Home Fitness Part 2: Running For Beginners – Tips From A Personal Trainer

Part 2: Running For Beginners – Tips From A Personal Trainer

by S1m
West London Personal Training

Part 2 of the fantastic guest fitness guest posts from Kang at West London Personal Training… check out Part 1 here.

If you’ve been reading the Sim’s Life blog, you’ve probably read up on Sim and her quest for fitness. If you wanted to follow her lead but didn’t know where to start, here’s a few questions that I frequently get asked as a personal trainer –

1 – What type of trainers should I wear?

The type of footwear you choose to wear when you first start running is important. Knowing what type of foot you have can help…A simple test using a manila envelope or piece of paper can show you the type of foot you have. Place your feet in some water and shake off the excess, step on the envelope or paper and see what kind of foot print you leave behind.

Which one did you get? Use the guide below to find out what your arch type is…

Most people can come out with a normal arch on the test but tend to over pronate slightly. It’s best to go to a real running shop to get your gait tested.


2 – Should I run outdoors or in the gym?

Pure running enthusiasts tell me running indoors is something like a slow death!
Running on the treadmill has its benefits but is it going to help you in the long run? (No pun intended)

The treadmill is a good piece of kit to use for those with injuries, it softens the impact on your legs as you hit the belt. You also get to watch the TV or perv on other gym users that you’ve got your eye on 😉

However as the treadmill belt is pulling your legs back, you don’t build the proper muscle activation needed to help propel your body forward. You have to push off the ground with your quads and the faster you go the more your hamstrings and glutes (the bum) activates. Running this way helps you learn the proper mechanics of running.

If you’ve never run before, the treadmill helps give you a feel of what it’s like to run, you can adjust your stride length, posture and control your pace/breathing.
I recommend starting on the treadmill but also adding in a few runs outside to condition your legs, you also get to escape the smell of B.O. from the guy who sweats like a beast! (I know you know what I mean)

Eventually as you progress on the treadmill, I recommend running outside and escaping smelly B.O. guy and getting some fresh air. Your legs and lungs will thank you!

3 – How fast should I run?

You can run, jog or even walk. There’s no speed requirement.

Start off by running with the correct running mechanics. The heel to toe foot strike can be quite tough on the legs and you’ll end up with knee or shin pains like me L
The best way to land is on the mid to forefoot, you’ll find you’re able to run faster using this technique, probably get tired faster but the impact will be much less jarring on your legs.

4 – What other exercises can I do to supplement running?

Running every day can be very tiring and overstress your joints. A mixed training plan can help to give your legs a rest.

Use the bike or the x-trainer in the gym. Better yet perform a circuit of exercises, this will get your heart rate up as well as improve your muscular endurance. Try out this little circuit –


I do recommend focusing on exercises that work on hip extension, isolation of the hamstrings and core strength. Below are a few exercises that you can try out –

Hip Raise – This simple exercise works to activate your hamstrings, glutes and strengthen your lower back. Raise the hips and make sure you squeeze the glutes at the top of the movement.

Single Hip Raise – This is a progression of the bilateral hip raise, Using only one leg makes this simple exercise a lot harder.

West London Personal Training


Plank – Make sure there isn’t an arch in your back, brace your stomach and hold for 20 secs or more. Build up your core strength and endurance by adding 5-10 seconds each week. Once you get a comfortable 60 seconds progress onto the exercise below.


Plank with Ball Tuck – This exercise requires you to stabilize a neutral spine, as you straighten out the legs your spine must be straight. As you tuck in your legs, raise your hips so your bum sticks up in the air and straighten them out again. Repeat for up to 12-15 repetitions.


5 – How long will it take to see results?

Fat loss and weight loss is slightly different, identifying which is more important to you will help pin point specific goals. Weight can fluctuate up and down due to what you ate or drank.
Fat loss can only be burnt using the correct type of exercise as well nutrition.

We naturally hold a certain amount of fat on our body and for women even more so. Depending on age, race or lifestyle, fat can be distributed in certain areas around the body. Unfortunately it’s a little difficult to spot reduce but we can do our best to minimize the fat gain through better food choices.

For weight loss the classic running plan will help, as burning more calories than you consume will help manage/reduce your weight. You will see this within the first 2-3 months. There will be some body fat loss also but this will gradually plateau. Our body doesn’t want to let go of fat for fear of starvation and if your training plan doesn’t change or progress the weight loss will slow down.

