The starting line: Running tips for beginners

The starting line: Running tips for beginners

Written by

Yeesha Prakash

Running is more than just putting one foot in front of the other; it's a journey of self-discovery, endurance, and empowerment. From the brisk morning jogs of beginners to the breathtaking feats of elite athletes, the running community thrives on a shared passion for pushing boundaries and surpassing limitations.

Few activities can match the simplicity and universality of running. It's a sport that requires no fancy equipment, no extravagant playgrounds, just a pair of sturdy, reliable shoes and the open road ahead.

For many, this long but joyful journey starts humbly, often as a hobby. The initial strides may feel unfamiliar, and the road ahead may seem long and daunting. But with each passing day, and with consistent baby steps, beginners become regulars, and regulars become enthusiasts - the transformative power of running begins to reveal itself. It instils not just physical strength but mental endurance, teaching valuable lessons about perseverance, consistency and fortitude.

Whether one runs for leisure, competition, or the sheer joy of movement, most runners have a strong community that transcends differences, backs them up and shows up for them in more ways than one!

We had the pleasure of speaking with some established runners in our community to share some tips for beginner runners.

Nivedita Samanta

Running & Performance Coach - FitRabbits & Adidas Runners India

running coach

Nivedita is a 10x marathoner, the Performance Coach for Adidas Runners in India & part of the global Adidas Runners women’s squad. A certified Marathon Running Coach, and an EXOS Performance Specialist, she started her coaching venture - FitRabbits in 2017 to inspire others to discover their fittest self.

She believes that understanding the uniqueness and needs of each body, especially considering hormonal cycles for women, is a pivotal aspect of one’s running journey. She encourages setting long-term goals, while breaking them down into achievable monthly and three-month milestones. “For specific aspirations, seeking professional guidance ensures a focused and effective approach to success.”

“For beginners embarking on their running journey, I recommend a well-structured and realistic plan. Allocating three days a week for 30-45 minutes of jogging and walking, with thoughtful breaks incorporated, lays the foundation for steady progress. Dynamic warm-ups and cool-downs on running days, along with 2 days of strength training play a crucial part in building strength and ensuring injury prevention. Striking a balance between joy and challenge is essential.”

Beyond the physical aspects, Nivedita underscores the significance of mental well-being. She encourages runners to embrace a wholesome approach, nurturing a positive mindset throughout their journey. As a final ingredient for peak performance, Nivedita shares insights on diet, emphasising the importance of protein intake. “A balanced calorie intake split in a 45:35:20 ratio of protein:carbs:fats works well for me. Having protein-rich options like moong salads, cheela, plant protein or whey supplements spread throughout the day, aids in recovery, strength building, and weight management. Of course, everyone’s needs are different, so figure out what works best for you, and seek professional advice whenever needed!”, says Nivedita.

Ingit Anand

Ultraman Australia Finisher & Ironman Certified Coach

Running coach

In 2011, Ingit began his running journey with occasional Sunday runs, covering 10 to 15 kilometres. Inspired by Milind Soman's epic Mumbai to Delhi run, he tackled his first long run of 16 kilometres, a rewarding yet challenging experience. Ingit's background in strength training since 2001 contributed to his ability to take on the distance.

In 2016, he embraced structured training with a coach, witnessing significant improvements in his performance. Transitioning to triathlon training, Ingit now runs three days a week, finding running to be an incredible and rewarding form of exercise that invigorates both body and mind.

He’s a 6 times Ironman finisher, and became the first person from Gujarat to finish Ultraman, and the fastest Indian in Ultraman Australia, 2023!

Ingit's first tip is to embrace the journey with patience and progression. He suggests starting slow, incorporating walking, and gradually transitioning into jogging before moving on to running. “Begin with smaller distances like 3k, 5k, 7k, and steadily increase from there. By taking measured steps, runners can build a solid foundation for their athletic pursuits.”

He emphasises the significance of a coach in the pursuit of running excellence. “Working with a coach provides accountability and structure while ensuring efficient progress and injury prevention. Incorporate strength and core training in your routine - this aids the body's ability to handle the sports’ demands and intensity. A well-fueled body performs optimally, so make sure you’re eating wholesome meals and having enough protein; never compromise on sleep!”

Additionally, he underscores the paramount role of sleep in the recovery and growth process, leaving no room for compromise.

Beyond the physical gains, Ingit speaks about the intangible blessings that running offers. First and foremost, it cultivates a sense of belonging in a vibrant community of active and motivated individuals. Endurance sports, according to Ingit, have given him lifelong friendships, making the journey even more fulfilling. Moreover, running is the perfect escape from the distractions of daily life, granting precious moments of solitude and connection with nature. Every step taken becomes a meditative movement, synchronising breath with the beauty of the surroundings.

TimTim Sharma

Competitive Triathlete and Coach

Professional triathlete

TimTim, a Brooks India Athlete , is a competitive triathlete, cyclist, runner and a coach who began her fitness journey with running. She fell in love with the sport over 10 years ago and never looked back! She has been consistently improving and clocking PBs through her training regime. She hit her personal best in all distances over the last year of racing clocking.

