Running can be a difficult exercise to get into the habit of doing on a regular basis. However, with all its benefits, the effort is well worth the reward. Luckily, how to start running doesn't have to be such a challenge. We've put together some useful tips to help you get into the healthy habit of running.

Tips for Running Beginners


Be realistic

Many people who start running think they will be able to run five miles in a short amount of time with no problem, but once they get going, they realize it's not as easy as it sounds. It is important to have realistic expectations when you first start running and to remember the more you stick with it, the more you will improve.


Invest in your shoes

As a beginner, the most important and only thing you really need is a great pair of running shoes. Hold off on any other fancy gear and accessory and instead invest in the right pair of shoes. This will help reduce your risk of injury and keep you comfortable as you train. You also want to ensure you have the right socks. Avoid cotton socks and instead choose wool or polyester blend sock. Compression socks are also a great option to help with arch, ankle and shin support.


Start with walking

You might be eager to start running as fast as you can, but if you are not used to running, this can really hinder your capabilities. As a beginner, you want to start with walking and work up towards a run. This helps your muscles get used to the motion and you can build up your endurance and stamina.


Warm up but don't stretch

Most everyone will tell you to make sure you stretch before you go out for your run but this can increase your chance of injury. How to start running doesn't mean to just hit the pavement, you should warm your muscles up with various types of exercise before beginning to run, instead of doing static stretches.


Don't overexert yourself

Pushing yourself too much when you are first starting out will only lead to injury and can discourage you from sticking with your running routine. When you start off running, you want to keep your discomfort down as you run and the general rule of thumb is that you should be able to hold a conversation while running.


Don't run every day

As a beginner, you might be setting a goal to run five or six days a week, but this can lead you to burn yourself out and damage your muscles. Aim for running just two or three days a week as you start out and then after six weeks with this consistent routine, add another day or easy running.


Slowly add on

One of the worst things you can do is to attempt to add more mileage, training or go faster than you are ready for. You want to slowly challenge yourself with your running routine. After you have run a few times, add strides at the end of your run where you sprint for about a minute rest and sprint again. Repeat these strides five times and after a few weeks, add another. Adding a strength training workout in your week will help you build muscles, which will help with speed. Do 20 minutes of strength training after your run. Do add on more miles until after you have run for at least 6 weeks.


There's an app

How to start running should involve keeping track of your progress so you don't get discouraged. One of the best ways you can track your progress is by using an app to help log your runs. You can keep specific notes in some of the running apps available that will allow you to note how you felt, what you ate, the weather and more on the days of your run. This can help you determine what effects your running and what you want to improve. It is also a great way to celebrate the small successes you achieve as you continue to run and create realistic and achievable goals with your running.


Listen to your body

While some muscle soreness and body aches can be expected when you first start out, ignoring the pain signals your body sends can put you at risk for serious injury. If you have pains that are persistent or become worse as you walk or go about your daily activity, you'll want to take a rest day. If you notice you have pains only on one side of the body, this can be a good indication of injury and you want to see a sports medicine doctor to learn about how you can properly heal.


Running form

When you first start out, you don't have to have perfect form when running but you do need to be comfortable while you run. It is best to start off with shorter strides with the elbows at a 90-degree angle at your sides. The hands should remain relaxed and keep your eyes looking forward instead of down. Your legs will follow your arm movement and vice versa. If your legs or arms slow down their movement, the other will follow.


Adjust your diet

It is important to be aware of your calorie intake when you begin running. How to start running isn't just about tying up your running shoes, you want to ensure you are keeping your body energize and fuel to recover from your running. Each meal should consist of lean protein or healthy unsaturated fats, vegetables, fruits, whole grains or complex carbs that are healthy. Avoid foods that will only make you feel lethargic or sluggish.


Don't forget to rest

When you are just starting out running, you want to make sure you rest the day after your run. This will help your body recover better and you will improve your endurance more without getting discouraged. When you are out on your run, it can be tempting to skip your walk periods during your run, but this will only lead to you becoming tired more quickly which can have a negative effect on the goals you set for that day. Resting is just as important as the actual running.


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