Have you ever seen a runner and thought to yourself, “I’d love to try running, but it looks really hard?” Running can be a little tricky when it comes to feeling comfortable with your gait and breathing, but the benefits of running far outweigh the intimidation factor.

Wondering if running is right for you and not sure where to start? This helpful step-by-step guide to running will help you make strides.

Benefits of Running

Running is highly accessible because you only need a pair of shoes to get started. Running works your cardiovascular system as well as all the large muscle groups in the lower body. According to Harvard Health [1], you can extend your life by several years with 5 to 10 minutes of low intensity running each day.

Running Shoes

Quality running shoes are the most important piece of equipment for this sport. It’s best to visit a store that specializes in running. That way an expert can help you find a pair of shoes that are right for your gait and foot shape. The right shoe will also help prevent injuries. When it comes to the support and cushioning necessary for a run, your beat-up pair of walking shoes aren’t going to cut it.

how to a start running program

Clothes for Running

You can run in almost any clothes that you feel comfortable wearing, as long as they are breathable and allow you to move. That said, avoid cotton running clothes. This is because cotton retains moisture and will make you cold when it’s damp. Special running socks will help prevent blisters and will keep your feet dry.

How to Stay Hydrated While Running

  • Before Your Run: Start off hydrated by drinking 17–20 fl. oz. about two hours before you go running.
  • During Your Run: Every 15-20 minutes, you should ideally be drinking approximately 5–10 fl. oz. of water.
  • Post-Run: Drink 16–24 fl. oz. of water for every pound you lost running. This will help your recovery and get your fluid levels back to an optimal level
Running Tips

You might find that you spend more time walking than running in the beginning, and that’s okay! You’ll eventually be able to run for longer periods of time by working your way up to it gradually.

Beginner’s Running Plan

First, start off by choosing an area to run in. Perhaps your ideal running spot is on a treadmill at the gym. Or maybe you’d rather be outside in the fresh air. If you decide to run outdoors, try to find a paved spot with asphalt or a dirt trail over concrete, which is harder on your body.

Try out this Exercise Plan:

  • Briskly walk for 10 minutes to warm up.
  • Transition into a light jog for about 5 minutes if possible (this is a relaxed, easy pace – you should still be able to talk).
  • Slow the pace down and walk for a few minutes to allow your body to recover.
  • Alternate between jogging and walking for 10-20 minutes, depending on your comfort level.
  • Each week, Increase the amount you run by 10% while decreasing the amount you walk.

Using this running plan, you’ll eventually be able to run for 30 minutes straight. Do this three times each week.