Beginning Running 101: How to Get Started

Posted: April 20, 2011 in For Beginners, Training
Tags: , , , ,

If you’d like to join the ranks of the millions of runners enjoying the health and weight loss benefits of running but don’t know how to begin, don’t worry- it’s really not as hard as you think. Whether you want to run to lose weight, get fit for another sport or tone up, you can reap the rewards of running with some quick tips for beginners.

Here’s how to get going:

  • Check with your doctor to make sure you have no health conditions that could impede your running.
  •  Buy a pair of comfortable running shoes that fit your foot type (see “How to Find the Best Running Shoes”).
  • Start slow. If your body is not used to running, you can ease into a running program by alternating walking and jogging. Try walking for five minutes and jogging for two minutes, for instance, for a total of 30 minutes of working out. Gradually increase your jogging time until you can run the whole 30 minutes (this may take up to a few months, depending on your fitness level).
  •  Run with a partner. Having someone to run with makes workouts more fun and also helps keep you motivated, as it’s harder to miss runs when someone holds you accountable.
  • Take a break. Give yourself at least one day of rest a week to allow your body and mind time to recover from the workout routine. You can do a cross training activity (such as “Pole Dancing for Runners”) for a light workout, or give yourself free reign to do nothing.
  • Record your progress. Tracking how far and often you run can help you see how much progress you are making in your workouts. You can also record your times if it helps you stay motivated.
  • Pat yourself on the back. When you reach a goal or accomplish a running feat, give yourself credit. Reward yourself with new running clothes, some new music or a healthy treat.

Once you get into the swing of running and get bit by the running bug, you’ll never look back. Welcome to the world of running! May many happy and healthy runs await you.

Related post: Track Yessi’s progress as a beginning runner in Training Tales.

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Comments
  1. jpamela67 says:

    I used to run a lot……now I have put on weight and become a slacker. I will take up the challenge and try these tips. Thank you.

  2. Unsolicitedious Rebugger says:

    Hi Marnie. I came across your blog via the main WordPress page.

    Great tips but can I add a bit of caution – in my view running is not and should not be for everyone. While we all have the necessary parts to put one foot in front of the other, I am not so sure that means we should all run.

    Running is something you are either naturally good at or not- if you are a runner it means, in my view, that you have a natural style & a natural ability. So personally I think that if beginners are contemplating running – that is, people who were not natural runners as kids/didn’t naturally win events etc and need shoes with support (as opposed to neutral shoes) then they should not only do a walk to run program, but ensure they do the running drills (see Laura Fleshman’s You Tibe clip – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcH97Dx8VCk) AND do weight bearing exercises – especially 3/4 squats, lunges/walking lunges, hamstring curls & core exercises so that they learn to switch on their pelvic floor muscles when running.

    In my view far too many people take up running thinking it is a cheap easy way to lose weight but few invest in a good pair of shoes and the time & effort to run properly so that they not only run faster more easily, but prevent serious injuries & health issues later on down the track. I think any promotion of running should be combined with information on how to run correctly – a very quick easy way to do this is to watch the top 3rd of runners finishing a marathon or half marathon then look at the bottom half of the pack. There is a huge difference in times which largely can be explained by not only fitness & ability, but running styles.

    Just my 2 cents! 🙂

    Sorry I know this is an essay but I just wanted to put a different point of view across! 🙂

    P.S for the sake of disclosure I used to consider myself a competitive athlete but for various reasons I am now back in the beginners block so can see both sides 🙂

    • Marnie says:

      Thanks for the feedback and points! I agree with you that it is important to have the proper shoes, which I wrote about as one of my first posts on how to find the best running shoes. I also advocate rest for injuries and cross training, not pushing through pain or any such things. According to my RRCA certification instructor, a veteran running coach, most people naturally know how to run but some question themselves or overthink their form and then do not go with what is best for their body. Running form is a great idea for a future post.

      As someone who was never the best or most competitive runner and even started out with an injury when I joined cross country in 7th grade, I can’t say that I feel like you have to be the best to consider yourself a runner. A lot of my problem was nervousness for races, etc, and I think the mental aspect of running plays a large role in many people’s performance. Also, many people want to run for fitness and being a runner can mean enjoying your runs and feeling good, even if you are last in a race or never compete.

      I agree with you that when people take up running they should learn about the sport and know what they’re getting into. I’m hoping Runstreet helps with this;). Cheers and happy running!

  3. Unsolicitedious Rebugger says:

    I agree you don’t have to be the best – I guess in my long-winded way I just wanted to push the view that you can’t take running for granted either. I really like your blog btw – I think you are doing a fantastic job at encouraging people as well as providing them with sound information. Keep it up!

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