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Beginning back in the late spring of 2018 when I decided I wanted to run the Chicago Marathon, my very first marathon, I endeavored to learn as much as I could to run safely. I am currently preparing for my second Chicago Marathon in October, but my goal of pain-free training continues. Smart running is not intuitive I will assert. Despite the fact that running is one of the most basic human functions to engage in, it should not be approached without at least a little preparation and planning, especially if one is training for their first marathon at age 54!. Diving straight into running without properly preparing could be a recipe for a serious injury or worse. Torn ligaments, blown-out knees, torn muscles, rolled ankles, and even head trauma from falling down are all risks posed to novice runners that approach the exercise underprepared.

Stretching, warm-ups, hydration, nutrition, and other key tips can ensure that any foray into running is a healthy, productive, and injury-free experience. I am now less than 30 days from my second marathon, yet I can’t help but remember when I started gaining a passion for the sport and still very mindful of some running fundamentals. I, like many, faced several obstacles in getting started, and still take these extra precautions while training for a marathon.


The Top 6 Tips for Beginner Runners

  1. Run While Hydrated – In the build-up to going for a jog or run, a person should aim to properly hydrate themselves. Getting fully hydrated takes up to 48 hours, so be sure to start drinking plenty of fluids at least two days before running.


  1. Learn How to Stretch – Before a person starts running they should learn basic and proper stretching techniques and then implement them before every exercise routine. Stretching before a run can reduce the risk of injury by up to 40 percent or more.


  1. Walk First – Anyone that has been sedentary for a long period of time should not go straight into running. They should walk first for 1-3 weeks every day to properly acclimate the body to the stress of running, which is very strenuous on the muscles and greater cardiovascular system.


  1. Invest in Some Running Shoes – Running shoes are slightly overrated with the exception of one key component. Typically any running shoe will get the job done, however, ankle and foot support is very important. Without proper support, the chances of injury are far greater.


  1. Find a Safe Place – New runners are much more prone to being injured by environmental factors such as cars, bicycles, and pedestrians. Before a person starts running they should pick a safe place to carry out the activity.


  1. Start a Runner’s Log – Before a person starts running they should prepare a runner’s log in order to chart their progress. Making runner’s gains is important and it requires a person to push themselves a little harder each and every time they exercise.


Running is a fantastic way to get into better shape and get as physically healthy as possible. There are innumerable other benefits to running as well, but it should be undertaken carefully and purposefully. Smart running is the best running.