Muscle is metabolically active, so having lean muscle tissue on your body will help you burn calories/energy while you’re sitting down.
Long distance running without the correct nutrition can burn muscle, which is fine if you want to lose body weight but your metabolism suffers. Your body also stops burning calories when you aren’t doing cardiovascular exercise, but for those who do resistance training it can, depending on the type and intensity, last for up to 24-36 hours after exercise.

Here’s what you should do –

If your goal is weight loss perform cardio endurance exercises at least 3-4 times a week, varying the intensity, type of exercise and duration. Aim for up to 30-60 minutes. If you choose to stick to the same pace or cardiovascular exercise, your endurance and fitness will improve. You may see some changes in body weight and small changes in body fat.

If your goal is fat loss, perform resistance training exercises using the maximum weight you can for 15 repetitions. Try to progress this weight once this becomes easy.
Increase the intensity of the resistance training by adding in exercises that spike your heart rate. Exercises such as jumping jacks, sprinting on the spot, burpees, squat jumps, mountain climbers etc.
This gives you maximal caloric burn during exercise but also elevates your metabolism during the rest of the day.

I recommend at least 3x a week resistance training and you can still add in cardiovascular training either by walking or doing an extra session at the gym. You will see changes in your body fat, skin will be tighter and body shape including posture will improve. For some people your weight may go up slightly as muscle weighs more than fat but you’ll be able to fit into clothes more comfortably.

Body transformation results don’t happen with just training alone, nutrition is an important part of it also…however that’s going to be a whole other post.

Hope this helps give you an idea of how to start your training off, whether you’re running, hitting the gym or cycling it’s just important to make sure you move!

If I’ve managed to confuse you even more you can find me on the social links below and ask away….Good luck! Remember to train hard, eat clean and stay focused!

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Part 1: Running For Beginners - Tips From A Personal Trainer - Sim's Life November 12, 2014 - 12:46 pm

[…] Continuing with my fitness posts, I have the pleasure of introducing Kang, a London based Personal Trainer who has been following my running progress and has some handy tips for anyone starting out with a running programme. This is a two part guest post series. Check out Kang’s tips on how to prepare yourself for running, specially written for Sim’s Life here. […]

Trish November 12, 2014 - 12:58 pm

Very interesting reading both of these posts. I must admit, it was the smell of BO which put me off gyms pretty quickly.
Great tips here about getting the right shoes too.

S1m November 12, 2014 - 2:24 pm

Thanks so much Trish – the posts are great – a big thank you to Kang! Yeah the BO, after a while I clock off from it all as I am pretty sure I contribute to it too! 😉 x

Bury Family Life November 12, 2014 - 5:50 pm

oh my lord, the one with the ball looks like I’d fall on my face. But I like the idea of doing a circuit of exercises,

S1m November 13, 2014 - 11:36 am

I know, it looks a little scary hey?! Good job I do not have a gym ball… except the gym does… damn it!

Pinkoddy November 12, 2014 - 10:32 pm

Thank you for sharing all those great tips. I am glad to see that I can make a difference just walking and I have special moulded souls in my trainers.

S1m November 13, 2014 - 11:31 am

Definitely! Every little bit helps – for me it’s about cancelling out when I put in my mouth and shifting the flab 🙁

May De Jesus-Palacpac November 14, 2014 - 4:07 pm

Aren’t there settings on the treadmill to level up your workout? Although nothing beats running outdoors, I would still think it’s a good alternative for a few fat burn.

S1m November 14, 2014 - 4:19 pm

I guess it depends on what treadmill you are on and how state of the art your gym is!

Franchesca Cruz November 14, 2014 - 4:22 pm

The first part is really important because that can be a big impact with how comfortable you are when training. As a person with a not-so-healthy lifestyle, this made me realize that I really need to start working out. I’ve always wanted to do some running but I’m just really lazy. I hope this will make me finally do it.

Thank you so much for this!

S1m November 16, 2014 - 2:29 pm

I hope it helps Franchesca – it is aimed at beginners so definitely take note of the tips for buying the right trainers, it will help! The Couch to 5K is also a great starting point!

Somer Nelson November 14, 2014 - 6:19 pm

This post just reminded me that I need to get off my ass and go workout. I cant run anymore but I love spin and zumba!

S1m November 16, 2014 - 2:27 pm

Ohhhhh spin classes? I am not jealous in the slightest – I see the classes at my gym and I expect I wouldn’t be able to walk afterwards!

Loudthinkin November 14, 2014 - 6:37 pm

Very informative post.. I am going to do the arch test today itself and find out about the correct pair of shoes for myself.

