How To Start Running: 5 Tips to Help You Get Going

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Are you looking for a way to get in shape that’s light on the wallet?  Have you ever wanted to learn how to start running?

how to start runningMaybe you made a New Year’s resolution to run going into this year.  However, even though you went out and used your Nike or Under Armor gift card for a brand new pair of running shoes, they have only seen action once or twice at best.

Or maybe you were doing fine for a few weeks or months, but life happened and you got out of the running habit.  Now, you lost a lot of the progress you made.

Then again, maybe you ran for a long time in your high school or college days.  But, life got in the way and running fell by the wayside.

Do any of these scenarios sound like you?

If it does, that’s alright. I’m not writing this to pick on you.  But, I am writing this to call you out.

Are you going to learn how to start running or not?

Are you going to accomplish your goal and make running a habit or not?

The ultimate question is – are you going to change your life or not?

Yes, running can change your life. I know because it changed mine in a very positive way starting in July 2014 when I committed to training for my first half marathon.  Two and a half years later, I have completed the 2015 Philadelphia Marathon, 5 half marathons, and a few 10K and 5K races.  That along with hundreds of miles of training runs.

Running has increased my confidence and boosted my health. I have high blood pressure issues due to family history and weight – and running has helped lessen the dosage of my BP medication.

But, enough about me. This is about you.  How can we get you out there running and make it stick?

Here are five ways that helped me learn how to start running and stick with running for the long haul.

1. Drink plenty of water

Do you drink 8 cups of water a day?  No, I won’t tell your doctor if you don’t.  But, if you want to truly learn how to start running and stay healthy while doing so (especially on warmer days), you need to make sure you’re properly hydrated.  Now, if the recommended amount is 8 cups of water for a person that isn’t running, you better be sure that you will need to drink more water.  Heck, the Mayo Clinic says 13 cups for men and 9 for women – without running involved.

Make sure you’re drinking before, during, and after your run. You lose water throughout the day – and especially when you run.  It’s important to avoid those cramps and pains that come with dehydration.

2. Warm-up before doing anything.

I often get shin splints. It’s a tenderness and pain along the shin bone.  It gets worse if I haven’t properly warmed up my body for running.  Go for a light job and/or a brisk walk.  Then, stretch out your legs, arms and neck.  You want to be as loose as possible to prepare your body for the impact of running.

Some runners actually don’t stretch at all. If you’re starting out in that camp, I want to stress to you that properly warming up is as important as the run itself.  The last thing you want to do is have a pulled muscle hamper your progress – especially if you’re going from zero exercise to running.

3. It’s OK to walk.

Many people think they need to jump right into running nonstop without a break. That is absolutely the worst way to go and will leave you discouraged.  That’s why you’re at a standstill at the infancy of your running career.

Walk first. It’s not a bad thing.

You can do a light jog or brisk walk at the same pace you did your warm up. The point is to get out there.  It’s about forming the habit.  And it’s fine to start out small.

As James Clear explains, “Make it easy enough that you can get it done without motivation.”

4. Make sure you have the right shoes.

My issues with my shins almost went completely away after I purchased the correct running shoes. All throughout my cross-country days in high school, I was having shin problems.  To think that I could’ve solved a big part of my problem by getting the right shoes.

In an article in the UK Express, Nick Anderson, a running expert and founder of Running With Us, had this to say about getting the proper shoes:

Invest in a proper pair of running trainers from the word go to prevent injury and make the running more comfortable.

Go to a proper running store, explain you are new to running ask for a ‘gait analysis’ so that the trainers are properly chosen and fitted to your foot and running style.

Good running shops are there to help and make sure you speak to an experienced member of staff.

This is excellent advice and I can attest to the importance of proper running shoes. If you’re committed to this running thing, make the investment.  If you don’t have the money, save up for it and pay in cash.

5. Put running on the calendar

I don’t know how you operate, but I need things scheduled. I need to know what I’m doing with my time.  If I didn’t have a set schedule for my running, I doubt I would ever get to it.  It would always be something I could push off later in the day or for tomorrow.

By putting in on a wall calendar or in your phone, it’s a confirmed appointment with yourself. And your are “too busy” to reschedule with yourself.  Commit to this running habit by making it a priority.  It becomes a priority when it makes the calendar.  On the calendar, it’s a must-do not an option.

Now, I know things come up. I’ve missed workout runs too for family things or work things.  But, don’t make that an excuse to miss the next run.  Just keep pushing forward and getting yourself out there.

Might I suggest that you use a wall calendar at first. It’s the Seinfeld ‘joke-a-day’ method.  As the story goes, comedian Jerry Seinfeld created a habit of writing at least one joke per day.  Every day he wrote a joke, he got to cross that day off in red marker on a big year-long calendar.  The point was to string as many of those red X’s together without breaking the chain.

The same goes for you. Put running on the calendar.

Then, don’t break the chain.

OK, so you know how to start running.  Now get out there!

Listen, I know starting any habit or exercise program is difficult. But, be proud of yourself.  Not only are you here learning about how to better your finances, but you’re working on bettering your health too.  Good for you.

You’ve learned how to start running and what it takes to keep yourself out there.  Now, go run!  Seriously.  Go right now!

Have you recently started running?  Do you want to begin a habit of running or working out?  If so, share your thoughts and progress below.

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