So You Want to Start…Running

Jacquelyn Brennan
by Jacquelyn Brennan
Share it:
So You Want to Start…Running

So you want to start running. Great!

Running is a great form of cardiovascular exercise–to be honest, my favorite. I have been running since I was 17 years old and fell in love fast. I love working up a sweat quickly, having the time alone to think, destress, and the endorphin high I get is unlike anything else. Two of the most important things to remember when trying something new; you might not be very good at it when you start and it might not be easy.

After working with numerous clients over the years I have found there are some key things one can do to find success:

1. Have a plan! You have to start small. Running is a process and you have to respect your body. Try going for a run/walk; a few minutes of running followed by a few minutes of walking and repeating that allowing yourself to build up to a straight run. A great app called C25K, which also syncs with MyFitnessPal, coaches you telling you exactly how to progress.

2. Get fitted for proper running shoes for YOUR foot. Feet are very unique. The wrong running shoe can result in discomfort, pain, and ultimately injury.

3. Cross train. Running is very repetitive. While running you use the same muscles over and over again in a linear (forward) only motion. It is important for our bodies to be balanced muscularly to avoid injury. It is also important to cross train to avoid burnout. Yoga, Pilates, strength training and swimming are great forms of exercise that compliment running, helping to keep you healthy and strong.

4. Find a buddy or join a running group. Having a partner will help you stay motivated, inspired, committed and it is great to be able to encourage one another. A little positive peer pressure can be a great thing.

5. Invest in quality exercise clothing. 100% cotton and running do not go together. Moisture wicking fabrics are best to prevent chafing, skin irritation and worst of all blisters. If you aren’t sure where to start quality running socks in my opinion are key. When your feet hurt, every step hurts.

6. Start stretching! A good dynamic warm-up is great to “warm-up” your body. Post run, a 5-10 minute stretch session is very helpful. It will help ward off soreness and potential injury.

7. Make friends with a foam roller. It may look a little funny but foam rolling can provide similar benefits to a deep-tissue massage. With regular use, it can increase flexibility and decrease tension in muscles which can prevent injuries and improve performance.

8. Stay safe. If you are heading out alone, carry your phone, a small amount of cash in case of an emergency. Also, let someone know and take an ID with you, or better yet get yourself a RoadID. Map out your course before hitting the pavement by using an online tool like MapMyRun.

9. Fuel and hydrate. Check out these fueling tips from Elle, the MyFitnessPal RD & Runkeeper. As an added bonus, if you track your runs with Runkeeper, they’ll automatically sync with your MyFitnessPal exercise diary so all you have to do is log your fuel!

10. Sign up for a race! Having a goal is a great way to get and stay motivated. Rather than being overly ambitious and registering for a marathon, start with something you know you can achieve, like a 5K!

11. Have fun! Grab a buddy, listen to music or podcasts you enjoy. Soak up the sunshine (when it’s out) and make sure you enjoy the fresh air.

Remember, the key to enjoying, and sticking with running is starting small, pacing yourself, being comfortable and making it fun! You’ll be able to go farther and faster eventually–but if you don’t enjoy the process from the get-go, you may never get there. If you eventually decide running isn’t for you, there are plenty of other ways to be active–at least you gave something new a shot!

About the Author

Jacquelyn Brennan
Jacquelyn Brennan

Jacquelyn Brennan is a health and wellness expert who shares her knowledge daily at Fitsouffle. She holds a degree in kinesiology, and currently teaches Pilates, group exercise, and is a Certified Personal Trainer. Jacquelyn loves inspiring others to get moving, stay healthy, eat well, and learn how to exercise effectively.


23 responses to “So You Want to Start…Running”

  1. Avatar JameicaDenise says:

    Great pointers, I would love to start running that’s a goal of mine.. Im in the 300’s so running is something that I wont do for awhile.. I attempted to run 3 days ago and I did for about 75 meters and I was out of breath, but I was proud of those 75meters… My plan is to start a partial run/walk this week.. Hopefully I can update you on my progress.

  2. Avatar Jamara says:

    Love this blog. Most of your key points are things I have achieved. I began running about the end of October and I could barely run 100 yards(if that). But with practice, patience, confidence, and planning, I have now reached a new goal of 10 mins straight.. About a mile 🙂 But to anyone just starting out, just keep at it and have patience.. You’ll make it! -take it from someone who’s still pushing 🙂 🙂 🙂

  3. Avatar coccolino30 says:

    Very good points. I started in March and I wasn’t able to run for 2min and now I can do it for 40min, on the treadmill. Couch to 5k is a very good program indeed. One question: I still find it difficult and I find myself out of breath sometimes :). Is it going to get easier? I want to do a half marathon in June.

