I am a Beginner – Please Help Me!

I am a Beginner – Please Help Me!



I was wondering if someone could clarify a few things for me as I am very new to all this running thing!

Firstly what is the difference between running and jogging?  Some training programs have running and jogging listed – is it just pace/speed at which you run?

Secondly – what actually is a ‘race pace’? I mean how fast to you have to be going.  At the moment I run so slowly, I have to fight like crazy to keep running for just 5 minutes continuously!  Do I need to think about pace or just build up my continuous time?

Finally – since starting running my knees ache a little.  I have to say that I really love running, I always come back feeling so invigorated and upbeat and would hate to have to stop running because it was injuring my knees, or they became very painful.  Is there anything I can do to strengthen my knees or is it just a matter of building up my fitness over time?

Sorry for all the questions and thank you for your advice in advance! Kind Regards Sandra


Hi Sandra, Thanks for your email and please don’t apologise this is what I am here for. It is very difficult to differentiate between running and jogging when you first start. In principle jogging means running at a pace which is well below your maximum, but in the case of a beginner this may be impossible to differentiate. Just take it to mean that it is a pace that you feel comfortable with. Race pace means exactly that – you run at your race pace for short periods of time. Now you will only know your race pace if you have already raced! For instance if you race a 10k and you finish in 60 minutes that means you are running approximately 10 minute miles so your training programme may say “run 20 minutes at your 10k race pace” this means that you should run 2 miles.

At this stage of your running you should not be at all concerned with pace. Your main aim is to build up slowly with a walk / run programme until you can run continuously for around 30 minutes – only when you can do this should you concern yourself with different speeds / pace in your training. As for your knees this is probably due to 2 things: 1. You are new to running and your muscles/joints are wondering what on earth is happening. 2. You need to take a close look at the shoes you are wearing. It is vitally important that you are wearing the type of shoes that are correct for the way YOU run. To make sure of this you need to go to a specialist running shop where they will do a running gait analysis for you – this will determine what type of shoe you should be running in. This is THE most important thing for you to do.

I hope all this helps – just give me a shout of you need any more help / advice. Let me know how you get on

Kind Regards Peter Hier

Sandra’s Reply:

Hi Peter

Thank you so much for all this information, it is brilliantly helpful!

I did go to a specialist running shop and they made me run, walk stand etc.  I tried on loads of shoes and the ones I chose were by far the most comfortable I tried on.  I think that you are right, my body is just screaming at me in surprise!  I also try and remind myself that I went from pretty much ‘inactive’ to running 4 times a week in about 60 seconds!

At the moment I am running 5 minutes continuously and then 5 mins of 10 steps running and 10 steps walking for 45 minutes in total, (about 5 miles in total) but am keen to stick to one of the training programmes on the website.  I thought I might stick to the 10K novice and go in at about week 3 where the jogging is at 5 minutes continuous.  I am hoping that by the new year I will be running 30 minutes so that i can actually start the novice marathon training in January ready for April!  Its a plan of sorts!  It’s surprising how quickly ‘ones’ fitness improves week to week, its very satisfying,  I did not think I would enjoy this so much but I have to say I just love it!

thanks again for all your help with kind regards



Hi Sandra, No problem at all. Just remember that one of the biggest virtues a runner must possess is patience! It won’t happen over night – but it will happen. You will very gradually start feeling more comfortable in yourself and with that comes confidence and with that comes – anything you want! Keep in touch Peter Sandra’s Reply:

PATIENCE …. my weakest skill!

The trouble I find is that I keep pushing myself every single run, so for instance the first run I did (just over 2 weeks ago) was for 25 minutes I ran and walked and I thought I was going to die right there and then!  Two weeks later I am managing the 45 minutes but want to try and do 50 minutes!  I have not actually taken the time to appreciate that I have moved on so dramatically in just 2 weeks! I just want to be able to do more and more!!!

I will work at the patience side of things!  I think this will be easier if I do follow a programme as then I will be able to chart my progress more clearly!

thanks again for such a lot of good advice! with kind regards


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