Running 101: Running for Beginners

So, you’ve decided to start a running program. Although you may be full of excitement, you may also feel slightly anxious. I’m sure you are asking yourself several questions like, how far, how fast, how often, and so on. Just follow these simple tips and your running anxiety could easily turn into a lifelong hobby.

Let’s first talk shoes. Before you start your program, you must think about your footwear. Will you be running on terrain or the street? You need to make sure your shoes compliment the type of exercise that you will be performing. If you will be running on the street or inside on a treadmill, it is imperative that you wear a shoe specifically for running. Typically, you can get 400-600 miles out of your running shoes. It’s a large range, I know, but your build, running style and training load all factor into what end of that range your shoes will fall. If you are feeling sore arches, shin pain or achy knees, then I suggest you look into a new pair of shoes.

Now that you have the right footwear, you are ready to hit the pavement! If you are starting your running program for the first time or have been off of your regimen for more than three months, I suggest you start with walking for two minutes and jogging for one minute. Do this in intervals for up to twenty minutes to start. Let’s define jogging… How fast is a jog? You should be able to carry on a conversation as you jog. Twenty minutes, three times a week for the first two weeks is a great start to your running program. As this interval becomes easier for you, interchange your jogging and walking; walk for one minute and jog for two minutes. Do these intervals until you can easily work up to jogging for the full twenty minutes. 

Many of us have experienced side stitches or cramps. Side stitches are caused by a lack of oxygen in your GI muscles. To stop them, exhale hard and long while bending over at the waist. To relieve other muscle cramps, be sure to hydrate prior to exercising and stretch after your first two minutes of walking. Once you have completed your exercising for the day, do not forget to stretch. Many of us are so tired from our vigorous workout that we underestimate the importance of stretching once we are done. Spending the proper amount of time stretching at the end of your workout will not only help you relieve soreness, but will also detour future injuries. Good luck and happy trails!

Allison Robb can be reached at She specializes in women’s & children’s fitness, speed & agility, and has over 20 years experience!