How to Become a Runner in 5 Simple Steps

Ever wanted to try running? Or have you fantasized about the fitness benefits you’d get from running, yet fumbled over getting started? You’re not alone; it’s hard to know where to begin! Here are five failsafe tips on how to start running. Before you know it, you’ll be advising someone else on how to begin.

Step 1: Get Shoes

Go to a local running store. Tell them you want to take up running. Don’t be shy. People who work at running stores love running and will be eager to help you find a shoe that fits you properly. If you don’t live near a running store and have no clue what type of shoe you should buy, read this guide. Then follow this guide when you try shoes on (if you order a pair or multiple pairs). Get adequate winter running gear if you don’t have any. This means, a warm hat, gloves, running tights or pants, and top. No need to go overboard; If you have warm gear that doesn’t look like running gear, who cares? Try it out before buying a new wardrobe.

Step 2: Set a Time

Set a time to go on your first run of the year. That time becomes sacred. You put on your shoes during that time. You run during that time. If you plan to be the part, look and feel the part, you can be the part. The “part” is “a runner.”

Step 3: The Run (Outside)

Unless you have a really good reason for not running outside—there aren’t any I can think of other than two-inch-thick black ice on every sidewalk and trail within a 100-mile radius of you—you should run outside. The New York Times articulates all of the seasoned reasons. Namely, running outside allows for a natural stride, and you’ll likely enjoy it more than running inside. Not to mention, it’s free. Running on a treadmill or an indoor track should be reserved for workouts in which you want to hit specific times without environmental conditions getting in the way. If you live in a cold climate, make sure you really pay attention to the winter wardrobe recommended in Step 2.

Step 4: Start Easy

You can only go up from an easy run. If you’ve never run before, but consider yourself generally fit and athletic, try a 30-40 minute or 3-5 mile run your first go. If you’re truly new to running and aerobic exercise in general, start with 20 minutes, or 2 miles. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a smart watch. If you prefer to wear one and log your runs, follow these tips to ensure your watch doesn’t dominate your relationship with running.

Step 5: Expand Your Running Network

If you find yourself losing motivation after a few weeks of running, but want to continue to run—you know it’s good for you and you want to embrace it for the long haul—look up local running groups. Having a friend to run with or making running a social event is the fail-safe way to make running an integral part of your life. Before you know it, it’ll be June and you’ll be signing up for your first 5k, 10k, marathon or ultra—and with new friends!

What other tips do you have for beginner runners? Share below.

About the Author

Clare Gallagher is an ultrarunner for The North Face and travels extensively for races and philanthropic work. She studied coral ecology at Princeton University where she also ran cross country and track. Clare has taught English in Thailand where she started a non-profit environmental stewardship program, she has scribed in emergency rooms across Denver, and she writes regularly for various running blogs.

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    1. […] year. If everything from joining a gym to buying a treadmill isn’t within your financial sphere, try running! You know: the old-fashioned running outside, which is always […]

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