  • 1. 00:43:45 at the TCS World 10k 2023, Bangalore
  • 2. 1:35:55 at the Ranchi Half Marathon 2023
  • 3. 3:19: 50 at the New Delhi Marathon 2023.

She participated in and won 2 Trail ultramarathons in 2022, and is currently India’s fastest female Ironman 70.3 finisher ( 2022; 5:23) She will be racing the Ironman 70.3 Goa and focussing on improving her skills in cycling this year. Her weekly training plan now includes 3 sessions of running (50-55 Kms) , 4 cycling sessions (350-450 Km), 3 swimming (3-5 Km), 3 strength and conditioning sessions, and 2 yoga sessions.

“Patience is key for building endurance and stamina. Any endurance sport requires consistent effort and dedication to the process. Get out, walk and spend time on your feet - this forms a solid foundation for stamina development. Pro-tip: The right equipment and attire help you stay motivated!”, she says.

TimTim highlights the importance of adopting a long-term perspective when approaching any sport. “Training must be seen as an integral part of one's lifestyle, making it easier to maintain and explore different intensities to enhance stamina and endurance," she says. Recognising that everyone starts from somewhere, TimTim reflects on her own journey, acknowledging the transformative progress over the past seven years.

“Diet plays a pivotal role in training, and understanding macros is crucial. Tailoring the diet to specific goals, such as focusing on energy intake during race weeks and prioritising recovery post-run, optimises performance.” TimTim underscores the significance of understanding one's body and biomechanics, and fueling it appropriately to perform at its best during pre, during, and post-workout periods.

For TimTim, her running journey has instilled discipline and focus, efficient time management and meticulous planning to achieve peak performance and reach targeted goals. The sport has enriched her life with invaluable attributes that extend beyond physical prowess.

Amna Ahmed

Women’s captain, Adidas runners Delhi


Amna is a passionate runner and women's captain of adidas runners delhi. Her running journey began in 2017 as an exercise routine to address weight gain and borderline diabetes. “It has been an incredible experience of self-improvement, boosted self-esteem, and a healthier lifestyle. Running has changed my life for the better!”, says Amna.

“I am a part of the Adidas runners and needless to say I owe everything to this community! Running with a community has its advantages - it has taught me so much, not only about running but about being a better human being! I made friends like family for a lifetime. We support each other in our wins and losses and encourage each other in our respective goals.”

She says running can be seen as a challenge once you start. But step by step, you can get wherever you want to be. It's all about training your mind! She firmly believes that Impossible is nothing!

“For beginners, I have some tips to kickstart their running journey. Join a running group for safety and learning experiences. Find safe routes with minimal traffic and proper lighting. Start with a run/walk plan to gradually build endurance and pace. Rest and listen to your body; recovery is crucial. Stay hydrated, wear comfortable attire, and invest in good running shoes and a sports bra for ladies.”

Reeti Sahai

Entrepreneur, Marathoner, Dog mom

professional runner

Reeti started running 13 years ago. Her father, who was in the army, helped her build a routine. Once she started working, she couldn’t dedicate much time to fitness, until one day when she decided to wear a pair of running shoes to work, ran 500m, felt great and never looked back!

Today she has a community of 250 runners - folks at all fitness levels, who back each other up in more ways than one. They do 5 sessions a week - including running, strength training, yoga, game nights and lots of fun things together!

When it comes to stamina and endurance building, Reeti believes in taking baby, consistent steps. “Anyone can run, and everyone has a unique journey. Running is you vs you, not you vs others. The community you build while pursuing this sport will always support you! Running has a process to it and the small steps you take have the power to transform your life. So, figure out a plan that works for you, and show up for yourself consistently! ”

“Cross-training helps strength building; Running is a high-impact sport, which makes strengthening the muscles absolutely essential. When it comes to diet, ensuring you get enough protein is essential. When I train, I prefer having Näck’s Plant Protein - it doesn't spoil my gut, and I love it! Love that it's unflavoured - I have 2 scoops per day for a month. And then take a break for some time. I can see that it helps repair muscles, and I always recommend it to my community!”

Sagar Sonawane

Mountain athlete and Trail Runner

professional cyclist

As a seasoned trail runner, Sagar shares dynamic tips to elevate trail running practice. Emphasising technical finesse, Sagar advises against uphill slogs, opting for smaller strides to conserve energy while harnessing gravity for downhill momentum. Strengthening ankles and knees through plyometric exercises after an ultra run, along with maintaining agility, form the foundation of his success.

For trail running novices, Sagar champions a well-structured approach. “Limit runs to three days per week, dedicate time to calisthenics for fortified joints, and allow yourself a day of rest to optimise performance. Nourishment plays a pivotal role - I recommend a carb-heavy diet 8-10 days before any big runs for peak endurance, and plant-based protein post-run for seamless recovery and sustained stamina! Make sure you’re well hydrated before and during the run!”

Above all, trail running helped Sagar navigate moments of self-doubt during his runs, unlocking an unwavering spirit that shatters limits and enables achievement. In Sagar’s experience, trail running helps you embrace challenges -a lesson you take to life outside of this wonderful sport too!

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