12 Tips to Help New Runners

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All too often, women will start a running routine, or set a goal for herself, only to stop due to injury or frustration.

We asked two of our in-house runners (Jackie, our senior copywriter, and Tracy, our product innovation guru) to share their knowledge to help new runners stick with it. Both are experienced runners with several races, relays, and marathons under their belts.

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Jackie is wearing our Fastest Track Tank in Ember Orange and Melt Ready Set Short. Tracy is wearing our Fastest Track Tee in Sour Apple Heather and Spliced Fire Be Free Knicker.

Running Tip #1: Start slow

It takes time for your body to adapt to running, and where you start will depend on your fitness base. “I recommend a run/walk combo to get started,” Tracy said. “You can do it by time or distance. Try running for 5 minutes then walk a minute. Repeat for a period of time that is comfortable. Increase your run time as you go and reduce your walking time. Eventually you will be running without breaks!

Running Tip #2: Running doesn’t mean sprinting

Tracy recommends running at a conversational pace. “I coach Girls On The Run and the girls often have 2 speeds – full blast and walking. I work with them on pacing themselves with the goal of finding a comfortable pace to run a 5K.”

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Running Tip #3: Dress the Part

It’s no secret we think fitness and fashion go hand-in-hand. Bonus: a great outfit often motivates you to get outside! Find a flattering outfit that will perform and look cute. Tracy’s tips on what to wear: “Cotton is going to stay wet, look sweaty and be uncomfortable during your workouts. Look for a polyester-based top that will wick sweat and help to keep you dry and comfortable.” There are also anti-odor tops available! Run shorts, capris and tights will give you the freedom of movement you need without any restriction.

A favorite go-to is the Fastest Track series, which consists of tanks, tees, tops, half-zips, and a new bra. The training tops have a streamlined fit, including toned-down ruching, and use our Regul8 technology, which means the fabric reacts to both your body’s temperature and the environment outside. You’ll never be too hot or too cool in the top.

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We also love the Unstinkable technology in this fabric (meaning wear more & wash less!). Natural silver salts give the fabric antimicrobial protection that lasts wash after wash. So you can focus on your run, and not worry about a stink.

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Extra bonus on the Fastest Track Tee and Tops: the raglan sleeves gives your arms room to move, to keep your gait natural.

Jackie’s #1 clothing tip is to buy a quality sport bra. “This is the place to splurge, aside from shoes. Nothing will derail you mentally from your run faster than your ladies bouncing around. Keep them properly supported and you’ll find yourself focusing only on the road ahead.”

Running Tip #4: Don’t forget your feet

A good pair of running shoes will make a huge difference. Head to a local run specialty store that can help you find the right shoe for you. They often can look at your running gait, which will really help you get off to a good start.

Running Tip #5: Food makes a difference

If you eat too much too soon to before a run, it can cause stomach distress. You don’t need to carbo load. If you are going for a 30-minute run, try eating half of a banana before your run. This will be easy on the stomach and also give you quick energy. For more sustained energy, try some oatmeal. Avoid dairy, nuts and meats prior to a run – these are hard to digest.

Running Tip #6: Hydrate

Definitely common sense, but it’s something runners don’t do often enough. Drinking a solid glass of water 20 minutes before your run makes a huge difference when it’s hot out.

Running Tip #7: Watch your breath

If you get cramps in your side (called side stitches) – start walking or slow down your running pace. Take deeper breaths. “I like to grab the “stitch” tightly with my hand and bend over into it,” says Tracy. “It helps me to release the cramp. Deep breathing is best – use your yoga breaths!”

Running Tip #8: Find your motivation

Pick a race for a goal – maybe a local 5K. Find a run buddy and training partner. Both of these will motivate you and get you out the door.

Running Tip #9: Break down your run

Tackling your run is easier when you mentally break it down into mini goals so you’re constantly achieving something on the way. “I’m always telling myself “just to that pole,” “just to that tree” or “catch up to that girl!” and so on,” Jackie suggests. “It kind of turns into a game.”

Running Tip #10: Be easy on yourself

Each time you run a step, you’re lifting your entire body off the ground, letting it hit the ground, and then propelling yourself off into the air again. It takes effort, and for most of us, it’s hard work. The great part is, the more you get out there and do it, the better you get at it, the more natural you feel, until one day you wake up and realize, “Hey, I’m running!”

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Running Tip #11: Cross-train

For the longest time, the prevailing wisdom was that in order to run better, you must run more. While practice is a good thing, it’s also good to strengthen your entire body and avoid overuse injuries from repetitive motion (it’s also good for avoiding boredom). Try a yoga class. Maybe a bootcamp. The more you strengthen your muscles, the more endurance they have for your run.

Running Tip #12: Stick with it

It will take a little time for running to start feeling amazing! Once you find that amazing place, running will be a part of your life and it will become a priority. You will love how it makes you feel!

What tips would you add? Let us know in the comments!

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Brooke Wedding

August 18, 2015 at 12:26 pm

It feels amazing after you finish a run, so
always remember that feeling post workout, and it helps get you
through it when it hurts and you are out of your comfort


August 19, 2015 at 6:46 am

Always remember the rest day. It is holy. You need to give your body time to recover

Sarah | Well and Full

August 19, 2015 at 7:32 am

This is all great advice! I found that doing strength training (especially in my glutes/legs) was extraordinarily helpful for my running.


August 24, 2015 at 10:59 am

I started using the Barre3 website and DVDs that were highlighted on the Chi Blog which has really helped with both strength and flexibility and subsequently greatly improved my stamina and decreased injury.

Team Athleta

August 24, 2015 at 6:16 pm

Courtney, we’re glad to hear it!


August 27, 2015 at 1:30 pm

As a former high school cross-country runner, and a dedicated runner into my mid thirties, I definitely think all of these tips are great. However, side stitches are only handled one way! Walking with your arm stretched straight up and giving that “stitch” some room. I found that deep breaths tend to make the stitch more painful; I take short breaths in and out. This is the only thing that cures them for me. I’m well-conditioned and still get stitches from time to time, especially when I do sprints. Hope this helps!

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September 01, 2015 at 2:44 am


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