Congratulations! You’ve decided to become a runner. Now what? Though the path ahead may seem daunting, take comfort in knowing millions of runners been right where you are: At the very beginning, googling “how to start running” and wondering, “Can I really do it?” The good news: You can! Here’s how:
Step 1: Declare Your Goal
Everyone runs for different reasons. Some start running with a certain race in mind. Others just want to have 30 minutes of mind-clearing solitude each day. Still others wish to lose weight or get in shape for something specific. There is no singular “right” reason to run, so long as it’s the right reason for you. What’s more important is that you know what that reason is, as your “why” will get in a pair of running shoes and out the door each day.
Step 2: Make A Plan
You wouldn’t set out to a new destination without a map to get there, right? The same philosophy should apply to your running. A training plan can serve as a roadmap for your running journey, giving you a clearly defined path to follow without inadvertent detours. Following a beginner’s training plan, keeps you from doing too much, too soon – a surefire recipe for injury and burnout. Many plans also emphasize the importance of cross-training and strength work, which are critical complements to staying healthy and injury-free.
Step 3: Get the Gear
Running requires very little in the way of gear: a pair of good shoes and comfortable workout clothes are all you need. That’s it. Down the line, you may want to invest in optional, but helpful gadgets and gizmos like a GPS watch or a hydration belt – let those be incentives for you as you develop as a runner! For example, set a goal to run four days per week for one month – if you achieve this goal, take yourself to the local running shop to treat yourself.
Step 4: Ease In
New runners often feel like becoming a runner requires – well, running. Many start out with the belief that walk breaks are somehow cheating or slacking off, when in actuality a run-walk method can be a great way to ease into the sport! Starting out with planned intervals of running and walking increases your fitness while reducing your chance of injury. Over time, you can reduce the duration of the walk interval.
Step 5: Take a Holistic Approach
A good run starts long before you ever put on a pair of running shoes. What you eat, how much water you drink, and how much sleep you get are all critical factors to your success as a runner. Treat your body like a luxury automobile, and fuel accordingly. Premium fuel, in the form of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and heart-healthy unsaturated fats, will keep your engine running. Water plays an essential role in maintaining overall health. And sleep is a critical part of the recovery process.
Step 6: Go Run!
How do you become a runner? You simply run! The running community is a large and diverse one – and we’re lucky to have you join our ranks. Welcome!