4 {More} New Runner Questions Answered | The Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans LLC


A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about some of the questions I had as a newbie runner. I actually had many more – as some of you do, I’m sure. So in case you missed the last blog, check it out, and I wanted to discuss other questions that new runners may have.

4 {More} New Runner Questions Answered:

1. Should I follow a training plan?

For new runners hoping to run a 5k in the future or for those in the Sisterhood who want some accountability, follow a training plan. The Sisterhood, in preparation of our virtual run next month, has a Couch to 5k training plan (also known as C25k) that is very helpful for those just starting to lace up their running shoes.

If you’re an intermediate runner (like myself) and looking to compete in a longer race, follow one of Hal Higdon’s routines. I used his training plans for my half marathons, and they worked very well for me. I will say, though, for a half marathon, the longest run he schedules you to run is 10 miles. After my first half, I added two extra weeks to the training schedule and ran up to 12 miles on my long run. It made the other half marathons much easier.

Also, if you have the time, double that schedule. His half marathon training schedule lasts 12 weeks; if you schedule your race well, you can take your time and get even stronger.

Training plans also allow for accountability, whether you’re training for a race or not. They urge you to push yourself, to go a little further, get a little stronger, and sweat a little more. So, yes, if you’re new to the running game, find a training plan that works for you.

2. What race should I start with? (Or should I even race?)

Races can be super fun. They are competitive, they get you excited about training, and race day itself is filled with other runners just like you. Before the race and after, you get swag (shirts, medals, etc.), you get commemorative pictures taken, and you get to brag to everyone that you ran a race while they slept in that morning. So, yes, races are great.

The downside to races is getting up super early to get to the race site, paying for the race, and did I mention getting up super early?

I jest – in part. Races can get expensive, and that is something to consider. However, look at it like the DietBet – it’s motivation. If you pay $30 or $60 or (heavens forbid) $100 or more for a race, you’re much more likely to train for it than not. Plus, again – races are actually fun! They excite you more than a regular, everyday run.

3. Should I run on the treadmill or the road?

I’m probably one of few runners in the world who actually enjoys running on the treadmill. I love running outside, too, but when it’s too dark to see in front of me or when I have just enough time to squeeze in a 30-minute run while my daughter is napping, the treadmill is my running lifeline.

My short answer to this question? Both! But be prepared that if you are training for a race, it’s hard to switch from treadmill to road running. If you are training for a race and are on the treadmill frequently, bump the incline up to 1.5. That will help you adjust for road and weather conditions on race day.

4. What if my legs hurt?

Suck it up, buttercup. Your muscles will need to stretch, and you will sometimes feel like your legs have turned into Jell-O. That’s normal.

However, I will add that you should NEVER run if you’re injured or sick. Take some time off! Rest! Relax! Recover! Do not run.

On the other hand, if it’s just muscle soreness, I’ve found that, personally, a good stretch, a hot bath and an easy run are good remedies to stretch out those sore muscles. You may have a different remedy; the point, though, is not to quit. You can do this.

Be active. Be healthy. And be an encourager to others.

Do you have any suggestions, advice or tips for new runners? Share your story below!