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5 Tips For New Runners (From An Old One!)

by Nellie

Today you guys have a super special treat! Allie from VITAtrain4life.com is my sissy from another missy AND she is an incredible athlete! Her story inspires me to run forever. Today she is sharing some critically important tips for new runners.  🙂 Enjoy.

5 Tips For New Runners (From An Old One!)

From mental toughness to running apparel, here are 5 Critical tips for new runners to make sure your running career gets off to a FAST start!

Yes, I’m old…in more ways then one. I’m ‘old’ to running, as I started way back in 2000, after a break-up from a boyfriend I was with for two years. I had also just moved back to the East Coast after living in glorious Santa Monica, CA for three years post-college. I needed to run – – from the break-up and from the depression of moving from sunny Cali to freezing cold and dreary Connecticut in the middle of winter.

I started out simply running around my three-mile block, with my dog, every morning. Over time I grew to absolutely love it and started adding on mileage and eventually, started racing.

Fast-forward 14 years and, as I face turning 40, I’m still running. As an ‘old’ runner, turning 40 brings a lot of good. I’m still racing PR (personal best) times, winning my age group (I can’t wait to age up!) and occasionally winning the race outright. One of the many great things about running is that you can start at any age and you only get better with time.

I’ve made a ton of mistakes in all my years of running. If I could Turn Back Time Cher style, these are the five things I would want my 26 year-old self to know about running:

5 Tips For New Runners

  1. It’s All About The Shoes: Truer words were never spoken. DO NOT buy running shoes based on color, style, or what your bestie is wearing. Save that for the adorable flats or wedges you want to sport to your favorite restaurant after your five-miler. The best running shoes for you are the ones at the specialty running store where you will go to be fitted for the proper shoes! They do not cost more there and, they will certainly cost less then the money you will need for physical therapy and/or surgery if you have the wrong shoes and run for miles in them.


Find your local running specialty store, go there and get fitted for the right shoes. If you’re already running in a pair, bring them with you so they can see how your tread is wearing, etc. They should put you on a treadmill and videotape you running, so they can see what kind of gait you have and therefore, what shoe you need. Most stores will also let you try on several pair and take them for a short test run. It’s like being the Cinderella of running. Own it.


  1. What Not To Wear: Most newbie runners struggle with wearing the “right” outfit for a given run. A good rule of thumb is to dress 10 degrees warmer then the outside temperature. Your body will heat up quickly on a run, and you do not want to overdress for that occasion. If it’s 60 degrees out – – dress as if it’s 70.  You should feel a little cool if not cold when you step outside. By mile one, you will be happy and thanking me in your head. Still confused? Try this great tool by the geniuses at Runner’s World. It’s called “What To Wear” and, by inputting the outside temp and your personal preferences, it will tell you exactly how to dress. It even accounts for wind.


  1. You Are What You Think: In running, your mental game is everything. If you think you can, you will. Guess what happens when your thoughts go the other way? Right. Stay positive on the run and try to make all your self-talk encouraging. A lot of runners use what are called “mantras,” and they are simply key phrases or words you repeat to yourself over and over when things get tough. Some people use “hills make me stronger” to get up a tough one. One of my personal favorites is “set your pace, run your race” which helps me not to go out too fast at the start of a race, and to keep my mind on what I’m running and not the girl who is passing me. Practice talking to yourself (preferably not out loud – save your oxygen!) on a run and find a mantra that works for you.


  1. Chafing Is the Devil: What is chafing you ask? Oh it’s just when your skin rubs together (sometimes in very sensitive areas!) for too long, say on a nice long run on a summer day, and literally wears the skin away creating a burn. It’s particularly awesome when you don’t know it’s there until water from the shower hits it. Not fun. To prevent chafing, there are all kinds of produtcs, the most popular of which is probably Glide. You can get it at any sports store and a lot of drug stores. If you don’t have Glide, no worries. Any Vaseline type product will do and I’m a big fan of Aquaphor.

The top four chafing spots are: Underneath your sports bra (even for me and I have no boobs!), between your legs where your shorts rub, that area just behind your armpits and anywhere there are seams on your clothing. Try, at all times, to by seamless running gear!


  1. You Don’t Have To Run the Whole Time: Read that again. Got it? Don’t think you have to go out for a run and run every step. Jeff Galloway, running legend, has built his entire career around the run/walk method. When I first started out I used to trick myself by saying “I’m just going to run to that mailbox and then stop.” Of course, I wouldn’t stop but it definitely helps to keep pushing though if you keep telling yourself you only have to run a little more. Giving yourself small, attainable goals will help you run over the long haul. And, if you need to run/walk – do it. Repeat it as many times as you need to and pretty soon, you may find yourself not walking at all. Or, you may find that the run/walk suits you and you do it on every training run and every race. Either way you are a RUNNER!

From mental toughness to running apparel, here are 5 Critical tips for new runners to make sure your running career gets off to a FAST start!

Now close your computer, put on the right shoes, dress yourself properly, tell yourself you’re a running superstar, apply your glide and run and/or walk your way through the best part of your day!


Allie is a sweat addict and gets her fix through running for Team Oiselle, cycling and chasing after her five year-old twin boys.  On any given day you can find her racing, freelance writing, reading, dreaming about yoga and coming to terms with being a stay-at-home mom.  Allie’s blog VITA – Train for Life is all about hard work and motivation with a healthy kick of snark and hilarity.  Allie currently teaches two weekly fitness classes near her home in the Northeast where she and her husband like to live it up big!