    • Avatar Britt17 says:

      coccolino30 – I don’t know if it got easier for you yet, but I started running in February and did a half marathon at the beiginning of May. I find it helpful to get a gps watch (I went with a basic Garmin) and keep an eye on my speed. I now am aware of how fast I’m going and what my comfortable pace is and what pace is pushing it for me.

    • Avatar eph says:

      Yes, it will be easier. Be consistent with your training, but don’t rush it.

  4. Avatar dpwellman says:

    Absolutely crucial to get fitted. Probably twice (to mitigate the subjective aspects). Runners are obsessive about socks for a reason. Most swear by swiftwick or balega. I am completely enamored with icebreaker, though (before that was Nike Elite Structure, long since discontinued,).

    Finally, if you have issues with sweat in your eyes,most people have heard of SweatVac or Halo, but I prefer GUTR

  5. Avatar Mama says:

    I did the C25K at the end of 2011. In March of 2102 I ran my first 5k. It is such a great accomplishment! I stopped running and gained a tremendous amount of leg flab. My new treadmill will be here in a week and I will be starting c25k again! Running is hard for me, but when I hit my 2.5k and turn around for the homestretch it is so awesome!

  6. Avatar Bonnie Warner Long says:

    I feel like I battle this mentality that I have to be a certain “weight” to start running. I feel like when I run, I can walk that fast too.

    • Avatar Chez1118 says:

      I feel that way also about my running. I’m so slow but a fast walker! And yet I want to be a runner! It’s all mental!

    • Avatar Alice says:

      I felt the same as you and at over 200lbs I wanted to ‘loose weight first’ but this year my goal has been to get fit and any weight loss is a positive. I did the c25k app which is great but I found I needed proper running shoes otherwise I had aches and pains. I completed my first 5k last month and it felt amazing!!
      I used a misfit shine all year and I have walked, cycled, and run daily (it even works when swimming!). I’ve travelled over 1500 miles in one way or another since January and it feels great.
      I sync with myfitnesspal and map my run.
      Life is Good – enjoy it!

  7. Avatar Pamela Black says:

    Great article. I did want to note, you mentioned you run to “distress”. I think you meant to use the intransitive verb, “de-stress”, meaning to relax.

  8. Avatar Liv says:

    I wouldn’t recommend you buy running shoes online, especially not if it’s your first pair. You really need to go into a shop and get properly fitted. Running shoes are not the same as regular trainers.

  9. Avatar Adam Riggs-Zeigen says:

    And don’t forget that great tunes can not only actually make you better at running (or walking) but they can help you enjoy it more. The app RockMyRun is perfectly suited for this as it has music by beat per minute (pace) and you can edit the music to sync with your pace. Check it out, it’s free! (full disclosure, I do work there 🙂

  10. Avatar Gretchen Hill says:

    pointers! Running is one of my favorite, it helps me feel healthy. Well at
    first it was very difficult but at the end of the day you will feel the
    freshness and being healthy.

  11. Avatar Barb says:

    How old are all of you because I am in my 50’s, 143 lbs and have trouble running longer than 3 minutes. Will it get easier for me?

    • Avatar alikat says:

      Slow down! If you’re having a hard time going longer than a couple minutes, it very well may be that you’re just trying to go out too hard. A slow jog or jog-walk intervals will allow your body to grow accustomed to the new motions and you’ll see great improvements before long!

    • Avatar oldie says:

      Just read your post. I’m 67 and have managed to run for an hour. Love it! It has taken a couple of years but. Feel like a different woman now.

  12. Avatar wendyjj says:

    These are great pointers. I really committed myself to learning to run a while back and after several months I did make a lot of improvement. However, I just don’t like running. I find it to be a very boring chore. So I am glad to see the article state that it is okay not to like running. I prefer to take step and weight classes as well as yoga.

  13. Avatar Sassy says:

    I love exercising. I jog/walk and now I can run for forty minutes straight. Exercising is great , am never bored of it.

  14. Avatar Tcrase1021 says:

    After losing 40 lbs I decided to start adding some running. I used the C25K app and am making progress. My problem is for two days after a running workout I’m hungry ALL THE TIME. I drink lots of water but my stomach growls all the time. Any advice?? I try not to exceed my daily calories but sometimes I’m so hungry I can’t help it.

    • Avatar Karen says:

      Try a protein shake (like Sculpt) with a handful of frozen berries thrown in. Low calories and fill you up!

    • Avatar wenders 5012 says:

      If your hungry two days after could it be that you didn’t eat the right foods before your run. I was chatting to a friend about this. It may be worth looking into….

  15. Avatar only human says:

    Have you tried your local fitness center or community center.I found a great group of people of various fitness levels to help And tag along with for free. Most people Are eager to help when they see you are committed to being healthier.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Never Miss a Post!

Turn on MyFitnessPal desktop notifications and stay up to date on the latest health and fitness advice.


Click the 'Allow' Button Above


You're all set.