Running Q & A

Are you new to running or thinking of starting to run but not sure where to begin? I have a friend who went on her first run last week and her goal is to complete the 8k Road Race that is part of the GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon in October this year.

She asked me some questions because she knows that I am a runner and she thought I might be able to help. I started thinking that there could be others out there that have some of these questions too so I thought I would share my answers.

  • What is the proper running etiquette on sidewalks? What side do I pass other runners on and do you say anything?

I run in the middle of the sidewalk and when I see someone coming towards me I move to one side. I typically pass by them on their heart side. Passing someone when running you would do the same as if you were a vehicle and use the rules of the road. Most runners will acknowledge each other because you are both doing the same activity. You do not need to make them aware that you are passing but if you are running where there isn’t a sidewalk it is wise to look behind you to see if there is a cyclist or someone else behind you before you move to pass them.

  • What side of road do you run on, with or against traffic?

When you head out for a run you should run facing the traffic so they can see you. If you are running in the dark make sure you are wearing reflective clothing or carry a small light.

  • Do you recommend a running app that has GPS and also does the couch to 5k interval training?  

I have never used an app for running but currently wear a Garmin Forerunner 610 watch that tells me my pace, time, heart rate and distance. To get you started though you could try the app RunKeeper.

  • Should I do a couch to 5k plan and then a 5k to 10k plan since I have five months to prepare for an 8k race?

Since you are going to be running an 8k race I would train using the couch to 10k program. As you build up your time and distance you can enter a 5k race and get a feel of how your training is going. It also gives you a mid-way point goal to work towards and to keep you motivated.

  • What kind of shoes do I need to run on the road and trails?

I would suggest you go to a running store like Frontrunners or the Running Room and speak to one of the staff about your goal. They can then tell you what shoes is best suited for your needs. While you are there they will likely assess how you walk, take a look at your feet and get you do to a little run in the store. You can then try on various shoes until you find the right ones for you. Good shoes make all the difference on your joints and help how you feel while running.

  • Is there anything I should consider for posture when running?

When running you want to be more upright and not bent over. Look ahead of you instead of at your feet. Also, try holding your thumb and pointer finger together like you are pinching a rose. It sounds strange but this will help you to avoid running with your hands in a first which takes energy away from your legs.

  • When I get home for a run, should I have a hot bath with Epsom salt to soak my muscles?

After a run your should definitely do a good stretch and if you have a form roller use that. If you don’t have a foam roller you can also use a rolling pin to rub it over your legs and calves. I enjoy a hot bath with Epsom salts after a hard run but not after every one. I would suggest once or twice a week if you wanted to because i

t is good for the recovery of your muscles and it just feels nice.

  • Should I wear compression socks for training, do they help or this more for longer races?

I have never worn compression socks but I have read reviews and also spoken to other runners who have worn them. People seem to love them so if you if you want to try them I would say give them a go and test it out for yourself.

  • Is five months enough time to train for an 8 k considering I have never done any running at all?

Yes, five months is enough time to train. You have a goal and as long as you stay on working towards it you can do anything you put your mind to.

  •  Any dietary things I should be aware of or be doing pre-training or post-training?

Just maintain healthy eating. Fueling your body before and after a run is important. What you eat depends on what works best for you and your body will let you know by how much energy you feel when running. It is really trial and error but learn before race day. My go to race breakfast is peanut butter on toast with a banana because I feel good when running and it tastes good.

  •  Any other cross training that can help with becoming a runner?

I would suggest doing other forms of cardio one to two times per week and build a strength training program into your weekly workouts.


Overall, if you are just starting to run ask questions and seek advice from your doctor or someone you trust. Running and leading a healthy lifestyle are supposed to be good for you and not cause harm to your body. So, make sure you have all the right tools before starting out.

What are some questions you have about running? Or if you have been running what was a question you had?




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