Back to the Basics — Your Guide To Running

Whether you’re new to running or have been running for years, it’s always good to get back to the basics to be sure you’re doing your body the most good.

Here, we’ve answered some common questions about running as well as added some general tips + advice to get you *safely* lacing up your shoes + moving —

Questions from the CHAARG Community:

Q: What’s the best way to breathe while running? 

A: It’s best to run with your mouth open — in through the nose, out through the mouth. Try using a 4-3 count, 4 counts in, 3 counts out. If you’re more advanced in running, you can try to time your breathing with your circadian rhythm as well

Q: Should you run heel toe or toe heel, etc.

A: There’s no conclusive research on which way is best, however, learning about your pronation [basically, the way your foot hits the ground naturally while walking // running] can definitely affect your running. You can go to a running store + they can perform a test to see if you underpronate or overpronate, for example, + you can find shoes that are best for this! Read more about pronation here.

Q: What should I be doing with my hands?

A: Keep your hands in a slight fist [like you’re holding something + don’t want it to fall vs making a tight fist]. If you keep your fists too tight, you’ll be expending more energy on this motion vs on your run.

Q: How to stay motivated during a long run?


  1. There are so many ways to keep yourself entertained while running! Some example can be:
  2. Listen to music — Spotify even has running playlists based on BPM [beats per minute] if you want to stay focused on maintaining a certain pace
  3. Podcasts — I recommend this for long runs! Most podcasts last about an hour or so so listening to one or two can make your long run go by fast! Check out the CHAARG podcast here.
  4. Nike Running Club App Guides — This app is AMAZING for anyone starting out with running. One of the best features is the *guided runs*. These can range from a speaker constantly talking or some motivation + advice throughout your run at different intervals. They have so many different guides such as meditation, long run, speed workout, etc. that you’ll be sure to find something to occupy your mind!
  5. Audiobooks — Whether you want to listen to books actually about running OR books that can get your heart-pumping, this site can be a good guide to start with
  6. Run without music [+ with your thoughts!]-– think about new projects you want to accomplish or just reflect on the past week or the week ahead. Or, run with #views — check out a different path + take a good look at your surroundings.

Wear the Right Clothes for the Weather

Wind, humidity, rain, timing, season, etc. can make a huge difference on how a run can go! Before I head out for a run, I use this tool from Runner’s World to get an estimate for how many layers I *should* be wearing for a particular day. A general rule of thumb is to dress like it’s 15- 20 degrees warmer than it actually is as your body naturally warms up while running. I sometimes write in my Nike app notes what I wore during a run if I was too hot or cold. The app captures the day, temperature, + time of your runs, so I’m able to look back at what I wore + how I felt during these circumstances.

Running On A Treadmill vs. Outside Has A Similar Same Effect

You’ll find a lot of opinions on which of these is better for you, but really it comes down to a personal preference. I suggest a treadmill when you really want to focus on pacing as you’re better able to control the speed of the belt vs your body’s speed. I also suggest a treadmill if the temperature // weather would make an outdoor run hard — think rain, snow, nighttime, humidity, etc. Finally, if you’re dealing with an injury, a treadmill is typically more recommended as the belt is more forgiving than the hard pavement.

One big difference to think about though is on a treadmill, there’s no wind resistance. To combat this, set the treadmill incline up 1- 1.5%.

Switch Up Your Types Of Runs

When starting out, it can be beneficial to run with a planned run vs. just heading out + going with the flow. There are so many different types of runs [speed, fartlek, short, long, endurance, interval, etc.] so try out a few different ones + see what your body likes the best — the Nike Running App has an amazing selection of each type of run ++ their coaching feature builds a plan out for you that includes all of the different types of runs for you to try out.

If you find yourself getting hung up on mileage, try basing your runs off of minutes vs. miles. This will take your mind off of how many miles you have left to run while also helping you to get a certain amount of minutes of exercise.


Any change in your physical routine can cause soreness, cramping, fatigue, etc. so having these effects after runs is normal. You can read about common runner’s pains here to see *normal* problems vs. things to worry about.

I think of *pain* on a scale — 1 *being a little sore* to 10 *something is not right. ouch*.  Some runs might be a 0, *I feel. amazing.* but, that isn’t usually the case. Before a run, I asses where I’m at on my scale. If I’m a 5 or below [some soreness // fatigue // or cramping, I usually jog // walk for about 10 minutes, do some stretches, + see if my body will adjust through it. Usually, after 10 minutes or so, my soreness will go away + I’ll be able to carry on with my run without pain. Sometimes, this *pain* doesn’t go away. When this happens, adjust your scale + think about stopping. It’s better to put a run off for another day than to run with an injury. As a general rule, it’s normal to feel some soreness or fatigue before a run, but sharp or shooting pain in any part of your body is NOT normal.

Besides being away of your body, you should always be aware of your surroundings when running outdoors. This article is great to recap on some *obvious* things to think about before an outdoor run. It never hurts to review the basics! ; )

Finally, every runner has to overcome mental blocks that come with running. Remember, if you run, you’re a runner! There’s no magical number of miles or amount of races you need to complete to be considered a runner — once you lace up your shoes + hit the pavement [or treadmill] you’ve become a runner! Don’t give up on running simply because you don’t think you’re capable.

Do you have any questions about running? Let us know in the comments!

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