How To Start Running – A Beginners Guide That Everyone Can Follow
You might be out of shape, unsure of how to start running. Right now running a bath leaves you feeling out of breath, let alone running for a bus, so where do you begin?
Your journey to becoming a runner starts right here!
Read on to discover just how easy it is to take your first steps towards catching the running bug:
Walk Before You Run
If you’re seriously out of shape and you haven’t run since your school days, you need to walk before you can run.
This is especially important if you’re carrying more than a few extra pounds as the increased workload on your joints could lead to injuries if you rush into doing too much too soon.
Begin by walking every day. If you normally drive everywhere or you’re someone who breaks into a sweat at the thought of having to park at the far end of the car park, set yourself the target of walking for a minimum of 10 minutes every day.
You can do this by parking a 10-minute walk from your work or by getting off the bus a stop or two earlier than normal, but, even better, try to make going for a walk something you can look forward to by exploring the parks and countryside in your area.
When you can comfortably walk for 30 minutes in one hit, you’re ready to introduce some running.
Getting Ready to Run
You don’t need to splash out on a mountain of gear to be able to run, but you do need a suitable pair of running shoes.
Everyday trainers are not suitable as they’re not designed to cushion and support your foot through a running motion, and they’re unlikely to provide the shock absorption needed to protect your joints in a high impact activity.
Take the time to visit a specialist running shop to get your running biomechanics analyzed, and then choose your shoes with the help of the expert staff.
Whether you choose to kit yourself out from head to toe with moisture-wicking Lycra is then up to you, but all you really need is clothing that you’re comfortable to move in.
Run – Walk – Run: Your 8 Week Beginner Training Plan
Getting started in running is a walk-run-walk process… you’re not going to instantly turn into Forrest Gump!
However, it’s always good to have a goal so we’re going to work on the target of being able to complete a non-stop 30-minute run.
Pick A Time
The secret to starting becoming a runner is finding a schedule that works for you.
Whether you’re someone who wants to develop a morning running routine or a night owl who puts the training in at night, find a training schedule that works for you and stick to it – consistency is key here.
Run for 60 seconds, then walk for 90 seconds, then repeat until you’ve completed a 30-minute session.
Aim to complete this session three times during the week, but not on consecutive days.
Allow at least one non-running day in between, but you can go for a walk, a swim, or any other low impact activity should you choose.
Repeat this week until you have successfully completed all three run-walk-run sessions.
If you’re struggling to maintain 60 seconds of running each time, stick with it and keep striding out with purpose when you walk, things will get easier!
Run for two minutes, then walk for one minute, then repeat until you’ve completed a 30-minute session.
Aim to complete this session three times, allowing at least one non-running day in between, and repeat this week until you can complete each two-minute run in full.
Run for three minutes, then walk for one minute, then repeat until you’ve completed a 30-minute session.
Aim to complete this session three times, avoiding consecutive days, and stick with it until you can complete each three-minute run without a break.
Run for five minutes, then walk for two minutes, then repeat until you have completed a 30-minute session.
Do this three times on non-consecutive days, remembering to stride out with purpose if you need to walk before meeting the five-minute target. Stick with it until you’re taking those five-minute runs in your stride.
Run for eight minutes, then walk for two minutes, then repeat until you’ve completed a 30-minute session.
Do this three times over the week, and stick with it until you’ve got those eight-minute runs in the bag.
Run for 12 minutes, then walk for one minute, then repeat until you’ve completed a 30-minute session.
Do this on three non-consecutive days, and be strict about your one-minute walk!
Run for 15 minutes, then walk for one minute, then run for another 15 minutes.
Do this three times over the week, and stick with it until you’re comfortably completing each 15-minute run without taking a walk break.
You can now run for 30 non-stop minutes!
You may reach your 30-minute target in eight weeks, it may take you a little longer, but it’s not a race.
Take your time and repeat each week until you’re comfortable with the run intervals and you’ve successfully completed the session three times.
When you’re new to running, it’s not unusual to come up against a few potential barriers, but where there’s a will there’s a way…
“It’s always raining” – if running in the rain is putting you off, consider joining a gym and running on a treadmill.
You won’t have any changing scenery or fresh air to inspire you, but you won’t have the wind and rain in your face either!
“I feel vulnerable on my own” – if running alone is making you feel vulnerable, consider joining a local running club or group.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to be a runner before you can join a running club.
Most clubs have sessions dedicated to complete beginners and you’ll be welcomed with open arms.
“I feel out of breath when I run” – running is an aerobic activity and it will get you huffing and puffing.
The more you run, the more efficient your aerobic system becomes, and the less you’ll huff and puff, until you up the pace!
“I get a stitch when I run” – runners of all abilities can suffer the sharp pain in the side that’s known as a stitch.
Slowing down and taking a few deep breaths is one approach to dealing with it, stretching the affected side of the body is another, but the first thing to consider is your eating schedule.
Try to leave at least one hour between a meal and a run, and you may find that certain foods are best avoided before a run.
Go on, take that first step today… you’ll catch that running bug in no time and soon you’ll find out exactly why people get hooked on running – who know’s, these might be your first steps towards finding out why people run marathons or even move on to following our how to start trail running guide!
If you’ve followed our how to start running guide we’d love to hear from you – leave a comment in the box below.