Running For Beginners – Part 2

Choosing Running Shoes

In Running For Beginners - Part 1 we talked about the best way of getting you started, so now is a good time to think about what should go on your feet (or not, as the case may be)

We have three suggestions for you:

• First, you can run without shoes and go barefoot…

(say what?)

barefoot running for beginners

Crazy as this might sound at first, if you are careful, barefoot running is a viable option to wearing shoes and, as research shows, it has some important benefits. The impact forces when running barefoot improve bone strength and sensory feedback from your feet leads to a better running form / technique

Experienced runners sometimes come unstuck when they try barefoot running because they want to continue running 5K's, 10K's etc. As a beginner runner, however, you have the distinct advantage of running smaller distances, as any beginner runner would - so barefoot running could be the way to go

For any questions on barefoot running visit the UK Chapter of the Barefoot Running Forum - USA click here.

Vibram Five Fingers - KSO

Running Tips HQ: 

Start by running 1/8 mile barefoot and then increase your distance by 1/8 mile every other run, so run 1/8 for first 2 days and then 1/4 mile on third day and so on. Any pain after a run then go back a step. Gradual and patient is the name of the game!

Second, you can go minimalist

If you prefer something on your feet, the best advice I can give you is to find a minimalist running shoe – this is a shoe which has virtually no cushioning. Find one with zero heel drop and a flexible thin sole between 3mm and 5mm (...more)

This way you have some of the sensory feedback (proprioception) while still giving your feet protection from the elements. This is not as good as barefoot running, in my opinion, but it is the next best thing if running barefoot is out of the question

Running Tips HQ: 

Be careful- if you are already running regular miles and decide to go from a cushioned shoe to a minimalist shoe, still only do very small distances - 1/4 mile to start with, 1/8 mile increase every other run, the same way as if you were starting barefoot and starting as a beginner runner, otherwise you risk straining muscles you haven't used before.

• Third, buy a cushioned running shoe

If you like cushioning on your shoe, find one with a large toe box, a neutral foot bed and again, zero heel drop - this will allow your foot to behave in a more natural way, unlike many of the “conventional” running shoes on the market

(read this article from Science of , highly recommended)

There is a paradigm shift taking place right now which is moving away from the high-tech running shoes and leaning more towards minimalist footwear – don’t get caught on the wrong side of this shift and choose your footwear wisely…

My Bikila 5 fingers

Personally, I run barefoot as often as I can and wear my Vibram Bikilas or KSO's at other times, keeping my foot close to the ground ;-)

The Foundations Of Running For Beginners

Now that your feet are sorted you might want to think about building the foundations of your running, there are four key areas – Injury Prevention, Training, Motivation, and Nutrition – to cover all your running needs

- As you run more regularly, exploit the sections of this website to your advantage and continually strengthen these four important areas, organise some spare time for research - this will help your running continue to thrive ;-)

Running for beginners is often made easier by planning ahead. Here are some basic steps to think over:

  • Start a few strength training exercises (Injury Prevention)
  • Choose a suitable running program and get started (Training)
  • Print your running program and put it somewhere you can see it (Motivation)
  • Where necessary, gradually introduce healthier foods to your diet (Nutrition)

And that will do you for now - as you can see you are already starting to put the first pieces of your foundation together ;-)

Start Running Today!

So there you have it, now you have enough to get started today - take things easy at first, be patient and follow your chosen running program week by week

running for beginners start line

- you’ll be fine…

Like I said before, running for beginners gets easier the more you do it

Before you know what’s happened, you will be running regular miles like a seasoned runner, training for 5K’s, 10K’s or even your first marathon!

Just take the first steps now…

- who knows where it might lead?

< Running For Beginners - Part 1

Looking for a gentle introduction to running? Try our Couch To 5K (walk/run) Program. Great place to start :-)

Also - have a look at our Top 10 Beginner Running Tips