Step one as you start running as a total beginner
Firstly and very importantly – well done for looking online for this advice. You want to take the first step to becoming a runner – it’s really a great first step to take and you can absolutely do it. How to start running as a total beginner is not as daunting as it seems right now. It’s much easier than you’re thinking it is and we are going to give you our best advice to getting started with how to start running as a total beginner.
For the below advice we are assuming that you are a total beginner and haven’t run at all – ever! You might be running how to start running when overweight or how to start running when out of shape – well the answer is the same for all. It’s slow to start and one foot in front of the other.
Ready to put your best foot forwards? The answer to how to start running as a total beginner really is below and we are busting some myths. Let’s go.
All gear no idea – why your kit doesn’t matter very much when you start running as a total beginner
How should a beginner start running? Well you need a pair of trainers. When you’re starting out, an old pair will do. As you run longer distances it’s important you are getting the right support from those trainers – but in the beginning you’re only doing short distances so don’t worry about that. If you’re a woman with any kind of boobs you need a sports bra. Failing to invest in a good one will make the whole experience far less enjoyable!
Otherwise – a T-shirt or vest and a pair of leggings, shorts and joggers – that’s your lot.
If you can have fabrics that are sweat wicking, more is the better – but again don’t worry when you’re starting out if it’s just an old faithful cotton tee.
A pair of socks needed, to make sure those trainers don’t run. Again, there are fantastic running socks out there but for this beginning phase – don’t worry. Any pair will do.
So you’ve got your kit and now you’re ready for the next important step.
The first tough runs – the first few runs as a beginner
So we’re going to tell you something you probably know. Running is hard when you start. Because your body isn’t used to it. You’re going to be breathing heavily and you might sweat and you might think you can’t do it! But believe us it does get easier – and quickly too. And we are starting out very gently. But why are we sharing this? Because so many people quit running right as they start because it’s hard and they think that means they can’t do it. And honestly that isn’t true.
12 week training plan for beginners
Good news is we have written a simple and do-able 12 week plan for beginner runners right here. This takes you from no running at all through a 12 week programme where each month has a new focus.
Walk before you can run
We’ve got good news – if that plan seems too much you can even start out with a walk: run approach. This is a real bonafide running technique and it’s also perfect for beginners. Using a walk run approach will really help you progress when you start running as a total beginner.
It’s even got a name – it’s officially callled jeffing! We’ve got a beginners walk run programme here which you could follow. (Click here for the free beginner running plan.) The key is short runs – very slow jog pace, and then a walk to recover your breathing and then repeat.
What’s great about this approach is – you can cover much longer distance on those legs, it helps your body acclimatise to the exercise and you will enjoy it more – meaning you’ll keep coming back to it!
Connect to other runners
Have you got a friend you can bring on this journey? Or how about your partner or a child?
It’s nice to have someone to motivate you and you motivate them. When you’re looking to start running as a total beginner – having someone to support and encourage and keep you moving forwards (no pun intended) is a real help.
If you’ve got a friend who is already a runner – ask them to help. Yes we know it can feel difficult as you think you will slow them down or it will be embarrassing – but they will remember how it was when they started, be proud of you for trying and be happy to help you. One 30 minute ‘slow’ run for them a week is only going to be a good recovery run for them. You will be surprised how keen people are to enlist others to the cult of running!
If you don’t have a friend to enlist you could consider joining a running group. A group or friend to call on is such a mental help when you start running as a total beginner. We know this might sound frightening – but lots of groups are specifically designed for beginners. When times get tough someone telling you you can keep going may well be the thing that means you do just that!
Believe you are a runner and start running as a total beginner today!
We know when you’re starting it can be easy to doubt your ability. You compare yourself to others and think you’re slow, or only going a short distance or walking for half the time. Avoid unhelpful comparisons. Remember your only marker is yourself – noone else. Don’t compare yourself with others, especially those who have been running for longer than you have. Tune out any voices or opinions that might have a negative affect. And trust us – if you’re running you’re a runner and you are going much faster and further than everyone sitting on their couch watching the tv! Believing you are a runner is a huge step on the journey of how to start running as a total beginner.