How to Prevent Injuries As A New Runner

August 13, 2015
Starting a couch to 5k plan, or starting out as a new runner? If you've signed up for your first race, or just want to get in shape, here's our tips to help you prevent running injuries
Running stories are the most unique of their kind. There was a certain point in my twenties when I noticed more and more of my friends were hopping onto the running bandwagon. And not just for fun, 5ks turned into 10ks and 10ks turned into half marathons and before I knew it everyone on my Facebook feed was running 26.2 miles all before I finished my waffles at brunch. It was appealing. No expensive memberships, no crazy equipment, just you, sneakers and a tiny bit of motivation. However, as with anything, I threw myself in all too quickly and ended up with a sprained ankle and a pulled quad. No bueno.
After six (SIX!) months of recovery, I decided to rekindle my steamy romance with the pavement, but the right way. Here are the methods I followed to make sure I didn’t get sidelined again. Although I’m not a certified fitness trainer, these are the best tips I’ve picked up along the way in my four years as a ‘serious’ runner, averaging between 10-20 miles a week. Make sure to speak to a healthcare professional before beginning any new workouts!
Here are my favorite tips for newbie runners to prevent injuries when training for a race or starting a new run routine to get in shape:

Foam Roll

My one true love came to me in the form of an over-sized lime green tube. A friend suggested I pick up a foam roller after I began complaining about my tight hamstrings and sore calves. Look up simple foam rolling exercises on YouTube or Pinterest to perform both before and after your runs to ease muscle tension and help eliminate soreness.

Change It Up

As with any workout program, it pays to vary your structure. I try to alter my runs by pace, distance and incline. It’s easiest for to me to fit in a couple speedy miles during the week when my schedule is limited and then use Sunday mornings to go for a slow and steady long distance. Hills are a great option if you want to get your heart moving in as little time as possible. Simply run up and walk back down the hill of your choice, repeat five times and try to beat your previous hill time after each uphill run.

Join A Run Club

Run clubs are an excellent way to learn from veteran runners. While they are often lead by a trained instructor, this is a great time to ask questions and learn other’s tricks for running safely and effectively. Many of the simple changes I’ve made (such as not running with my hands in a fist but open as if each one is holding an egg to reserve energy), I’ve learned when running with others.

It’s All About Dem Shoes

Having shoes that fit correctly changed everything for me, along with sticking to their lifespan. Depending on your mileage, shoes can last a few months to a year. Visit a store that allows you to run in front of an expert who can check your running style and foot composite to find the sneaker of your dreams. Remember, it’s best to spend a little extra on a shoe and a lot less on doctors appointments needed to fix preventable running injuries.

Cross Train

To build strong muscles that will carry you through any type of race, find cross training activities that support your strength. My favorite cross-training work outs are lifting weights (squats are a girl’s best friend) and yoga!

Rest Days

Really. If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a million times. Take a day off each week from running. While I’m a big advocate for low impact rest days, such as taking a long walk or hike instead of a time-intensive run, listen to your body. Some days the only workout I get is lifting my fork to my mouth to carb load. And that is simply perfect.


How do you like to recover from a run? I’m a big fan of yoga for athletes. I find that yoga classes tailored to runners offer great hamstring and quad stretches that I don’t always get in my usual vinyasa flow!


 Stay up to date on Juliette’s adventures by following her on Instagram –julietteelise & twitter @JulietteElise_ !
2 comments so far.

2 responses to “How to Prevent Injuries As A New Runner”

  1. I’m just a fan of getting moving again. I don’t get super sore very often, but when I do, even though it’s really tempting to just sit around, I always feel better when I get on a bike, go for a short slow run, or do a little bit of yoga to ease up on some of the soreness!

    • Juliette Kopp says:

      Awesome suggestion! I agree, I think we often forget how much a good a simple walk can heal, body & mind.


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