How to start running
Ready to start a running routine? Here are a few tips and tricks to get you out the door and hitting the road today.

By: Body - Physical Training - 5/1/2017

Running is one of the most basic forms of exercise you can do.  It's a great workout, requires minimal equipment, and can be an enjoyable social activity.  But if you've never been a runner, it might be hard to know where and how to start. Ready to start a running routine?  Here are a few tips and tricks to get you out the door and hitting the road today.  The key is to limit the number of barriers you have or place on yourself, to getting started:

Step 1
Go pick out some fun running clothes (and maybe shoes). 
They don't have to be expensive—just something you'll be excited to wear and that makes you feel good.

Step 2
If you don't have "running shoes," that's okay.  You can figure that part out later.  A pair of decent sneakers (not too worn out) should be fine to start.  Running shoes aren't a sure thing when it comes to injury prevention.  Since you're just starting, you're not going to do the kind of mileage where you need to worry about the right shoe just yet.

Step 3
Don't be overzealous.  When you're starting out, pick a distance that is shorter than you think you can run.  If you think you can run one mile, run half a mile.  This is a good way to prevent an injury caused by doing too much too fast.  You'll also feel better at the end of the run knowing that you could have done more, and that makes you more likely to go out and do it again.  Do this for one week.  At the end of the week, if you're feeling good, increase your mileage, but not by more than 10%.  That is, if you ran 5 miles total your first week, don't run more than 5.5 miles total the second week.  The trick to running well is to run regularly; even if it's just a little bit at a time.

Step 4
Don't worry if you need to walk. In fact, do it.  After all, you had to walk before you could run.  Taking walk breaks can help you build up your endurance while giving you mini goals to accomplish during your run.  Run two blocks, walk one block.  Run one minute, walk one minute.  However you decide to break it up is okay.  Before you know it, you'll be able to take shorter and fewer walk breaks.

Need a little extra motivation? Keep these tips in mind when you're getting started and, most important, stick with it and try not to get too frustrated or discouraged in the beginning:

  • Recruit your spouse or a friend.  Be sure to let him or her know your plan, and make it clear you're the one setting the pace.  If your spouse will be supportive (and not competitive), it can be a great way to spend time together and get in shape.  Or grab a friend, especially if your friend is starting out too!

  • Go watch a road race.  Not only will the runners be thankful for a cheerful spectator, but watching others can help boost your confidence. These days there are runners of all shapes, sizes, and speeds.  You shouldn't feel intimidated or worried if you feel you aren't a runner.

Step 5
Have a backup plan. Some days it's harder to lace up the shoes.  That's okay.  Don't beat yourself up if you miss a day.  If you can't get out for a run for whatever reason, try to find some sort of alternative workout either at home or a gym.  Cross-training is important for runners, anyway.  Other forms of aerobic training and resistance training are great ways to get stronger and prevent overuse injuries:

  • Don't overdo it.  This is an important step.  Just like the concept of taking walk breaks, don't try to do too much too fast.  Start off running three days a week (maybe Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) and gradually work your way up from there.  There are several training plans online for beginners.  They can help keep you on track with your progress.  Make sure you choose one that gradually increases mileage and frequency and includes rest and/or recovery days.

  • Listen to your body.  You'll probably experience soreness and minor aches and pains when you start off.  Talk to your doctor if those symptoms don't improve with simple home remedies or rest, or if they get worse.

  • Set a goal.  Once you've gotten into a regular routine and can run at least 1.5 miles continuously, or mostly, find a local road race and  sign up.  Races are fun social events and good ways to put your fitness to the test.

Welcome to the running community!  Wishing you many miles of bliss and hopefully not too many blisters.

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