a runner. 

First think about what goal you want to achieve for example:

  • “I want to run a 10km race in 6 weeks.”
  • “I want to run without breaks by the end of summer.”
  • “I want to beat my record time in my next 5km run.”

No matter what your goal is, write it down. This will give you the timeline you have to work with. Your plan is going to change depending on your timeline, but the general approach will be the same. 

Plan your running week by week. I choose to do a couple short runs a week or mix in one long one. This is your best starting point. 

Start working up from here, increase your number of runs and lengths a week. Practice makes perfect and you only will get the practice you need if you lace up your sneakers and get to it! 

DO NOT FORGET TO TRACK YOUR PROGRESS!

You can track on an app, spreadsheet, or even write it down in a notebook, but you need to track your running!

Write down the distance, time, and then figure out the pace if you do not have technology to actually track it as you go. You should also write where you ran and leave some notes for yourself. 

Seeing your progress will be motivating to keep getting better and better. You will never know if you’re beating your personal record if you do not know what your personal record is!

#2 Work With Intervals Instead of Just Taking Breaks!

If you do not think you can complete a run without stopping it is great practice to start with running intervals. This means you choose segmented amounts of time to run and then walk. You can also break this up into distance. Here are some examples:

  • Run 2 minutes, walk 1 minute
  • Run 1.5km, walk 1km

You repeat these intervals until your distance goal is completed.

Over time you can make your intervals of walking smaller and eventually you will be able to complete the full run without taking a break!

If you run intervals you should also time these and record them in your progress. 

#3 Warm Up & Cool Down: Stretch, Stretch, Stretch!

Preparing yourself for the run will make your run easier on yourself and safer for you.

You do not want to cramp up or hurt yourself when trying to run and you definitely want to have your heart rate going before you jump into a run!

I suggest stretching your legs, back, neck, and arms. Roll your feet on a golf ball if you tend to cramp.

Once you are all stretched out you can start doing some leg swings, high knees, jumping jacks, and more to get your heart rate going! I like to search Pinterest for warm up ideas!

Cooling down is just as important as warming up!!

You want your recovery to be beneficial for you, not painful.

To make sure you treat your body right after a run, I recommend you walk a short distance at the end and have a deep stretch.

My running ritual is to do a relaxed, but deep yoga class after my run.

You want to do what is best for your body, do not neglect this step! I neglected it for a long time until I realized how much better it is when you incorporate it!

#4 Be Prepared

If you have the means to invest in some running gear I highly suggest you do so. I have a list of essentials I use on every run:

  • Running Shoes: essential for your feet, back, and joints!
  • Baseball Cap: protect yourself from the sun and keep your hair out of your face!
  • Breathable Clothing: make sure you can sweat and a breeze can get through your clothes. Even if you are running in colder weather you do not want to overheat under your clothes.
  • Headphones: listening to music can really help, I will explain more below. 
  • Activity Tracker: it could be a watch, smartwatch, or even your phone. Tracking your runs digitally can be very helpful for recording progress. 
  • Running Belt: preferably a light belt that can hold water, your phone, and keys.

If you cannot afford to invest in any of these right now it is okay! You can still become a runner! You can always save up or set up a rewards system for these items that will help motivate you to complete your runs!

#5 Make a Playlist

I have found upbeat songs to really improve my running because when the beat drops I tend to run faster, it really works! 

My upbeat playlist always keeps me pumped up and you can use it is for intervals. You could always run until a song is complete, and walk for the next one or break it up chorus by chorus. 

A great playlist can also distract you from how difficult you run is, it is worth a try! You may have to play around a bit to figure out the best playlist for your run.

It may not work for everyone, but it certainly worked for me!

#6 Listen to Your Body

Your body will always signal to you if there is something wrong, but it is important that you listen.

If you start to get a headache or feel overheated while you are running, slow down or stop

Any pain (not just discomfort) in your feet, knees, or anywhere in your body you should stop immediately and rest for a few days

If you can barely move the day after a run, stretch and rest.

You are doing your body more harm than good if you push it too hard. Your body needs rest and you will actually only slow yourself down more if you hurt yourself.

Slow down and listen to your body before your body forces you to stop.

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These 6 effective tips should help you become the runner you want to be. If you have any input or experiences you would like to share please comment below!

Would you like to see a playlist creator post for a running playlist like my feel-good playlist questionnaire? Let me know!