SYSSM Beginners Guide to Running

SYSSM Beginners Guide to Running (Or to Run More)

SYSSM Beginners Guide to Running (Or to Run More)

SYSSM Beginners Guide to Running (Or to Run More)

With the current recommendations around social distancing and infectious disease, we expect a significant increase in the number of people turning to individual activities, like running, to get their exercise fix!

Regular physical activity reduces the risk of us as a community contracting communicable diseases (such as viral infections) because it improves our immune system’s competency. Health guidelines state that where possible, we should exercise outdoors.

Running and/or walking is a perfect way to improve your physical fitness, provide mental stimulation, and incorporate some mindfulness practice into your day. You also do not need anything but footwear and the outdoors.

We wanted to highlight the low but potential risks associated with starting your running journey, particularly for less experienced people. We will highlight education around the “how to”, “dos and don’t’s”. Here are our top tips to keep you on track!


  • If you are running for any longer than 15 minutes you should be wearing a running shoe. There are lots of options to choose from, but as long as they are comfortable and fit your feet that’s a great starting point. If your shoes are heavily worn they need to be changed. Try to keep your shoes for walking and running only; playing court sports or soccer or lifting weights in the gym will damage their support systems.
  • A common fault we see in runners is a shoe that is too small. Please make sure your shoe has enough room at the toe. Likely ½ to 1 size larger than your normal day wear shoe.


  • The key when starting to build your aerobic running base whilst maintaining good form is to build gradually. There is nothing wrong with doing the odd sprint or hill effort but all up the hard stuff should only be 15-20% of your total running time. You can try to gauge your effort on a scale of 1-10 or consider tracking your heart rate during your runs to get a more accurate measure of how hard you are going. Keep your runs between a 5-7 RPE (on this scale)
  • If you are new to running completely, start with a run:walk of ratios 30secs:30sec. Do this for 20 minutes every second day. You can walk the days in-between.

RPE SCALE ( › health › RPE)

Exertion RPE scale Borg scale Activity examples
none 0 6 laying on the couch
just noticeable 0.5 7 to 8 bending over to put on your shoes
very light 1 9 to 10 easy chores, such as doing laundry
light 2 to 3 11 to 12 leisurely walking that does not increase your heart rate
moderate/ somewhat hard 4 to 5 13 to 14 brisk walking or moderate activity that speeds up your heart rate without making you out of breath
hard 6 to 7 15 to 16 vigorous activity, such as jogging, biking, or swimming (increases your heart rate and makes you breathe harder and faster)
very hard 8 to 9 17 to 18 the highest level of activity that you can continuing doing without stopping, such as running
maximum effort 10 19 to 20 a short burst of activity, such as a sprint, that you cannot keep doing for long


  • Once comfortable with continuous running, consider mixing up the terrain, location and speed. Little changes can help to maintain fun and enjoyment from your runs (particularly if you are training alone) and reduce some of the repetition that can lead to injury.


  • If you would like to learn more information about running specifically tailored for you, please get in touch with the clinicians. We are here to help you, guide and educate. We will look at your running as an individual. We have systems in place if you do not wish to come to the clinic. We are available online and can chat to your further about this.

Strength and Conditioning

  • Complementing your running with some strength based exercises is a key component to your running performance, but more importantly to prevent injuries. All exercises can be done at home or in a park. No need to go to the gym.
  • It is important to maintain good hip and pelvic stability, along with foot and calf strength.

Please chat to a clinician who can help guide you on which exercises are best suited to you as an individual. It is important to tailor the exercises to your current level.

Social Media

Post your runs on socials and see who else is out there running with you! Our South Yarra Community is full of good advice and interesting stories. Check out our Facebook and Instagram pages and tag @southyarraspinesportsmedicine

What if I’m sore/injured?

It would be great to prevent this from happening completely. But if you are feeling unsure on how to progress your running please get in contact with a clinician who can help guide you around this injury/soreness. We will be available online if you wish. There is a lot we can help you with to navigate through a niggle or uncertainty about running and even prevent an injury from happening.

If you have any further questions please contact us at the clinic. We will be offering online consultations for those who wish to keep their social distance, and we have the capacity to consult and assess your running this way.

Happy Running!

[email protected]

[email protected]

Check out John’s Running Podiatry website to help you take the next step –

Like SYSSM on Facebook for more running tips and behind the scenes action from SYSSM.

SYSSM Podiatrist

John Charles graduated with honours in Podiatry from the University in London, and has since worked in both public and private practice. Additionally, he has completed additional training in dry needling and sports massage, and regularly employs these therapies in his podiatry practice. He has extensive experience in video gait analysis, fitting of athletic footwear, and prescribing orthotics and insoles.


SYSSM Physiotherapist

Kylie is a New Zealand trained physiotherapist with 13 years of experience. She is a Titled APA Sports Physiotherapist. Her commitment to on-going learning and development is demonstrated by her Master’s degree in Sports Physiotherapy from La Trobe University. She also has a Bachelor of Physiotherapy and a Bachelor of Science (Majoring in Anatomy and Structural Biology) from the University of Otago.