“I want to start running, but I’m not sure where to begin?”
Although running is a simple activity in theory, there is quite a bit of complexity to it especially when it comes to competitive training. I’m going to help navigate these complexities to avoid injury, as well as maximize training to reach your full potential. There are common mistakes both new runners and veterans alike fall into so my goal is to help avoid those as well as foster a better understanding of how to safely start a running program that you can continue for the rest of your life.
This is one of the top reasons why millions of people begin and continue running. It requires minimal equipment and you can do it anytime, anywhere. You don’t need a fancy gym with eight thousand different machines. The beauty of running is in its simplicity. A good pair of shoes (and that’s even debatable these days) and comfortable clothing are really all you need. There are a couple of other essentials I will recommend to not only make running more enjoyable but keep you safe out on the roads or trails. Here’s my basic yet crucial equipment list to get you started:
- Comfortable clothes that are weather appropriate
- ID bracelet and/or phone
- Visibility gear if you’ll be spending time running early morning or late evening (blinking lights, neon clothes/vest, etc)
If you gather the above basics, you’ll be off to a good, safe start to your running career.
This is where I get the most questions from someone wanting to start a running program and is one of the crucial components in safe, healthy running. I recommend for both new and alum runners that fell off the running wagon to start with 2-3 days a week of running at first. Now, everyone is different so this isn’t to say a new runner couldn’t start with 4-5 days a week, but I generally don’t recommend it because it’s always easier to increase the frequency of running because you’re feeling good rather than have to drop down in days due to pain or injury.
Beginning with 2-3 days is enough to improve your fitness and get you used to running while avoiding injury as long as those 2-3 days are within a reasonable duration and intensity. After at least 2-3 weeks of 2-3 days per week, you likely can either add another day or increase the duration of one or two of the runs.
Again, each person is unique so while one person may be able to progress after 2-3 weeks, I work with many people that stay in that range for a month or two. We all have unique traits and needs so don’t try to be like your neighbor or the random person on the sidewalk that tries to race you when they run next to you. You are not them and they are not you, so don’t get caught up in a routine that’s not based on your needs and current fitness level.
So You Want to Be a Runner?