Coach Laura Fountain shares her top tips for beginners on how to start running
5 tips on how to start running
With so many people starting running in the past two years, it may feel like you’re the last person in the world to become a beginner runner. And it won’t be long before you’re out there doing laps of the park too. Here’s a few running tips for beginners to help you on your way.
1. Walk before you run
The best way to start your running journey is by using a run/walk method. This means you’ll run for a couple of minutes followed by a couple of minutes walking to recover before repeating. As you get fitter, your run sections will get longer and your walks less frequent until you’re running non-stop. Follow one of our beginner plans for guidance..
Run/walking will help you avoid getting injured and allow you to carry on going for longer each session. If you’re clocking your distance with an app on your phone or a watch, remember your walk breaks count towards your total distance too and you might just be surprised how many km you clock up.
2. Establish a routine
You might find you’re full of enthusiasm for starting running in the first week, but then struggle to keep your motivation levels up. That’s why it’s important to get into a routine. Set aside 30 mins, three days a week for doing your runs and try to make it a habit.
Training with other people makes it far easier to stick to a routine. You’re making a commitment not only to yourself, but to them too and that means you’re less likely to break it. You can find a group to run with – England Athletics RunTogether is a good place to search for local groups. Having a session one evening a week that you go to is a great way to set time aside to run and stick to it.
3. Track your progress
You may also feel your motivation dip in the first few weeks as you realise that starting running is actually quite hard. Maybe you’re starting to doubt your ability to become a runner. It might help to know that you’re not the only one to feel like this – most people will find it hard, but you can do it.
Keeping a log of your runs can help motivate you. If you feel like giving up or that you’re not making any progress, you can look back at those early runs and see how far you’ve come. You can use an online log such as Strava, or just use a notebook.
4. Set yourself a goal
Whatever level of fitness you’re starting from, having a goal and seeing your progress towards it can be a real motivator. Maybe your goal is to run for 20 mins non-stop, or completing your first 5k, or running your regular loop of the park a little bit faster than you have before. Set yourself a target to work towards, whatever that is.
If you’ve set your sights on a big goal like being able to run a half-marathon, make sure you give yourself enough time to build up gradually (check out half-marathon plans) and set yourself some intermediate goals to tick off along the way. This might be completing your first 10k or running a certain number of kilometres each month.
5. Supplement your running
As well as solely running, it’s important to start doing some strengthening exercises too. Add in two strength sessions making sure you include some core exercises and they only need to be 10-20 mins for now. If you enjoy yoga or pilates, these count or you can find plenty of workouts to follow online.