How To Start Running


I tend to reserve more in-depth discussions for Tuesday, formerly known as Three Tip Tuesday. Lately I have dropped the Three Tip part and find myself simply sticking to topics rather than looking for three tips. Topic Tuesday? 

A few of you have asked me recently to address running for beginners, including one of my close friends who is also a blog reader.

how to start running

My friend recently lost some weight and with that loss of weight went away her nagging knee pain. Since her knee feels way better, she is interested in attempting to run.

My initial response when she asked me how to start was simply – step outside and just go. Go run.

I know it isn’t that simple. But in some ways it just is.

Rather than rattle off lots of technical terms and cite training plans and articles, I decided that the best way to begin to answer this question is to briefly tell you how I went from doctor’s notes excusing me from running in gym class to running over 40 miles a week at a pace that many people consider rather fast.

Pace is just relative in my opinion.

This really is the beginning of discussion on this topic. We can’t possible cover all the bases and logistics in one post but we need to start somewhere.

By now you must know that I hated running growing up. I avoided those physical fitness tests like the plague, hated to break a sweat and fainted on cue at any point that I exerted myself beyond walking, especially at that time of the month.

Then I joined the gym when I was seventeen and everything just changed.

I slowly learned to love a good 30 minutes a day of exercise most days of the week which often involved some cardio, a few weights and the occasional group fitness class. Nothing crazy.

My father was always a runner but I thought he was insane with all those races and marathons although eventually I dabbled a bit in pressing the speed button up on the treadmill on occasion to jog.

Sometimes it worked and sometimes I was quick to return to walking.

The more 30 minute sessions I did at the gym, the more fit I became over time.

At some point in my late teens, early twenties I pressed that button up a bit more on the treadmill and found myself able to handle running a few minutes at a time.

When I say pressing the button up, I mean I was running at 4.5 on average and I recall being super excited to hit 5.0 and then a 5.5 speed and heck even a 6.0 which required a phone call to my father at work to tell him how fast I went for a whole minute!

You can’t rush your pace. You can’t wake up one day, feel inspired by a runner’s blog and suddenly just run 13 miles at an average pace of 8:00 min/mile.

What you can do though is step outside. Or step on a treadmill. And just try to run. Even if running on that treadmill means 4. 5 or even slower.

When I began running outside, I didn’t even care about my pace. I just wanted to run without feeling like I needed to drop to the ground.

It took some time. Believe me.

In the beginning, (and even quite often now), I didn’t push myself to go faster than what was comfortable.

I just went slow enough to not burn out. Slow enough to be able to keep going. Slow enough to gradually get myself used to running and eventually realized I was able to run three miles without stopping.

Over time, what is comfortable becomes faster and faster.

Honestly, three miles at a time and running faster really didn’t happen on a consistent basis until a few years ago when I made running my focus and fitness priority.

And those three miles I eventually became able to run? Easily took me 35-40 minutes (if not more) at first. On a good day.

But I kept at it and got better. I didn’t focus much on the distance part back then so much as time. I was more about being able to run for a minute, five minutes, ten minutes and eventually thirty minutes.

I never followed a training plan or paid much attention to the logistics. I didn’t really have or need a goal to focus on because my routine and the feeling you get from running (endorphins!) was enough for me.

Although, I did start signing up and running a few races.

bellmore race

This picture is from the first four mile race I ran back in July 2012. I didn’t even wear Lulu Lemon or much in the way of sweat-wicking material back then.

I know I talk a lot about your essentials and apparel and what to wear but as you see in the picture above, it’s not totally necessary.

But a good pair of running shoes that properly fit and support your feet is crucial.

adidas energy boost

If your feet aren’t comfortable and supported in the right spots for your arch and toes and stride, no way are you going to be able to keep at it.

I cannot stress enough how important it is to have your foot measured and fit at your local runners shop in order to find the right shoe for you.

If you aren’t sure where your local runners shop is, google it or ask me to help you. You can also check the Runner’s World shoe guide for assistance in determining the proper sneaker for your foot.

Perhaps the investment in the right pair of shoes will also offer you some incentive to actually use them.

I don’t want to overload this post (which I may have already done) but I do hope that from my brief detailing of my running experience, you realize that even you can run.

There is so much more at play – what you eat, when you eat, rest days, overtraining, injuries, running during pregnancy, after pregnancy, with a stroller – but we can get to all of these details as we go.

