Helping a New Runner to Stick With It

As the weather gets warmer, more and more runners can be seen outside at all hours of the day. Some may have been inside on the treadmill all winter, others haven’t run since last fall. Then there are some that have decided to take up the sport for the first time. 

Outside of my blogging/coaching life I’ve come across many people who try to take up running but just can’t stick with it. As a running community I think it is our job to support them and  help them to find ways to overcome obstacles. I think there is a fine line between providing support and guidance, and being a “know it all” (or at least seeming that way). I think if we are too pushy, it can be intimidating, so it’s important to understand where this new runner is and what they need at the time.  I’m sure we do these things all the time, but a little reminder never hurts, right?

Helping a new runner

Remember what it was like when you were a new runner

We all had to start somewhere! Most of us will remember feeling insecure, unsure of ourselves, and maybe even embarrassed. I also remember feeling really lost and frustrated at times. Show a little empathy by letting a new runner know that it’s totally normal to feel that way and give an example of how it was tough for you in the beginning too!

Remind them of the basics

Some new runners may not know to get fitted for running shoes, or to ease into it slowly, or some basic injury prevention strategies. Try not to overwhelm them, but remember that these little things could make all the difference!


Help them to problem-solve

Many new runners struggle with finding  the time to fit it in their run. Rather than allowing that to prevent them from running, try to help them find a time that they will be able to fit it in. Remind them that even if they miss a few days, it’s better to just pick up where they left off rather than give up altogether! Many runners train well off just 3 days a week of running. 

Point them in the direction of credible resources

This could be a reputable running coach, a local running store, running group, blogs, or other websites. It can be really overwhelming to google something about running if you don’t know where to look for answers!

Offer to help

Maybe you could go for a run with them once a week or sign up for the same race. Even before I was a certified coach I made training plans for friends and family who wanted to run a race. I’m sure most seasoned runners could come up with a basic training plan- if not, you could always send them a link to a free online plan. Even just checking in every few weeks to see how their running is progressing can go a long way.

baltimore half

What do you think was the hardest part about being a new runner?

Did you have someone to help you out when you started running?

What else would you add to this?


I’ll be joining Running on HappySuzlyfeCrazy Running Girl, and Coach Debbie Runs for the Coach’s Corner Link-up tomorrow!



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31 thoughts on “Helping a New Runner to Stick With It

  1. I totally agree with all of it. I think a big part is being there with them. One of the best things as a new runner was knowing I would run with two friends once each week. It kept me trucking along when I ran alone. I ran along with a friend last summer as she started running. I think it was helpful for her and it felt good to help her on her journey!
    Sam @ See Sam Run recently posted…The Incredible Virtual RunMy Profile

  2. I think having a training plan was the most useful tool I had when I started running. I used Couch to 5K and knowing exactly what I needed to do each day/week kept me accountable and on track. If I had just tried to “go running” each day and left the details up to me I’m sure I would have ended up skipping a bunch of days and then just giving up on it.

    Even today a training plan is probably my most useful tool! What can I say, I love structure! But I think most people in the running community do! :)
    Kristina recently posted…Dream Big!My Profile

  3. Great tips—I think experienced runners can forget what it’s like starting off. I think with new runners also it’s helpful to get them to focus on their own accomplishments rather than comparing to someone else—which actually applies to any level of runner! When I started running I did 3 miles 3 times a week on the treadmill. I’ve always liked routine!
    Laura @ This Runner’s Recipes recently posted…Running Between Races: Stay Fit without Burning OutMy Profile

  4. Great list! I think the two most common things that come up with new runners are injuries and nutrition. They are usually all gung-ho and end up doing too much too soon and get shin splints or knee pain, and if not, then they’re frustrated that they’ve put on a couple of pounds instead of losing it like they thought they would! Helping them push through those issues with big-picture perspective is helpful!
    Suzy recently posted…Woozy Wednesday: I’m WoozyMy Profile

  5. I think pointing people to resources other than you is helpful, because I know I personally can sound like a broken record on some running related topics and it’s like parents and kids – hearing the same thing from someone else can be effective!

    • I tried a few times to get my husband to run when we first starting dating in 2005. He told me I would “never” get him to run. Well, a few years later he took it up on his own and now he runs marathons! He said he realized it was a cheap way to get in shape that didnt require going to the gym, and when he saw me doing it every day eventually one day he was like “I think I’m gonna come with you”. I was shocked, but he really just had to decide for himself that he wanted to try it!

  6. Hi Lisa,
    I enjoyed this post. Thanks for sharing!
    The hardest part of being a new runner is learning to keep going and build up your cardio endurance. I used to feel really lame if I took breaks while getting in shape.
    Emma @myfullfatlife recently posted…Plans changeMy Profile

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