Help! I am new to running and I don’t know where to start!

As someone who picked up running later in life, it took a long time for me to understand that if you run, you’re a runner. When I trained for my first half marathon, I not only had no idea how long a half marathon was, I also had no resources but things I sought out myself. I poured every ounce of time I could into learning anything that would help me get to the finish line! There’s no real guidebook of “running for dummies”, but these tips and resources really helped to give me a strong foundation for my running knowledge.

If you’re new to running and are looking to find resources and tips to be part of the crazy community of people who wake up early on the weekends and use words like “taper and fartlek”, then you’re in the right place! I found these to be great ways to find my love and groove as a runner.

1. Immerse yourself in the running community!

My local community has multiple running stores with group runs and knowledgeable staff. Patrons and staff of these stores are great resources for information! They will know things like local events, shoe fittings, and recommendations on fueling and clothing for your events! Once I started regularly visiting my local running store, I felt comfortable asking the staff questions for help picking out fuel, hydration, and attire for the races I had on the roster, which made me more confident as time went on. I learned about different races and events in my community and started to meet other people who loved to run and were always willing to share their knowledge with me.

2. Ask the pros, and if you don’t know any in person, there are tons of great ones on social media!

There are tons of people out there who have experience to share! Before I started working with a running coach, I spent lots of time sending messages to different runners I followed on Facebook or Instagram. If they were posting about something or training for a race and it peaked my curiousity, I asked! People are always happy to help and love giving back the joy of the sport to novice runners.

3. Read, read, read!

I read as many articles as I could online, or checked out books from the library to understand things like fueling, stretching, hydration and training plans. I sought out Pinterest to help me understand foam rolling and good meals for recovery after a long run. There are tons of resources out there on the internet and hard copy books if you just take the time to dive in deep on them.

4. Log your information!

I logged my runs and food when I first started running to understand how my body felt and how to become a better athlete. The best data about your running is your own! We don’t always have a great run, and some days we feel like we could go forever! Logging that information so you can read back on it week to week is extremely helpful to reflect on how you are doing and continually improve.

5. Keep yourself motivated!

One of the hardest things for me when I started running was finding a routine, but putting my runs on the calendar or making dates with friends helped me to stick to a routine. I also checked off the days I went and celebrated staying on my schedule. Life gets in the way sometimes and we miss a day here or there, but staying motivated and accountable is so key. Now you can bet I’m out there like clockwork!

6. Have fun!!

It is so much fun to be out there running if you don’t let yourself stress over times and distances. Yes – those things are important, but there is so much joy in running to explore different trails or events that you wouldn’t otherwise see, or to spruce up your running wardrobe with a new hat, or downloading new music to rock out to. If you’re not having fun, try something new!  

Cheers to all you new runners who are lacing up those shoes for the first time!

Vanessa Wallace

Location: Santa Rosa, California
Running: 13.1

Musical theater performer, wife, and jokester. I started my health and wellness journey at 264.2 pounds and while losing weight, found a love of running along the way. I take extreme pride in setting goals and achieving them, and celebrating my body through every shape and size in life. You can usually spot me on the run, taking selfies with cows and singing show tunes while training for my next long distance race. #from264point2to26point2

Vanessa Wallace