How to start running

July 12, 2017

I didn’t always used to be a runner. In fact, I hated running and would dread running in gym class. When I was a senior in high school, I joined the track team with my best friend so that we could get out of gym class and get a free period instead. We usually would spend the time jogging to her house, eating snacks, and then jogging back when the amount of time we were supposed to have been running elapsed.

When I was in medical school, I decided to start running.  This was mainly because my dad was a big runner and I wanted to join him on his runs. I remember going for my first run — I was completely out of breath.

So what are some tips for getting started running?

Find a Couch to 5K program

There are a lot of Couch to 5K programs out there. Some of them come in the form of apps (like this one – costs 2.99), others are just written out.  A few beginner 5K programs to check out: here, here.

Sign up for a race

Believe me when I say that running a race is a huge motivator to keep going. Once you cross the finish line, you will want to immediately go sign up for another race because it’s such a rush! It is so motivating to run with other people who have the same goal as you, and to see all the spectators cheering for you. Find a local 5K and train for it! I guarantee you will be hooked.

Find a running buddy

I took a running hiatus in residency and then got back into it during my chief year.  There were a lot of reasons I stopped running, but sometimes you just need a break, and that’s okay! Running will always be there for you when you are ready to come back. That being said, getting back into running can be somewhat frustrating because you feel like you are starting all over again.  Luckily for me, my husband decided to join me in starting a running routine and that was a HUGE factor in my success.  Running with a buddy not only makes the minutes & miles go by faster, but it also keeps you accountable.  On days I didn’t feel like running (ahem, the 9 miler we did the day after we got back from Europe) my running buddy kept me honest and motivated. I’m sure I did the same for him too.

Keep in mind, it’s okay if you walk!

It’s okay if you walk. I used to beat myself up if I walked at all, and then I just got over it. There are entire marathon programs designed around running and walking, and it can even be beneficial, such as faster recovery.  Plus, the more you run, the less you will need to walk.

Get fitted for running shoes

I probably should have put this one at the beginning, because honestly it’s the most important. If you want to start running, my biggest recommendation is that you go to a running store and get fitted for shoes. Don’t just order a pair on Zappos!  At the running store they will analyze your gait and pick the shoe that will work for you.  Running in the proper shoes will prevent injury, and in order to keep running you need to stay healthy!

Regardless of what you do, keep at it! In order for running to feel good, it does take some time. It will be worth it!

What are some other good tips for beginning runners? Comment below!


Photo Credit: Francesco Gallarotti

By Lia