How to start running today: a beginner’s guide

First, congratulations on deciding to take the first step and read this article! I am sure you’ll find it very helpful. This guide is designed for absolute beginners, so if you think you might need some additional tips or advice on getting started, you should check out the articles on this website that are relevant to your situation.

Ok, what does it mean to be an absolute beginner? An absolute beginner is someone who has never run before. If you have done any sports in school or fitness classes, even if only once a week for one semester, then you did not start running yesterday, and this article is probably not for you. [If you don’t know, re-read the paragraph above.]

The good news is that if you are a beginner at running, then you should have an easier time running than someone who has been doing it for years. Of course, everyone’s journey varies. There are some seasoned runners who injure themselves or cannot continue to run, and there are absolute beginners who become very fast runners. Sometimes it is all about the choices you make in running, but often it’s just about getting off to a good start.

We’re going to work on that here. I’m going to give you some advice on what you need before your first run and what you need to do once you’ve begun. By the end of this article, I hope you will be able to head out and start your first run with confidence and enthusiasm!

The only thing that might stop you from reaching that point is if you come across some pretty big terminology or technical aspects in this guide (and there are a couple). Don’t worry, I explain it all in more detail herein Running Terms for Beginners.

If you really feel like you aren’t ready to start just yet, then come back when you are. If not, let’s keep going! Here’s what we have to cover:

What do I need? – Top 5 things you will need to bring on your first run.

What do I need? – Top 5 things you should do before you take the running plunge.

How will I know if it hurts? – The most important thing for absolute beginners about starting to run: keeping yourself safe!

The Beginner’s Blueprint for Success – All of this advice boils down to this.

The best place to start – What does a program for absolute beginners look like?

Tips and Tricks – Some extra thoughts on getting started and continuing your journey as a runner.

What do I need? – Top 5 things you will need to bring on your first run:

1) A workout buddy or a dog

2) A bottle of water or a hydration pack/vest

3) Comfortable clothes and good running shoes.

4) Some money for emergencies, but hopefully you won’t need this!

5) A sense of adventure!

What do I need? – Top 5 things you should do before you take the running plunge:

1) Make a plan. Don’t run aimlessly, that won’t get you anywhere fast See this article on how to get motivated to run and then get started with the Beginner’s Blueprint for Success.

2) Stretch! Just because you’re starting out doesn’t mean you don’t need to stretch Here’s a good post on how to stretch before running.

3) Get the right shoes for you! If you don’t, you could get injured or just never truly enjoy your time on the trails. Here are some tips on choosing the best shoes for you and why it matters so much.

4) Practice How to run/jog. See this article for a thorough explanation of the different paces and how to practice.

5) Buy some gear, but don’t go overboard! A great pair of running pants and a shirt that wicks away sweat will do (and maybe armbands). If you’re interested in getting more into it, later on, read this post about what to wear for running.

How will I know if it hurts? – The most important thing for absolute beginners about starting to run: keeping yourself safe!

You have probably heard at some point that the most important thing about running is to start slow and not push yourself too hard. This might be a new sport to you, but people who have been doing it for a long time know better than anyone how easy it is to get injured if you don’t take care of yourself.

If something hurts when you run, stop! I know that might sound a little silly, but it is important. You will never regret walking a bit more when you’re in pain. If it’s not going away after a few minutes, take some time off and let it heal. A little rest can do you a world of good!

The Beginner’s Blueprint for Success – All of this advice boils down to this.

The best place to start – What does a program for absolute beginners look like?

For your first running program, I highly recommend the Couch-to-5k Running Plan. Here are some reasons why:

You will need minimal time commitment because you don’t have to go out every day if that’s not your thing.

It progressively gets harder over time so you don’t plateau (which means you won’t get bored).

You will learn how to listen to your body and take rest days if needed without feeling like you’re “losing” something by not running.

There are many other beginner’s programs out there, but I’ve found this one to be the best. You can find it here.

Tips and Tricks – Some extra thoughts on getting started and continuing your journey as a runner.

Don’t forget to start slow! It is better to go out there every day for 5 minutes than once a week for an hour! If you are having trouble putting in more time, try adding 5 minutes every week. Every little bit counts!

Find a buddy! Having someone to go out with you keeps you accountable and is a great support system. You will feel bad if they are going out there and working hard and all you can do is stand on the sidelines!

It’s not about competition, but it doesn’t hurt to have someone to try your best against. You can push each other and help one another grow. It’s a great experience.

Running is an individual sport at its core, but having people to share it with is awesome!

Don’t give up! If you have a tough week or day, don’t be too hard on yourself. Just look forward to the next run.

If you are running with someone else, try not to let them pull ahead of you if they are faster. Chances are that they will slow down for you eventually. Resistance is futile 😉

Why? – It is important to remember why you are doing this.

Running isn’t easy for everyone at first, but it can be fun! Think about what motivates you to go for a run. Is it the feeling of being out in nature? The chance to get away from your phone or computer? One thought that has always motivated me is the idea of running at my goal race pace. It is such a freeing feeling to think that you can just focus on your effort and nothing else.

One last note: Even if you don’t run, what is most important is doing something active every day. Whether it’s going for a walk, playing with friends outside so lat start running today.