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How to Start Running When You are a Complete Beginner

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When was it the last time you went for a run? High school PE class? Or maybe you tried jogging a few months ago but lost motivation? Regardless of how far you’re from your ideal fitness level, the starting point is always the most challenging, especially when it comes to running. Guest post today shares some tips on how to start running when you are a complete beginner. 

how to start running when you are a complete beginner woman running in front of ocean

How to Start Running When You are a Complete Beginner

By David Dack

Starting to run can be a daunting task, but the benefits far outweigh any temporary discomfort you might experience at the beginning. 

Research has found that running, and exercise in general, is critical for losing weight and keeping it off, improving bodily function, preventing chronic diseases, and helping you live a longer, happier, and more productive life.  

Before lacing up your shoes and bolting through the door, check out these beginner runner guidelines.

Beginner Running Tip 1: Choose Proper Shoes

What I love the most about running is that unlike other sports, you don’t need a lot of gear to get started. But, you can’t get away without proper shoes, and here’s why.

Bad shoes may cause knee pain, Achilles tendonitis, and plantar fasciitis, while a proper pair allows you to perform your best with less pain.

To find suitable running shoes, do the following:

  • Head to a specialty running store where trained staff can assess your running style and suggest the right recommendations.
  • Try several pairs before you decide. Go for a short jog on the in-store treadmill or around the store.  
  • Go for a pair that 1 to 1.5 size bigger than your casual shoes. This allows more wiggle room for your feet, reducing the risk for chafing and injury.

Tip 2 For Begging Runners: Try The Run Walk Method (aka, Galloway)

Now that you’re equipped with the right shoes and can’t wait to hit the pavement. But running straight out of the door is a no-no when you’re really out of shape and/or haven’t exercised in a long time. 

Doing too much too soon will only put you at a higher risk for soreness, injury, and burnout that could prevent you from exercising in the days that follow. 

Instead, start with a training routine that includes a short amount of low-intensity running and walking, or what’s known as the walk/run method

The method involves opting for a simple training strategy that mixes a low-effort jogging interval with walking breaks. Olympian and Marathoner Jeff Galloway is credited with creating this method. 

Jeff Galloway, creator of the run/walk/run running method and runDisney spokesperson

This primes your body for more distance and speed without increasing the risk of injury or burnout.

Here’s how to do it:

Following a 10-minute brisk walk warm-up, jog slowly for 20 to 30 seconds, then walk for one to two minutes to recover. Repeat the cycle for 15 to 20 minutes, then end it with a 5-minute walk as a cool-down. 

Don’t be ashamed to take longer walk breaks so you can fully recover before running again. Staying within your comfort level is what’s most important.

Runner Tip 3: Extend your Running Time 

As time progresses, spend more time jogging while taking shorter and fewer walking breaks. The safe way to do it is by increasing your running segments by 30 to 60 seconds per session until you can run for 30 minutes at a stretch without panting for air.

How long will it take to reach that point depends on many factors, including your:

  • Fitness level
  • Fitness background
  • Fitness history
  • Training goals
  • Body type
  • Bodyweight
  • Genetics
  • Commitment to the program

But, all in all, it can take you up to four to eight weeks—sometimes even longer—to make that transition. 

beginner running tips

Listen To Your Body is Runner Tip 4

The main goal of any good running routine is to stay injury-free. If you push your body too much or injure yourself in the first few weeks, chances are you might not stick it for more than a couple of weeks.

For this reason, I always recommend beginners to stay within their fitness level, increasing weekly mileage at a rate their body can handle.  

Sure, you should push yourself a bit out of your comfort zone while exercising, but slow down if you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms:

  • Nausea
  • Intense chest pain
  • Dizziness or vertigo
  • Severe muscle or joint pain
  • Heart palpitations
  • Vomiting


There you have it. The above beginner running guidelines are all you need to start on the running path and become a runner in a matter of weeks. You have to show up and do it.

The rest is just details.

Keep exercising strong!

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Projeto Você Feliz

Sunday 18th of October 2020

Thanks for all the info, Patty!


Tuesday 12th of November 2019

finally a simple guide to start how to run...thank you Patty

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