5 Tips for Beginner Runners

Spirit Run Club has returned (check out our Facebook page for details) for a 3rd year! In our first year we trained from mid-July to October for the Solas Centre’s 10 mile Run for Life. Last year we started earlier in mid-April to train for the Waterford Viking Quarter Marathon (6.5 miles) and continued training for the Run for Life. This year we hope to continue the same as last year BUT incorporate more races, more runners and hopefully have more fun along the way!

If you’ve just decided to start jogging or running I have compiled this list of tips that will hopefully make the transition from couch potato to road runner that little bit easier.

  1. Join a running club/group

OK so maybe I’m biased here but it’s still a valid point. I’ve tried and failed personally to train for a marathon alone, but I did it with a friend and ran the Munich Marathon after 8 months training. More on my experience of that here: The Munich Marathon. You’re held accountable to train by each other, you keep each other company, drive each other on when the going gets tough and having a chat on the run is a good way to take your mind off the pain in your lungs and burn in your thighs!

Myself and Shane in Munich’s Olympiastadion. Wrecked!!
  1. Invest in new trainers

You don’t HAVE to get new trainers when you start out running but call in to your local sports shop to ensure the type you have are suited to your stride and foot shape. All Spirit Run Club members will receive a 10% discount card for Alfie Hales, in Arundel Square when registered (nice!). The staff in Alfies also perform a Gait Analysis (record you running on a treadmill to analyse how you run) in store to help with shoe choice. Just remember to call in advance to book. We will have back in Spirit for all run club members later in the spring to complete Gait Analysis in Spirit so keep an eye on our facebook page.

Solas Selfie
Solas Selfie
  1. Start low and slow

Keep the mileage low and as Paudi always says – “go as slow as you can for as long as you can”. There is no need to head out for 5 miles on your first night and try to run it as fast as you can. Running out of puff after 1 mile and suffering for the remainder is a sure fire way to dent confidence and delay the next run.

Our Run Club is aimed at running the Waterford Quarter Marathon and will include a training program including distance runs, interval training and hill runs to maximise your endurance and stamina.

Newrath Hills
Hill Session on the Newrath Road, torture!
  1. Stick to a plan

Don’t just run the same loop around your house for the next 6 months and expect to see changes in fitness. Changing the distance, pace, incline and even interval style training can help to break through plateaus and are great ways to improve running endurance. Speak to an experienced runner or trainer to design a training plan for you or run with a group (SPIRIT RUNNING CLUB ha!) targeting a local race or event.

Run Club 2015
Spirit Run Club at Waterford Quarter Marathon 2015
  1. Get strong!

Unfortunately, every year we see new club members suffer injuries that could have been prevented with adequate strength training. Knee pain, low back pain and shoulder pain can all occur if your body doesn’t have the adequate strength to maintain correct posture during a long run.

If you have any weak links – running will bring them to the surface. Shin splints are a regular complaint but adequate treatment and pre-hab can put that at bay within a week or two.

Mark Deadlift

P.S. Don’t join Run Club to “lose weight”. Yes it will happen at the beginning as your body adapts to the exercise BUT it’s not a sustainable or economic way to keep it off long term.

Do it to get fit.

Do it to have fun.

Do it to achieve a distance.

Do it for the challenge.

Most importantly….DO IT!


By Mark Caulfield

For more of Mark’s blog posts check out his personal blog at