The DO’S & DON’T’S of Running: 8 Tips for Beginners

My next race is still weeks away (the end of March).  I was looking for one to run in February but there just aren’t any good options that are a quick drive away so I have to skip this month.  However, I’m super excited about the race in March because I will be heading over to the coast to run the 13.1 with my boss & co-worker, Hanna.  My boss is the same guy that you saw in my Half-Ironman Relay Recap post – he was the beast that conquered the entire 70.3 miles of swimming, biking AND running himself.


I know my boss will kick my butt so I’m not going to boast about him in this post.  However, my co-worker Hanna has committed to running the half-marathon with us and I am so proud of her already!  As a long-time runner myself, it’s been fun to share things with her that I have learned through my experience.  Whether or not she wants to hear it is another story J.  I have so many tips that I tend to shower new runners with even when they don’t ask so I figured I would put them all up here – therefore, whoever wants to read them, can.


  1. DO be patient – Running for beginners is not going to be easy the first day, first week or maybe even the first month.  Have patience and results will follow.  If you can’t run for more than 5 minutes without feeling like you are going to die, then don’t!  Switch it up with some walking and gradually add in more running when you are ready.
  2. DO give yourself a break from time to time – Beginners tend to look at running like a daunting task on their list.  If you approach it with an “all or nothing” attitude, you may be setting yourself up for disappointment.  If you’re just not feeling it one day, give yourself a break.  Taking a mental break from running is just as important as a physical break when your body needs it.
  3. DO plan for some obstacles – Even elite runners hit bumps in the road (no pun-intended) every now and then with their training.  If your training doesn’t go exactly as planned, don’t be surprised.  Instead, work around it, allow those “bumps” to make you stronger, and continue to press on when you’re ready.
  4. DO have faith – if you really want to be a “runner” you have to have faith that you are going to eventually reach that point where it becomes fun.  This WILL happen – trust me!


  1. DON’T neglect strength training – I think this is the most common mistake for many beginners.  While running feels like a workout for your entire body, it’s actually not.  There are several muscles that don’t get strengthened with running and when you don’t spend the time working on those areas, it can (and most likely will) lead to injury.  Add in yoga or some weight training a few days a week to help avoid injury.
  2. DON’T expect to see/feel results overnight – this one goes along with the first “DO”, having patience.  I used to think that if I ran 3 miles one day I should be able to run 3.5 the next day, 4 the day after that, etc.  I thought that one hard day of running meant I prepared my body to go even further/harder the next day.  That’s not the case.  Some days you’ll feel great like you can run forever, some days you won’t be able to get out of bed.
  3. DON’T focus on speed – This is another common mistake for many beginners.  When I was training for my first marathon, I remember thinking “how in the world am I going to be able to push past the half-marathon threshold? I feel like my legs can’t possibly move another step at mile 13.1”.  Then my friend Chris (who has accomplished a full ironman himself) told me, “Slow down.  Go slower than you think you need to.  Go so slow that it feels like you are almost walking.”  That was the best advice I could have ever gotten (which I then gave to my sister who ran her first half-marathon the day before my race).  When I slowed down during my next long run, I made it further than I had ever run before in my life – and I felt great! Don’t worry about being the fastest runner, regardless of how fast or slow you are going, you are still lapping everyone on the couch J.
  4. DON’T start with too much too soon – It’s easy to get carried away when you finally realize how amazing running is.  Listen to your body and know when to stop/take a break.  Sometimes it’s not worth it to run through the pain.


9 thoughts on “The DO’S & DON’T’S of Running: 8 Tips for Beginners

  1. Ani says:

    All great tips 🙂 I think one of the traps beginning runners fall into is that they think they should be able to run everyday or they should be able to run 3 miles right off the bat. Start slow and it will come!

  2. Laura says:

    All great tips! I like to add that running might hurt, and if you are new to running it might feel like any injury – but learn to differentiate between soreness and injury!

  3. Hanna Samad says:

    Megan!! You’re the best coach and cheerleader I could ask for – can’t wait to do this race with you. Well, ok if we’re being honest, I can definitely wait. But I AM excited 🙂

  4. missannmai says:

    OMGG. Wonderful tips, and so very encouraging–thanks so much for this post!
    I will be sharing it on my Facebook page with my followers soon. 🙂

    I JUST started getting into running a couple of weeks ago. I love the feeling afterwards, but sometimes during the time I am running, I just wanna die sometimes!! haha! I have always hated running but I really want to get myself to like it. I am currently doing Hal Higdon’s 30/30 plan, to start with. ^__^

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