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May 08, 2020


In times when a great deal of change makes everything different at once, people’s needs evolve quickly, and behaviours adjust to keep pace.

Perhaps that’s why there are so many new runners out on the road. Running fulfils many of our new needs at once – it’s a great way to blend regular exercise with a quick change of scenery, all while maintaining a safe social distance.

If you’re new – or returning – to running, you may be wondering if you’re doing it right. If you’re getting what you need out of your new running routine, there’s no way to be “wrong.” But in case you’d like a little guidance, we’re here to help. So, let’s start with just the basics.

Setting a Target Distance & Pace

If you’re just getting started (or restarted) as a runner, you might be wondering how far or how fast you should go.

As with any form of exercise, there’s a tendency to overdo it at the beginning. And just as sure as putting too much weight on a bench press or playing soccer for four hours on your first day can leave you too sore to work out again for a while, running too far and too fast can leave you side-lined for longer than you want. To avoid the initial impulse to overextend yourself, it’s best to begin with manageable goals.

Since everybody’s different, there’s no set answer for ideal distance and pace.

Start with a 30-minute walk or very easy jog. Time yourself for 15 minutes, then turn around and come back. You can download a tracking app beforehand to measure the distance you’ve travelled, or just plot out your route later to find out.

From here, you can either shoot for increasing distance or decreasing time, as you gain a level of comfort. Add distance up to 5 minutes each trip at the same brisk walk pace. Or add pace up to a level of exertion where you’d still be able to carry out a conversation.

A lot of beginners practice the walk-run-walk method, where instead of running or walking for the entire duration, you alternate at regular intervals – say ninety seconds of walking then 45 seconds running – and adjust the ratios toward more running until you’re able to sustain a jog throughout.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that you’re not doing anything wrong and there’s no set mark other than getting some good exercise.

Of course, if you try it the easy way a few times and feel too bored to stay motivated, you can try pushing a little harder, and take it extra easy the next time.

Just don’t shoot for a new world record on your first time out. A slow, sustainable pace is the best way to enjoy your run. And keep in mind that it’s okay to stop and walk if you need to!


Introductory Stretching & Hydration

Figuring out how much you should stretch and hydrate before, during and after a run is another area where everybody has different needs. Finding them is usually just a matter of some early experimentation on your journey as a runner.

The current attitude on stretching among most runners is that not everybody has to stretch, some should, and in either case, it never hurts unless done improperly. So as a beginner, you should at least try a proper stretching regimen before making a more informed decision.

Try starting with a series of quick, dynamic stretches to get loose before or at the beginning of a run, then do some static stretches of not more than 20 seconds in duration after you’re done.

In terms of hydration, don’t drink unless you’re thirsty. That may sound simplistic, but dehydration is generally less of a risk for beginning runners than over-hydration. Sip water until you’re no longer thirty before a run, but don’t overload.

For the sake of peace of mind, you can also carry a small water bottle with you. Pace your runs more forgivingly in hot weather. And after your run, slake your thirst with water, juice or a sports drink.

Gear & Shoe Primer

In terms of running gear and clothing, choose what’s right based on your comfort and budget. Like any other aspect of getting started with running, it’s easy to go overboard in the beginning with gear.

All you really need is running shoes, socks, and comfortable clothes in which you won’t mind working up a sweat.

You will at least want to start with a reliable pair of running shoes, with features that work for your specific gait. These can include stability-added features to reduce pronation, or variations in cushioning. Under usual circumstances, the best way to find the perfect pair of running shoes is to go to a specialty retailer that offers gait analysis and professional fitting.

If this isn’t an option for you right now – you might want to follow our home-fitting guide to finding the right running shoes.

Beginner Running Form & Technique

Now that you have the logistical aspects (how far, how fast, how to prep and recover, and what to wear) sorted, you might be wondering if you’re running “correctly.”

For relative beginners, overcorrecting your natural running form is not advisable. That’s because whatever running form your body instinctively follows is attuned to your specific physique. Some studies suggest trying to alter this form as a beginner could be harmful. If that’s not a comforting thought, know that your running form will evolve naturally to increase efficiency as you add speed and stamina.

Generally, try to “run tall” and lean slightly forward. Keep your strides short – you don’t need to make long, bounding steps, and it’s usually preferable if your feet land under your centre of gravity with your knees bent. Keep your arms relaxed and swing them naturally to the same rhythm.

Overall, for now, put the whole idea of “proper running form” and “maintaining the best running technique” out of your mind. As a beginner, the most crucial aspect of running is enjoying each step in the process, so you’ll keep at it and keep improving. Form will come with that.

In the meantime, as long as you’re running, you’re running right.
We’ll see you out there. It’s Time to Fly.



10 Things I Wish I’d Known About Trail Running Before I Started
10 Things I Wish I’d Known About Trail Running Before I Started

January 21, 2021

I started running on trails back in 2005. I was living on the eastern shore of Maryland and accidentally found myself running on a trail one day as a way to add some distance to my road run. I loved it from the first crunch of dirt and quickly found myself wanting to get as many of my running miles on the trails as possible. I liked how I’d sometimes get a glimpse of a turtle or a deer, how I saw a lot less man-made things, how the pine trees smelled, and how I didn’t have to worry about cars. I wrote this piece to help anyone who may just be getting into trail running, or who has always wanted to try it but wasn’t so sure it was for them.

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January 13, 2021

On May 4th 2019, one of HOKA's most innovative shoes was unveiled in a way that challenged limits. The Carbon X was showcased by HOKA athletes from around the world in attempt to conquer the 100K world record in Folsom, CA.
After another 18 months of development by the HOKA Design, Product and Innovation teams, the updated Carbon X 2 is here. We sat down with Senior Footwear Designer Odile Boyer to learn more about how the Carbon X 2 updated from its predecessor and how this shoe can help inspire athletes of all types to reach for their personal best.

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January 07, 2021

HOKA ultrarunner Jim Walmsley set the running world on fire with his 50-mile world record at the 2019 edition of Project Carbon X. However, he has some unfinished business, as he wasn’t able to hold that pace through 100K (roughly 62 miles). With the upcoming Project Carbon X 2 on January 23rd at 7am MST, Jim has a chance at redemption, so we sat down with him to learn about 2019’s race, how training has gone this year, and what his goals are for Project Carbon X 2, and more.

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