Amie November 15, 2014 - 1:58 am

I hate running! But your post is quite inspiring ^^ It’s good to mix in other exercises so that it’s not boring… at least to me ;P

S1m November 16, 2014 - 2:27 pm

Exactly! The fact it is quite a boring exercise totally put me off for years, but I am enjoying it! The exercises are great and will really help!

Debarpan November 15, 2014 - 5:16 am

wow!that’s such an amazing post you shared here.I do love exercise and running is one among them…thanks for this.

S1m November 16, 2014 - 2:25 pm

Glad you liked the post – Kang has some awesome tips and am really excited about his New Year post! 🙂

papaleng November 15, 2014 - 6:36 am

Awesome post! You’ve clearly established points for health and running buffs to follow. Great tips specially that deal about what shoes to wear.

S1m November 16, 2014 - 2:24 pm

There are some great tips and exercises – so simple really but they all make such a difference!

Tiffany Yong W.T. (tiffanyyongwt) November 15, 2014 - 6:51 am

The problem with my foot is… one of them is of normal arch, the other is high…. 🙁
Although I know running outdoors is good, somehow, I always get rashes or itch 15 min into the run. Running on a treadmill allow me to at least track the distance etc.

Raymond Vasquez November 15, 2014 - 9:43 am

Seems easy to do, but all factors considered, I am struggling to do any of these regularly. 🙁

I do love running though. But tomorrow I’m scheduled for a tennis game. 🙂

Exercise supplements were interesting, might try one of these days…

Khushboo November 15, 2014 - 11:28 am

I had a great time reading the first part and I must say that the second one is great, too. I am glad to know the approximate time that takes for the results. Otherwise I would have just given up halfway.

gillian November 15, 2014 - 11:30 am

Interesting post! hwill try out the exercise as best as i can to see if they help as well 😀

Franc Ramon November 16, 2014 - 6:00 am

I prefer running on the road because the views are not monotonous. Treadmills would be perfect for speed works and has a much softer impact on the knees.

Louise November 16, 2014 - 7:29 am

Simone, thank you so much for this information and tips! Very helpful as I’ve said in your previous post, I’m really planning to jog/run in my area. 🙂

Fred November 16, 2014 - 3:16 pm

Things like these, we really need a personal trainer to guide us to what we want to achieve and to keep us safe later. Injuries are really a bummer that can sideline you for a long time.

S1m November 16, 2014 - 4:01 pm

I could not agree more! Their knowledge and advice is a godsend! My whole routine has changed after speaking to a PT – if I hadn’t, I would still be doing the same old thing and not actually getting anywhere!

Suzanne Rudge November 16, 2014 - 7:29 pm

These are great tips for new runners here. Someday I would really like to put them to use and become a runner myself..

S1m November 17, 2014 - 11:31 am

You will enjoy it Suzanne! Shocked by how much I do after saying I never would- finding the correct footwear will help!

Rebecca Wong November 17, 2014 - 3:01 am

Thanks for sharing. I’ve tried running in and outside of a gym, and still I’d prefer to go for swimming and ball games like tennis or squash.

S1m November 17, 2014 - 11:30 am

I get too bored very easily with swimming so never enjoy it for what it is. Not tried running outside the gym yet – next year for sure!

phyliciamarie November 17, 2014 - 7:09 am

These are actually pretty useful tips! I wish I read this before I started out. Also with your first point, The shoes really do matter, when I realized I needed stability shoes since I was flat-footed, my running improved.

S1m November 17, 2014 - 11:29 am

I always thought running was simply a case of moving your legs slightly faster – apparently it is not… so much to it and Kang has detailed some really good points and advice!

Eliz Frank November 17, 2014 - 2:48 pm

This was very informative with lots of helpful tips and tools. I liked that you distinguished weight loss from fat loss. With the holidays approaching so fats, its important to stay in shape and not over-indulge.

nicol November 17, 2014 - 7:35 pm

some amazing tips! i always run on the treadmill but can find running a tad boring at times :/

Prasad Np November 18, 2014 - 4:04 am

I stopped running many years ago and am only starting once again now. These tips are sure handy and will help me in staying motivated.

S1m November 18, 2014 - 2:30 pm

Hope you are back to enjoying it and and hope that the advice helps! 🙂

kareen liez November 18, 2014 - 9:39 am

Very helpful post especially for someone like me who isn’t into running. But I honestly want to do it. Boomarked!

S1m November 18, 2014 - 2:30 pm

Really hope the information and advice Kang has included helps you! 🙂 x

Petr November 23, 2014 - 7:29 pm

Really great article!!


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