How to Start Running

Beginners' Running Advice & Motivation
How to Start Running

Running is something that comes completely naturally to us as humans, children run spontaneously almost as soon as they can walk. But taking up running for exercise, especially in adulthood, it's good to bear a few things in mind, so your experience can be as safe and enjoyable as possible.

InspirationVarietyTraining PlanChoosing KitKeeping It Up

Why Start Running?

  • Running is one of the best forms of aerobic exercise you can do. So whether you are starting to run in order to gain fitness, strengthen your organs or simply to lose a few pounds for the summer, running is a great way to do it.
  • Once you have the right running gear, it's free! No expensive gym membership or club fees.
  • It's probably the most flexible form of exercise – just head out your front door any time you like, and your run awaits you.

Running Inspiration

As with starting anything new, it is vital to have positive support from like minded people. There will be many questions that pop up, and you need to be able to share your successes, be they small or large.

At Run and Become, our long-term staff are always eager to answer these questions, and can point you in the direction you need to go. We also encourage customers to become part of the Run and Become community, by coming to our free inspirational running workshops. We have a wide variety of informative and fun evenings, and you don't need to pay a penny! See the workshop listings atRun Better.

Running Variety

Variety is the spice of life – so goes the saying and this is especially true of trying to do the same thing every day. Here are some suggestions to help with this:

  1. Try running a different route, or if you have a favourite circular route, a different direction each day.
  2. Vary the distance and/or the tempo of your run, especially if you are not used to running every day. On what would normally be your rest day just go for a very gentle, short run. Remember that a gentle run could be just as good for recovery as a rest day. (For the Ronhill Challenge your run can be as short as a mile and still count)
  3. Vary the terrain that you run on. In winter it can be more difficult to run off road because of the dark nights. However you could always try some off road runs in the dark with a head torch, or just plan to run off-road at the weekend. Running off road on the softer ground can be a little kinder on the body.

A Beginner's Training Plan

Firstly, it depends on your general fitness. Are you a complete beginner? Or do you play other sports and now want to add running to up your fitness levels?

  • If you are starting from scratch, a very practical way of beginning is to run for three minutes, then walk for one minute. Do this three times a week, on alternate days, each session no longer than 15 minutes. On week 2, stay with 3 times a week and up it to 4 minutes running, one minute walking. Gradually extend the time of running. When you get up to 7 minutes running, keep with this for an extra 3 weeks, before moving up. This is a great way to increase fitness, but without fatiguing the muscles.
  • If you have a good fitness level already, then the main thing to remember is that the body needs to get used to performing the same movement over and over again. This is where running differs from other high impact sports. So again, as with the total beginners, make sure that you start with shorter runs (no more than half an hour), for at least the first month.

Choosing Running Shoes

Before you do anything, the most important advice anyone can give you is to go and buy a decent pair of running shoes. It does not mean going and buying the most expensive pair you can find, and expecting them to be perfect for you – this is a mistake that so many people make.

There are many wonderful brands of running shoes out there, so make sure you look at all your options. When you visit Run and Become, we will offer you our free Natural Gait Analysis. This will ensure that you are giving yourself the best chance to prevent injury. As you will learn, in your personal assessment of your running gait, our experienced staff will explain how and why your body needs the correct levels of cushioning and support.

More on how to choose running shoes »

Choosing Running Clothing and Accessories

Once you have the shoes sorted, it's time to move on to the fun part... clothing and accessories. The fabrics these days are truly amazing. So much research has gone into them over the years and now we are reaping the benefits.

So again, as with your shoes, take a look at all the brands, big and small. At Run and Become, we pride ourselves on stocking the largest running range that you can find. Each brand has their own way of doing it. The cuts vary, but all the garments are fully breathable and light weight.

More on how to choose running clothing »

Keeping It Up

Basically what you are doing is forming a new habit. As forming a habit takes about 30 days you may well find you need a bit of extra motivation now and again. Here are some ideas to help you:

  1. Promise yourself a treat when you get in from your run.
  2. Encourage a friend also to take up the challenge then arrange to run sometimes with them.
  3. Don’t let the weather stop you. Make sure you have running clothes for all weathers.
  4. Decide the night before when you have time to do your run.
  5. Run first thing in the morning, so you don’t ‘run’ out of time during the day.
  6. If you do start to feel your legs, ease off, put a few ‘easy’ sessions into your schedule.
  7. Sleep really helps the body repair and rejuvenate itself. Make sure you get enough sleep this month to help your body recover from the increase in exercise.
  8. Be sensible. If you do have a ‘niggle’ that won’t go away, do go and see a physio and follow their advice!


These are guidelines, but remember, only you can know your body, so learn to listen to its needs. As with everything in life, we must be flexible, so don't push your body if it is fatigued, since this will lead to injury and stress.

Above all, enjoy your new start to running and remember that you are doing the most positive thing for your body and your entire well-being. Soon you will be hooked!

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