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How to start running and running basics

Running is a favorite sport and pastime for many people. It's also one of the most accessible activities to get started with and something that you can continue to enjoy as you age. Running is for all ages and fitness levels. You are never too old to start! Many people have begun running even in their 60s and 70s!  

Health Benefits

Running has physical, mental, and even social benefits. You can pick up casual running as a hobby, train for a 5k, or even compete in races.

People choose to run for several reasons:

  • Its an effective cardio and aerobic workout
  • It is useful for weight loss and can increase your metabolism
  • It burns a lot of calories
  • Running can lower total cholesterol levels
  • Running relieves stress
  • It can boost energy levels
  • You can achieve a higher lung capacity
  • It can be done alone or with others


Different types of running

Running can be an indoor and outdoor sport. Here are some of the different types of running so you can choose the running styles that appeal to you.

Treadmill Running

Running can be an indoor activity. When the weather is terrible, you can continue to run indoors on a treadmill. A couple benefits of treadmill running is that it can be gentler on your joints and is more comfortable than outdoor running. On a treadmill, you can customize the pace, incline and there are often preprogrammed workouts to choose from.

Road Running

Road running is, and it is the most popular type of running. Road running is running outdoors on sidewalks, pavement, and paths. It's easy to begin, just lace up your running shoes and head out. It is vital to stay aware of your surroundings. Be on the lookout for cars, cyclists, and animals.

Trail Running

Running can be a great way to spend time around nature and breath refreshing fresh air. Trail running is usually done on hiking trails. Trail running can be done on various types of terrain. If you are running on a path, be prepared to sidestep roots, rocks and other obstacles depending on your trail terrain.


If you enjoy a good competition there are many races that you can train and compete in. From 5ks to half and full marathons, running in these races is a great way to push yourself and achieve new personal milestones. Many people who enter competitions do so intending to reach a new personal goal rather than winning the overall race. Many charities host 5k races, entering a charity 5k is a great way to socialize, run, and contribute to a good cause.

Track Running

Track running is an option many running like because of the safety and convince. Another benefit of track running is that it is easy to keep track of your distance. Track running is also an excellent place for speed workouts. Many local schools and colleges will have hours during the day where the track becomes available for public use.


How to start running

Running is a great way to stay in shape, and it can help you reach your health goals. Running is a cardio workout that is enjoyed by many people. One of the reasons it is so popular is because it is really easy to get started, all you need is a pair of running shoes.

Here are essential tips and pieces of advice as you begin to run.

Avoid injury

If you are entirely new to running or if you are getting back into it, there are a few tips and pieces of advice that can help you get started while avoiding injury.

Start out easy and gradually build up your speed, distance, and pace. If you have been sedentary for a long time, check in with your doctor for advice on your new exercise habits.

Shoes and gear

Running is a sport with a very low barrier to entry. All you really need to get started in a good pair of running shoes.

Different shoes offer different support. Look for a running shoe that is a comfortable fit. Consider your running style and what terrain you will most likely be running on. You can visit a local specialty running shop for advice and to get fitted for running shoes.

It is not required but running apparel that is lightweight and made of moister wicking fibers can make you are run more comfortable and dry.

Running safety

Find the right route. Think about what running route is the most appealing to you? It can be a treadmill, road, sidewalk, trail, or a combination. Find a route that feels safe and comfortable. Treadmills cane a cushioned alternative to the pavement and will be gender on your knees and joints. Tracks are also a great option as they offer a soft terrain, are traffic free, and it's easy to measure distance.

If you are running on the road, make sure you are going against traffic so you can see cars and cyclists approaching you.

Warm Up: Always do a 5 to 10-minute warm-up. This can be a walk or an easy job. There are also warm-up exercises and stretches that can prepare your muscles for the run ahead.

Cool Down: After you run, you should continue with a 5 to 10-minute walk or light jog. To avoid tight muscles, do some gentle stretching after you're cooling down.

Run/Walk method for beginners

It can be tempted just to go and run as fast as you can for as long as you can. Do not feel pressured to run fast. As you start out, try to run at a conformable pace. A good indicator is that you should be able to speak in full sentences. It doesn't matter how fast or slow you go, listen to your body and your breath. This is the best way to improve your endurance over time while avoiding injury.

You can even do a run/walk combination in a 2:1 ratio and alternate between the two. Do not be afraid of starting slow. If you are entirely new to running, you can even start by adding one minute of running for every four minutes of walking.

