Now, if you’re reading this, you’ve probably been wanting to start running for a while. In fact, you want to start running so bad you’ve had to come to my corner of the internet in order to learn – in other words, you’re desperate to start running. And that’s fine – even more than that, starting to run can be a great thing for you to do.
Starting to run can strengthen bones and muscles, improve your immunity, improve knee and back health, and improve your mood via a runner’s high – these are just some of the perks of running. Even if you start running for 10 minutes a day at a slow speed, your risk of cardiovascular disease-related death can be massively reduced. Along with the physical and mental benefits, running is easy enough to start with, and needn’t be expensive. To make things even easier, I’m going to give you five simple tips to help you start running, and running well. This will be based on my own experience, as well as the experience of others.
1. Have a health check (if you think starting to run may affect a condition you have)
This step is mainly for people who have asthma or any other health conditions which may be exacerbated if you start running. Though many people may be able to start running without any issues at all, some of you may not be sure. If you think that you may have an adverse effect if you just start running, it will be worth seeing a doctor for the go-ahead.
2. Know where you’re going (don’t start running in the middle of nowhere)
This may sound like an odd step, but if you start running in a location you’re unfamiliar with, this can very easily be a problem. I know some people who drive to woods and trails to go running, and they’ve gotten lost. I’ve also gotten lost when running, and find that when I’m not sure where I’m going, I get tired quicker. Anxiety is tiring, after all. If you’re starting to run and want to go on a trail or drive to some place for it, then I advise visiting it beforehand and walking it. Of course, this may not be a big problem if you’re simply going to start running by leaving your house, but I recommend planning out where you’ll go.
These plans don’t have to be intricate, but they can be helpful. If you’d prefer to start running on a trail rather than in a town, you can use services, apps, and sites such as Alltrails, Strava, Plotaroute, and even Google Maps to help you find a place.
3. Get some equipment
Now, I’m not about to tell you to buy a bunch of performance wear and super expensive shoes when you’re starting to run, but I don’t recommend going out in a pair of smart shoes and tight jeans! To start running, I’m going to recommend the same clothes that I used: they weren’t amazing, but they got the job done, and getting the job done is what matters if you want to start running. The outfit I used for my first run was:
- An old t-shirt
- A cheap pair of jogging bottoms
- A £40 ($47 US) pair of running shoes
- A pair of normal sports socks
As you can see, this wasn’t exactly a £300 outfit complete with £200 shoes, and I still don’t have anything remotely resembling that (although it would be pretty cool if I did), but what I’m trying to show is that my outfit was quite simple and cheap, which is where a key advantage of running comes in: it isn’t an expensive sport, and only costs as much as you want it to. All you need to start running are some basic clothes and yourself.
4. Start off with a short distance
This is an important one. Though you may feel like you can go for longer, I don’t urge you to push yourself too hard and run a really long distance if you’re just starting to run. I made this mistake when I first went running, and ended up very winded and having to stop and rest for several minutes before heading home. Luckily I just felt winded, but the effects could be worse for other people who are only starting to run.
A lot of people I know, magazines, and I, would recommend starting to run 3-4 times a week for beginners. It might not seem very regular, but it should contribute to your body to start seeing some of the benefits to your health when you start running. In due time, you can increase your distance and push yourself as you see fit.
5. Don’t be Disheartened and Don’t Give Up!
Of all these steps, this is the most important one if you want to start running. You’ll be sweaty. You’ll be tired. You might not feel like you’re progressing. You might not feel like you’re going very fast. You might not feel like you’re very good at running. But to all of those feelings you’re having, I have one thing to say: IGNORE THEM (Feel free to bookmark this page if you start running and need to look at this several times to help you remember)!
I was only starting to run for the first time when I thought I was doing terribly. I thought I was slow, not feeling any changes to my body, and, most important of all, outright bad at it. So I stopped. I then didn’t run for around three weeks until I thought I’d try it again, and, I may not have been amazing, but I wasn’t as bad as I remembered. Yes, I almost had to start running all over again, but if I had stopped entirely, I wouldn’t have known that I could run at all. I may not have been in the right headspace before then (you are your own worst critic) but I’m so glad that I tried it again.
Running is a sport that you can’t really be bad at, and unless you enter races, your only opponent is yourself. Here’s a search result for beginner programs to help start running, if you’d like to find a structured plan. Running is also a sport you can do with friends. If you think you’ll find it easier to start running with people, look for a local running club, or try going out with your partner or some friends. The group mentality could be really motivational for you. Modifying what I said earlier, the only thing you really need to start running is yourself.
These are just five simple steps to help you start running, but there are more I can go into at another time. I hope you find them helpful! Have you wanted to start running, or are you a regular runner? Let me know in the comments below!
Until next time,