I do want to leave you today with some great running blogs to follow in case you don’t already:

Fuel Your Future With Tina  – Tina is an elite runner (as in really fast and runs for the Saucony Hurricanes Team)

The Hungry Runner Girl Is there anyone out there who doesn’t already follow Janae and her adorable daughter?

Run Eat RepeatMonica makes me laugh and I like to laugh

Picky RunnerSarah and I share a common love for sweets and running

You can also check out my Running section at the top of this page which contains previous running-related posts you may have missed.

If you have anything in particular you wish for me to cover about running, please let me know so that I get to your questions in my next post on this topic!

*What works for me may or may not work for you. I definitely advise that you consult with your doctor before beginning any form of exercise program. And remember, it’s great to be motivated and to push yourself but if you don’t feel well, STOP!


We didn’t talk food at all today. Tell me what you are having for breakfast please.

Favorite running blogs?

Which sneakers are you loving at the moment?



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    • says

      I believe I read your post about how you starting running just yesterday, right? Is it just me or does your blog not let me leave comments? I always want to comment but can’t find the spot for a…My dad and I always joke about how much faster I am than he EVER was. I actually asked him the other day to think about putting together some thoughts for some posts as a guest poster for me down the road just to show how you don’t have to be fast to enjoy running. He finished many a race last. I call him the caboose. lol

      • says

        Yes it was, thank you for reading 🙂 No it’s not just you, I believe only Tumblr readers can leave comments….ahhh, this is something I’m divided about. I might write a blog post on why I don’t have any comments, as a few other people have asked me about it lol! What would be really great for blogging is if Bloglovin could pump out a universal commenting system. But I’m not sure if that’s going to happen, so I might have to give up on waiting and add them in haha.

        I 100% support dads as guest bloggers, I think that’s a great idea 🙂
        Mike @ FitFriend recently posted…That time when I used to hate runningMy Profile

  1. says

    Aw thanks for the shoutout! You know how I love my sweets 😉 I’m pretty sure we ALL know Janae at this point. She was the first blog I ever read. I love hearing about how people got into running and I love helping others get into it. It’s such an amazing feeling to inspire others to do something we love 🙂
    Sarah @pickyrunner recently posted…#HHHalf Race Recap 5k, 10kMy Profile

    • says

      I feel like we all know Janae but then I remember that we have so many readers who aren’t bloggers or big into the blog world and may not so sometimes I try to state what I find obvious just in case lol. I am determined to meet up for dessert one of these days!

  2. says

    See, reading things like this is brilliant for someone struggling to get into running because it emphasizes the PITA that is taking up a running routine. It’s tough. It hurts. It burns. BLAH! But it IS awesome to see that progress, even if it’s super slow. It’s easy to get disheartened when you read about some of these runners running an “easy” 10 miler when you can hardly do 3 without stopping, but it helps to be reminded that everyone has to start somewhere 🙂
    Amanda @ .running with spoons. recently posted…. rice krispie stuffed dates .My Profile

    • says

      I often say I ran 10 miles without realizing it or seven miles without planning it but each one of those steps require effort. Even an easy run requires you to show up and move. You know I don’t follow a plan or training schedule but the one thing I do stick to is pacing myself where comfortable. From comfortable, I then choose to speed up for intervals, speed work, races etc. But that comes with time and isn’t always necessary.

    • says

      Don’t be nervous just remember to go slow. Even if it feels slow, stay at “slow” in order to keep going. Eventually, you get used to going slow and build up your endurance which will allow you to run further and longer and suddenly, a little faster won’t tired you out the same way. You can do it!

      • says

        I did it! I ran a full 4 miles at a reasonable pace! I found a running buddy and we even chatted the whole time. Well, I mostly listened because I’m still working on my lung capacity! The first thing I thought when I finished was that I just had to tell you lol. Now they want to run 6 on Friday … Hmmm

        Thanks for the advice!
        Heather @ PrettyHealthyMostoftheTime recently posted…WIAW #11: Home AloneMy Profile

        • says

          I am so happy for you! You can totally do the 6 mile run. It’s only 2 more than the 4 mile run and if that sounds overwhelming, think of it as only a certain number of minutes more. I do that all of the time – when I have two miles left and I am tired, I say – it’s easily less than 20 minutes more. I can handle this!

  3. says

    Awww thank you friend 🙂 Great post! Lots of helpful information for new runners, and I would love to help anyone out who needs me 🙂