Participant Updates

Tips for Beginner Runners

With the Women’s Run/Walk Memphis program and the Memphis Runners Road Race series in full swing, we wanted to put together a list of our best tips for beginner (and seasoned!) runners.

1. Before you hit the pavement, invest in the right gear. Proper running shoes, wick-away socks and breathable clothing will make running much more pleasant and may even help prevent injuries and pain.

2. Sign up for a race. Having a goal will help you stay on track with training.

3. Remember there are going to be days when your runs don’t go so well. But a bad run is always better than no run at all.

4. Find a running partner or training group. For those days when you don’t feel like running, it’s great to have someone hold you accountable.

5. Stay hydrated! Drink plenty of water before, during and after your run to make sure you’re properly hydrated.

6. Grab some Body Glide. This will help with blisters and chafing.

7. Keep a training diary to evaluate progress. Keeping a record will help motivate you to stay on top of training.

8. It’s okay to take walk breaks! If you feel like you need a short breather, take a minute and stop.

9. Build rest days into your training. Rest days are just as important as training days.

10. Have fun!

May you run like the wind!



Pacing can be confusing. Sometimes it's difficult to determine if you are going too fast or too slow. Be sure to wear a Garmin if you have one. Look at the pacing times for your group and practice – go out and see what kind of walk/run combination it might take to stay at that pace.

Our coaching goals are to help our women develop or improve an exercise program of walking, walk/running or running, to be safe, have fun, have less injury, and to finish the “Graduation” 5K stronger and healthier than when they started. Injury can prevent this. It’s important to for our participants to take it easy and give their bodies time to adapt.


It is important to slowly build a consistent base of weekly mileage at a slower pace. The BASE increases VO2Max, increases endurance, and improves recovery. Weekly mileage should not increase more than 10% over the previous week’s mileage. Every third week do not increase mileage. Endurance is built on this base; speed work and hill work is done much later to sharpen your skills. It is as important to have a consistent number of days running as it is the mileage. For instance, if you run 2-3-2-3-6 (total mileage 16 miles) do not try to substitute two 8 mile days one week.

~ The first improvement in fitness is Aerobic – lung capacity and blood volume

It is important to maintain hydration during this period as the blood volume increases. It is possible to experience short term ‘runner’s anemia’ as the plasma increases faster than red blood cells.

~ The second improvement in fitness is the Muscular System

The muscles build ATP glycogen & fat (the fueling system) and increasing amounts of muscle mass and Mitochondria at the cellular level (this development is most efficient when muscles are worked at an aerobic – slow – pace). Aerobic, slow easy paces allow this to happen.

~ The last to adapt are Tendons, Bones & Ligaments. It can take as much as 2-6 months for these to strengthen and adapt. This is what will break down and where the injuries will be.

Thus the beginning runner starts to feel good – Aerobic capacity has increased, muscles are stronger so they push the mileage and/or speed, if they feel some little twitches and twinges they ignore them and BOOM – injury.

What does this mean in regard to training WRWM participants?

* You need to be trained where you are now. Not what you did in high school, or five years ago, or pre-pregnancy, and not what you wish you could do without any concrete reasons to believe it’s possible.


It takes a minimum of TEN runs in heat to acclimate. The circulatory system adapts in several ways, doubling the number of sweat glands, sweating will start at a lower temperature, and reducing the number of electrolytes lost in sweat.

What does this mean in regard to training WRWM participants?

* If you have not been out in the heat, walking, jogging, etc., you will need at least TEN workouts during this training time to adapt to the heat. For intermediate and advanced runners this will probably not be an issue. For beginning runners, try to get outdoors even just for a slow walk around the block.


After three days you begin to de-train. Do something that third day, even if you just run one mile, in order to keep the body used to the activity.

Be consistent in your training even if we have to cancel due to heat: do your run early in the morning or later in the evening, or inside if you have access to treadmill or a fitness facility