Couch to 5K
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My 10 ten tips for beginners

1) Invest in proper running trainers. Get your gait analysed at a specialist sports store and try on lots of different trainers until you find the perfect fit. Don’t be tempted to buy online, or from huge sportswear retailers. By buying the right trainers you’ll reduce the risk of injury and make running a more pleasurable activity.

2) Buy lightweight moisture wicking clothing. Make running as comfortable as possible, that way you’re more likely to want to run again.

3) Always begin and end your run with a walk. You’ll need at least five minute prior to running and the same after; there is no harm in increasing the length of these walks.

4) Don’t overdo it. If you run too fast, or too far before you’re ready you’ll have a miserable run. If you have too many miserable runs you are far more likely to give up the C25K programme. Take it easy and if you’re not ready to progress, repeat the current week.

5) Run different routes. I have a favourite route which is my most convenient, but sometime a change is as good as a rest, so it’s nice to run somewhere new now and then. I prefer quite country lanes where I can enjoy the views and low levels of traffic.

6) Get a decent GPS/Heart rate monitor. Tracking you progress is rewarding and helps to improve your performance. This may not be so important when you first start running, but will be when you gain experience. Don’t be tempted to buy wrist activity trackers, they are woefully inaccurate. GPS devices will monitor your exact route and provide data about your run. Your heart rate monitor should go around your chest; this is the only way you’ll get accurate data. Smart phones should also be avoided, they don’t provide heart rate data and reading output from a phone in your hand is likely to end in a fall.

7) Join Strava (or similar). Strava enables you to analyse your GPS/Heart rate data captured during your run. You can compare data against yourself, friends, and pros. You can also plan routes (see how hilly they are) and share your activities.

8) Chaffing – If you are susceptible to chaffing use Body Glide. If you already have chaffing use Lanacane Anti Chafing Gel. Prevention is better than cure so if in doubt apply some Body Glide.

9) Enter yourself in a 5K race (or ParkRun), and then tell everyone you know. This is a great way to motivate yourself. No one likes to be perceived as a quitter.

10) Some days you won’t feel like running – maybe you’ll be a bit tired, maybe it’s raining or too cold. These are the most important days to run. If you run on a tough day it’s the greatest feeling ever when you’re finished. You will thank yourself. The toughest runs are always the most rewarding!

Good luck, you CAN do it!

Feel free to message me if you have any questions or would just like some motivating words!

7 Replies

Good list, Tim, to which I'd add: make sure you stretch properly after each run (see the pinned posts for the NHS Choices guides to how to run and stretch correctly); do quad strengthening exercises to protect your knees; and, if you're a lady, get the best sports bra you can afford. :)


Ah yes. my apologies. You should most definitely invest in a quality sports bra (so I've been told)!


Whoops just misread this one skipped straight from protect your knees to best sports bra you can afford 😂😂


Haha They're big, OldPossum but not that big! :D


Mine either now but might have been touch and go at the start 🙃 Gave me a giggle reading it though.


Good tips - I especially wanted to agree about the tough runs! These are definately the runs that make you a runner!

1 like

Tiz a very good list. I would like to add - don't ignore your rest days no matter how good you feel about going out the next day.


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