How to Get Started Running: A Guide for Beginners

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If you’re looking for a tried and true path to fitness, this post about how to get started running should be a perfect fit!

Running, generally speaking,  is good for you (I know not everyone agrees with this :)). If you want to start a running program, but find it hard to get up and actually do it, this article is for you.  Often it’s beginners who find it difficult to get motivated to run, but veteran runners can also find themselves stagnating. Here are a few tips to help motivate you to run, even when you don’t really want to.

Getting Started

1. Start Slow

If you’re just starting to run or you are getting back to it after backsliding, you’ll need to be careful not to run too hard or for too long. You need to build up your endurance again, and the best way to do that is to start small and build your way up a little bit each day. This will help to ensure you aren’t too sore to run the next day and that you don’t get injured from overdoing it.

2. Walk, Then Run

If you are out of shape or overweight, you may need to begin with walking before you can run. Start your routine with a 30-minute walk two or three times a week. Once you can do this without getting overly tired, add intervals of running or walking quickly for a few minutes before slowing again. You can safely build up in this way until you are able to run the full distance you have set,  without overexerting yourself.  

3. Add On Slowly

Once you feel you can run the entire distance without getting too tired, you can begin working up to longer distances. Add a few minutes every week until you are happy with how far you can go, but be careful not to add too much distance too quickly.

4. Up The Intensity

Patience is a virtue–especially when it comes to increasing your exercise routine.  It’s important to give your body time to adjust. It might take a few months before you are fully used to your running routine. Once you are, if you’re still looking to up the ante, you can gradually increase the intensity (harder routes) and speed of your running.

5. Stick To The Plan

It’s quite common to want to forget these steps in a bout of enthusiasm over starting or returning to an exercise routine. This can lead to pushing a bit too hard, too fast. Remember that safety and giving your body time to adjust are vital to your success. You and your body will know when it’s time  to go farther or faster. Proceed with care.

Keeping Yourself Motivated

1. Don’t Run Alone

Find a friend who also wants to run, and help motivate each other. It’s likely that on days you aren’t really feeling it, they will be raring to go, and vice versa. Find someone you really enjoy spending time with, as this will offer the added benefit of time with a friend.

2. Always Start, Even If You Don’t Finish

Getting started is the hardest part of running regularly. Whether you are running daily or just a couple of times a week, the most vital step is to get your running shoes on and go. Once you’ve gotten started, you’re likely to have much less trouble continuing and finishing your run. Even if you don’t run or walk your full target distance, the fact the you got started and did even a little of it will help make it a habit.

3. Have Fun

If you don’t pay attention to the right things, you won’t want to keep going. Don’t focus on the monotonous pace or the soreness in your muscles. Focus on your favorite music, the beauty of nature, or your conversation with your running buddy. Running can be a morning meditation or a cathartic release, so take control and don’t let it be just a task you don’t want to do every day.

Hopefully this guide on how to get started running has been useful for you.

If you want to read more about fitness, visit the Fit For Life page.


Exercise is a good HAPPINESS habit. Check out the rest in my 30 Days Challenge.

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About Cate

I am a retired RN–stayed home after my second child was born, having worked for 10 years. I am in my mid-50s now, and I enjoy blogging, designing mugs and more and spreading a bit of positivity in the world.

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