How To Start Running

Running is a fun and cheap way to add some movement and exercise to your life. If you're thinking about getting into it but don't know where to begin, this guide on how to start running is to help.

Established Solid Motivation

To start running on the regular, you should get yourself motivated. Motivation is more than a mere pep talk before a run, it's about setting personal goals and being clear about why you want to get into running.
Are you trying to lose weight? Do you want to be more active? Or perhaps you need a healthy outlet to de-stress?
No matter what you're aiming to achieve from running, you should always remind yourself that each run is a win and a step towards reaching/maintaining your purpose from the activity.

Build a Habit

When you make running into a habit, getting up to get it done will feel easier because you won't take as much time or effort to convince yourself to hit the track or the treadmill. It's already an activity that your body is used to doing, so not a lot of willpower is required compared to running infrequently or randomly.
So, how do you turn running into a habit? Well, it's all about coming up with a plan and sticking to it. The plan for building a habit consists of:
  • One or more cues. For example, a certain time, a special spot, a particular playlist, or even other people.
  • A reward. For example, a donut, some chocolate, or a massage.
  • A routine. This is the actual workout.
Once you cover all 3 aspects of the plan for building a running habit, you should write down the whole plan and place it somewhere you can see most of the time. From there, try to have your running sessions around the same time of day.
When it comes to rewarding yourself, pick a treat that you really like and enjoy it right after you're done running. This way, you're teaching your brain to associate the workout with being immediately rewarded.
If possible, include other people in the cues department of the plan. Involving a support system of running buddies or friends who you keep updated about your activity will make you feel good about what you're doing.

Start Short

As excited as you may be about kicking off your running exercise, as a beginner runner, don't run the whole distance you plan to cover in one go. Instead, break down the distance into short intervals, at least at first.
You don't have to jog between the intervals you set, you can simply walk to help your body recover. This is nothing to feel bad about.
After a few running sessions, you can gradually start to lengthen the intervals of running and shitten the walking sections.
For example, start with alternating between 3 minutes of jogging and 3 minutes of walking. After that, increase the duration of your running intervals by one minute and decrease the walking duration also by one minute for each exercise.
Keep this up and you'll find yourself running the entire distance in one go without having to recover by walking.

Develop a Manageable Routine

When you first start running, chances are your body won't perform as you expect. That's because beginner runners often forget that their bodies need to adjust to the newly introduced strain and stress of running.
As such, a lot of novice runners go all out right from the start, running/jogging too fast. Unfortunately, within only a few minutes, they feel the cost of this mistake in the form of frustration, pain, overexertion, or even injuries.
This is why you must start running at a comfortable pace. You don't have to challenge yourself too much right away, just keep a moderate, conversational speed where you can speak in full sentences. Otherwise, slow down until you can.
Remember to take your breath through the nose and mouth to help your body receive as much oxygen as possible. You can also try deep belly breathing to minimize side cramps or stitches.
Don't forget to cool down your muscles after each run by some laidback jogging or walking. Gentle stretching can also prevent suffering from tight muscles.
Finally, your priority in your new running habit should be doing it consistently, not quickly or for a long distance. This way, you can stick to it first, and the rest will come later.

Maintain a Proper Posture

Maintaining a proper posture is key to running efficiently while avoiding injury. Generally, you want to stay upright, lift your head, elongate your back so it feels tall, keep a neutral pelvis, and level your shoulders but keep them relaxed.
At your waist, make sure you don't slouch forwards or backward as you get tired. Your shoulders also may start to lean over the longer you run, which tightens the chest and makes breathing harder.
To avoid this, try to always be aware of your shoulders' position and look ahead to a point on the ground that's about 10 to 20 feet away.
As for the arms, they should swing from the shoulder joint at a natural flow back and forth from the shoulder joint. Also, keep your hands as relaxed as you can, leaving them open or gently cupping them.
The important thing is to avoid clenching your hands into fists because this can tense up your neck, arms, and shoulders.

Choose the Right Surface

The type of surface you should run on depends on the particular exercise you're aiming for. For beginners, they should try a combination of different surfaces to reap as many of their benefits as possible while keeping the risks to a minimum.
For example, pavement (asphalt) is perfect for fast running since you're unlikely to twist an ankle. However, this type of running surface can be harsh on your joints due to the lack of cushioning, especially if you're on the heavier side.
On the other hand, running on a forest floor provides outstanding cushioning thanks to its softness. However, you'll be risking injury because of accidents involving rocks, roots, and bumps.

Stay Hydrated

Finally, remember to stay adequately hydrated before, during, and after running. As a rule of thumb, drink about 4 to 6 ounces of water (or whatever workout fluid you prefer every 20 minutes or so.


There you have it, a simple guide on how to start running.
Remember, starting to run isn't as difficult as sticking to the workout schedule. For this, you need to have patience and be persistent.