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How to Start Running

Updated on October 15, 2009

If you told me a year ago that I would be able to run a 5k easily and actually look forward to running, I would have called you nuts. But that’s exactly what has happened. Running started out as a way to keep up with my eight-year-old daughter, who was training for her first 5k, and has turned into one of the most enjoyable parts of my life. And if I can do it, anyone can.

iPhone Apps

Your best friend running? That would be Pandora, or some other web-based radio that you can turn on and forget. I know there are some other great running apps on the iPhone, and I’d love for you to share those in the comments.

Gearing Up

I have not always enjoyed running, but I’ve always respected the efficiency and convenience of it. You are probably way too busy to take a lot of time out for exercise. The beauty of running is that it’s free and it’s always there. Until you get serious (whatever that means) about running, you don’t need fancy shoes or clothing. All you need is the pavement, which I realize some critics warn against, but as long as it’s okay with your doctor and you don’t overdo it, the street is fine.

Starting Slow

When I started running I would run one block and then walk two. I worked my way up until I could run two blocks and walk one. Slowly I built up my run/walk ratio until I was at the point where I could measure my progress in minutes. I started with ten, then fifteen, and soon I was up to twenty – a respectable amount of time to run. I stayed there quite a while before moving up to twenty-five minutes, then thirty. It was at this point I started to count the miles. Two, three, and now four on a good day. All this has taken a couple of years. With running, ironically, there’s no rush.

Pacing Yourself

Working up the time or distance of your run is great, but it’s just as important to accept that not all days are going to be good running days. One day you may make it five minutes and have to stop. Listen to your body. Don’t push yourself too far or too fast. Know that it’s normal to feel really, really exhausted when you first start running. Your lungs will sting and your legs will ache. If you take a week off, you’ll feel like you’re starting over from scratch. But you’re not. Over time your body will adjust. But it takes a lot of time and patience. The reward is that once you develop a taste for running, you will crave the release it gives, not to mention the ability to eat brownies and still fit into your jeans.

Image Credit: mikebaird


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  • Didge profile image

    Didge 5 years ago from Southern England

    :)P Great hub and a good addition to Hubpages! Thank you for sharing!

  • Joel McDonald profile image

    Joel McDonald 8 years ago from Denver, Colorado

    Nice tips! I ran in college and for years afterward. I haven't run for years, and every time I try to get back into it, I try to pick up right where I left off, try to run several miles, and about kill myself!

    I need to heed your advice, and just start slow & build my way back up.

    Thanks for sharing! You've earned yourself another fan.

  • profile image

    MrsMoe 8 years ago

    Serenity Live: Lela is absolutely right, the music makes ALL the difference. As far as having the determination, just ask yourself: "If I don't start today, where will I be 3 months from now? 3 YEARS from now?" Take it one day at a time, you WILL have results!

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 8 years ago from United States

    Good advice. Listen to your body is so important. I used to run but arthritis has stopped that, but I still walk a mile or two a day.

  • Philipo profile image

    Philipo 8 years ago from Nigeria

    Very nice. Wouldn't mind joing you in a race.

  • harrisdy profile image

    hdy 8 years ago from Texas

    great hub! it is really difficult to discipline and stick to it but your hub is very inspiring. thanks!

  • Lela Davidson profile image

    Lela Davidson 8 years ago from Bentonville, Arkansas

    My best advice is the music! You'll get the craving for that long before you actually like to run!

  • Serenity Live profile image

    Serenity Live 8 years ago from Midwest

    Ug, I've been looking for some specific advice about this. I still don't know if I have the determination to get started, especially if takes a while to develop the taste for it. But this is great advice and inspiring too.

  • profile image

    MrsMoe 8 years ago

    This is exactly how I got to the point of doing 3 miles even though I'm close to 56 now with a bad back. Great advice!