Top tips for beginners, intermediate, and experienced runners

A runner runs past the camera. He is wearing a baseball cap and is focused on the finish line

Posted on: 19 Jan 2024

Whether you are lacing up your shoes for the first time or preparing for your first marathon, getting ready to take on a running challenge can both be exciting and daunting.

We’ve put together this handy guide for everyone who is embarking on their running journey, whether that’s taking on the 5K at the Robin Run Fun Day, committing to a longer challenge at the Robin Hood Half Marathon, or if you have been lucky enough to gain a place in this year’s ballot for the London Marathon.

The Robin mascot runs alongside children at a school as party of the Robin Run campaign

Tip #1 Start from the beginning

For those who may be taking on one of the beginner challenges, working your way up is the best way to start on your running journey.

  • Invest in good footwear: A good pair of trainers can make a world of difference and can save you from injury.
  • Set realistic goals: If you have never run before, start by setting realistic goals and expectations. These can be setting a specific time or distance that you will run for. By gradually building up, you’ll help increase your stamina, meaning you can run for longer without losing your breath.
  • Listen to your body: When you start running for the first time, pay attention to how your body responds. It could ache to begin with so ensure you have rest days in between runs to allow your muscles to relax, and make sure you stretch before and after each run.
  • Consistency is key: Setting up a regular running schedule that fits around your weekly commitments will help you build a sustainable habit and reach your goal.

Tip #2 Time to build up your strength

Now you have the basics, the next step is focusing on endurance and speed. These tips are great for intermediate runners so those who are looking at taking on the Robin Hood Half Marathon!

  • It’s time to add intervals: Now you are feeling a bit more confident, mix up your routine and introduce higher intensity and recovery periods. This will help build stamina and speed.
  • Build your strength: Strength training, such as squats and lunges as well as free weights, can help enhance muscle endurance and reduce your muscle fatigue over longer distances.
  • Do other exercises: Activities like cycling or swimming can help support your running and increase muscle endurance and reduce the risk of injuries.
You can find a full 12-week training plan on the Bupa website to get you ready for your Half Marathon.
Two runners stand with their arms around each other. They are ready to compete

Tip #3 Take on your first marathon

For those who are planning on taking on a longer distance like the London Marathon, there are a different set of training considerations to take into account.

  • Follow a good marathon training plan: Running a marathon is one of the most physically demanding challenges available, so it’s important that you’ve got a good training plan in place which will help you gradually increase your mileage and incorporate rest days.
  • Fuel your body: When training for a marathon, it’s important that you follow a good nutrition plan that helps you refuel your body and support your muscles. Consider consulting with a nutritionist.
  • Hydrate:
    Staying hydrated is crucial, especially when running the 26.2-mile distance. It’s important that you develop a hydration plan that works for you.
  • Avoid the wall: Runners who run a marathon tend to hit a wall but there are practices you can do to help you overcome these issues. Practice visualisation and mindfulness and remember how by signing up to raise money for Nottingham Hospitals Charity, you’ll be making a difference with every step you take.
No matter whether you are starting your running or a seasoned marathon runner looking for a new challenge, the key is to find a balance that works for you. When you raise money for Nottingham hospitals, every stride makes a difference. Your incredible fundraising, no matter if it’s big or small, will go on to help fund state-of-the-art equipment, life-changing research, new building developments and refurbishments, and those small meaningful projects which all make a huge difference to patients and families at Nottingham hospitals.

If you would like to take part in your own running challenge, let us know so we can help support you every step of the way. Not sure where to start? Sign up to one of our organised runs – there are lots of options depending on your running experience!

Take a look at our Running Events

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