As you go on more runs, gradually increase the amount of time, you spend running. Eventually, you will be running twice the amount of time as you spend walking. With many runs, you will get to the point where you don't need to talk any walking breaks.

Posture and mindful running

Do not force yourself to run. While muscle snores will be typical as you get started, pay attention to any sharp pains or pain that confines or worsens as you walk. If you find yourself in this situation, you should rest for at least three days and even see a doctor.

Deep breathing: One of the best ways to avoid side cramps while running is to practice deep belly breathing before you run. As you are running, breath deeply.

Running posture: Relax your body and stand tall as you run. Losen your shoulders and release any tension in your arms and back. As you first start running, you don't have to worry too much about mastering a proper running form, but there are a few tips that can make you more comfortable.

  • Start with taking small strikes
  • Keep your elbows at about 90 degrees
  • Keep your hand relaxed
  • Stay tall and look straight out into the horizon or at least 10 to 20 feet infant of you
  • Avoid looking down at your feet, this will cause you to start slouching

Nutrition for runners

Once you start running, make sure you are keeping your calories and nutritional needs in balance. Your diet and eating habits will play a significant role in your performance during a run.

Before a run: Before you run, you should eat something like that is high in carbohydrates and low in fat, fiber, and protein. To avoid cramps or an upset stomach, finish eating at least 90 to 120 minutes before you start your run.

During a run: If you are planning on running for more than 90 minutes, you should consider replacing the calories and energy your burn. A general rule you can follow is to consume 100 calories after the first hour or running. Then for every additional 45 minutes, continue to consume another 100 calories. Many runners like to choose snakes that are easy to carry, nutrition, and even a good source of electrolytes. Great running snacks include energy gels, chew, sports bars, and sports candy.

After a run: Within 30 minutes of finishing your run, you should eat carbs and porin. A good ratio of carbs to protein is 3 to 1. Meal replacement shakes, and protein shakes can be an excellent option for post-run recovery.


How to stay motivated

At first, it can be hard to stay motivated, and willpower alone might not be enough. Here are a few tips you can use to help you make running a habit.

  • Make a plan: Make running a regular habit. This can be best accomplished if you create a weekly running schedule. The more often you practice, the more improvement you will see in your running.
  • Listen to music: Listening to music, audiobooks, and podcasts are a great way to entertain your mind and motivate you to go for a run.
  • Set reminders: Habit tracking apps can be a great tool to remind you to run and track you're running frequency.
  • Running apps: Using a running app can help you track your progress, and many apps have built-in achievement and personal milestones to motivate you to keep running. The social factor in many running apps lets you connect with friends, view each other's progress, and rank in leaderboards.
  • Run with friends: Running with a partner or group is a great way to motivate and socialize. There are many running clubs and groups. Check your local community and facebook groups to find a running partner or to join a running group.

Be patient

Progress and positive changes will take time if you are consistent. The key to progress is to keep a positive mindset, listen to your body, and take it one run at a time. Do not get discouraged, if you run, you are a runner. Do not compare your self to other runners.

Everyone was a new runner at one point. Runners are generally very friendly and welcoming people. While it can be intimidated running with more experienced runners, just try to remember that every runner was once in your shoes. I encourage you to ask them questions, as they would be thrilled to share a few words of wisdom they have learned with the experience.

Article Sources:

Hofmann, M., Young, C., Binz, T. M., Baumgartner, M. R., & Bauer, N. (2017). Contact to Nature Benefits Health: Mixed Effectiveness of Different Mechanisms. International journal of environmental research and public health, 15(1), 31. doi:10.3390/ijerph15010031

Kalak N, Gerber M, Roumen K, Mikoteit T, Yordanova J, Puhse Uwe, Holsboer-Trachsler E, Brand S. 2012. Daily Morning Running for 3 Weeks Improved Sleep and Psychological Functioning in Healthy Adolescents Compared With Controls. Journal of Adolescent Health; 51(6): 615-622

Tonoli DC, Cumps E, Aerts I, Verhagen E, Meeusen R. 2010. Incidence, risk factors and prevention of running related injuries in long-distance running: A systematic review injury, location and type. Sport & Geneeskunde; 43(5): 12-18.

Lee, D. C., Pate, R. R., Lavie, C. J., Sui, X., Church, T. S., & Blair, S. N. (2014). Leisure-time running reduces all-cause and cardiovascular mortality risk.*Journal of the American College of Cardiology*,*64*(5), 472ÔÇô481. doi:10.1016/j.jacc.2014.04.058

December 27, 2020
December 25, 2020

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