You can find Allie on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Google Plus

 What did you think about these tips? Do you take special care when choosing workout gear? For my runner and non runners, did you learn something new?

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Kristina Walters August 29, 2014 - 5:42 am

Yeah Allie! Great advice for this “old” runner too! Awesome post!

5 Tips For New Runners (From An Old One!) » VitaTrain4Life August 29, 2014 - 5:48 am

[…] excited to be passing on some of that knowledge (with none of the agony of the mistakes!) at Nellie’s place today! As you may know, this Brooklyn Active Mama has recently begun her love affair with running […]

Allie August 29, 2014 - 5:52 am

This is CRAZY! I think you had such a great line-up of guests all week, and I’m just so happy to be a part of it! I hope this helps your readers, and I hope you and Mickey are running all over Disney!! xoxoxo

Angela August 29, 2014 - 6:10 am

Allie is so great! And I most definitely whole hearted agree. Chafing is the devil. That moment when it hits you in the shower. Yowza!!!!

Tina Muir August 29, 2014 - 7:04 am

Love this! You have a great person to listen to here. Allie knows her stuff, and this is a great article for beginners. I would have struggled to think of these, because I have become so used to running so much every day, but Allie did a wonderful job here! I can only emphasize the mental side, even as you become more weathered to running, and you get better at it, the pain is still the same, you will always have to battle it 🙂 So be ready, and you will continue to make yourself proud!

Janine Huldie August 29, 2014 - 7:30 am

Ok, Allie, I have made it no secret I am so not a runner here, but you definitely make it sound pretty simple with your tips and seriously I am in awe with you and how hard you totally work to have gotten to where you have gotten. Definitely my hero with this and so much more!! 🙂

jill conyers August 29, 2014 - 7:55 am

Great tips as I expected! I’m very particular about my gear. Comfort is key!

LaShawn August 29, 2014 - 9:59 am

Great advice! i just got first hand experience with Chafing this week so I needed that bit of advice! LOL

misszippy August 29, 2014 - 10:08 am

Allie knows her stuff! I think the dressing thing is so key. I learned over the years that less is more (for me) when it comes to how I dress for the temps. Nothing worse than overheating, IMHO!

Good luck with your running journey, Nellie!

Tamara August 29, 2014 - 10:54 am

I know it’s not about me.. but you sure picked some great guest posters this week! My favorites!
Chafing does seem like a nightmare here. And I always suspected it was so much about the shoes.
How to dress for running seems like something people don’t do as well as they could – resulting in getting cold or overheating easily.

Sharon, The Mayor August 29, 2014 - 2:49 pm

There are some great tips. I am always guilty of wearing the wrong shirt and paying for it later. I will spend cash on good shoes but forget a good shirt makes the difference.

Bacitracin/Neosporin also works great on skin burns.

Kim August 29, 2014 - 4:11 pm

Love Allie!!!
I have to say that in all my years of running the only time I ever had chafing issues was the first time I ran on the beach in Hawaii and thought it would be cool to run through the water. The combo of the waves splashing my legs and shorts did not make for a good run and every run the rest of the week was rough!!!

Leah August 30, 2014 - 12:16 am

Love number 5; it’s so true!!! If you accept that then you are never down on yourself and you often just keep going! 6 months after my hubby’s heart attack, he finally got the ok to start a bit of running mixed in with walking – but he has had tremendous results with walking alone! So it’s all good!

Leslie August 30, 2014 - 8:29 am

Allie is definitely a fantastic source for fitness tips. I must admit that getting fit for running shoes gives me a little bit of heartburn. We rarely walk out of the store for less than $100 per pair. And I totally agree that it’s a huge mental game. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to keep that positive attitude just to make it through a run.

Elle August 31, 2014 - 3:51 pm

Like you when you started, I have begun running around the block with my dog.

I’m so glad that I came across this because I’ve been guilty of #1 already!

Michelle August 31, 2014 - 6:30 pm

I love these tips!! I always choose my running shoes based on the right fit and how light they are. I love lightweight shoes, but I am light on my feet when I run, so it works for me. Workout gear…well it has nothing to do with cuteness, that is for sure. I am still wearing stuff I bought 10 years ago. If it starts to look scraggly though, I give it the heave ho. And I have no problems with walking. There’s an 8 mile race I run every summer that is super hilly. I walk partway up the last hill every time. 🙂

Britt September 2, 2014 - 11:47 am

Great tips Allie! I love the last one about run/walking. I think sometimes people get into the mindset of run all the way or nothing. I also like your tip about dressing 10 degrees warmer. I never know what to wear when it is chilly out!

Carly September 3, 2014 - 6:45 pm

Yes, yes, yes! to all these tips! Oh, the chafing. And yes, it is SO awful when you don’t realize you’re chafed and then the shower water hits it, holy ouch.

Carla September 6, 2014 - 2:27 pm

Great tips! I just got fitted and we did all of those things. I was so happy! I never wear shorts to run. I don’t care how hot it is, I’ve tried multiple times and I just don’t like shorts for running. I would like some good top recommendations, please. 🙂


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