The two most popular questions I get from this blog are these:

  • What kind of running/workout shoes do you recommend?
  • How do I get started as a runner?

A friend asked me the latter last week and I decided I should put together a post on just that.

It makes me excessively happy that people have found inspiration to beginning running from reading my blog and I’d love nothing more than to help. There was a time when I wasn’t a runner either but you can change things if you wan to.

1. Just Get Started. Stop talking about it, stop thinking about it, just do it. You don’t need the perfect day to start running, you just need to do it. So put on your shoes and go. On your first day, you aren’t going to need a whole lot of time so no more excuses!

2. Set Achievable Goals. Like very achievable. On Day 1, maybe you only challenge yourself to running 1/4th of a mile. And by running, I mean jogging. Everyone’s current fitness level is different so set something that is doable to you. If you are just getting back into working out, maybe walking a mile is day 1. Each week, add a little more. Write it down before so you can follow a plan.

3. Vary your running workouts. Don’t set out to do the same path, speed, level everyday. Sometimes, use the treadmill. Sometimes, go the way you don’t normally go. Sometimes, include a few sprints. Sometimes listen to music, sometimes don’t. If you don’t mix it up, you will get bored, you will. And if you think you “need” music every time, you don’t (outside running at least.)

4. Expect everyday will be different. Somedays, you will feel on top of the world and like running is what you were meant to do. Other days, your legs will feel like lead and you will wonder why you are doing this. Like in life, running is all over the place so don’t use one day to judge how you feel about it.

5. Slow Down. I work with new runners all the time at Back on My Feet. The biggest mistake I see is people trying to run too fast too early. If it feels impossible, slow it down. Slow it down almost to a walk if you have to. It’s still running and it’s helping you get where you want to be.

6. Use a watch or tracker. If you are running outdoors, you need to keep track of your distance and pace so you can compare it over time. I use the app Runkeeper on my phone. Many people use Garmin watches. Whatever it is, you’ll need one to see your progress.

7. Get running shoes. If you are wearing the same workout shoes as you have for the past 4 years (I’ve seen this many many times), you need to get new ones. My favorite kind of running shoes are Mizuno and they have a “find your perfect shoe” guide. There are a TON of brands and everyone’s foot is different. Other brands I recommend include Altra, New Balance and Asics.

8. Get some running clothes. This isn’t essential but I recommend it. The last thing you want it so start running and then feel your shorts riding up between your thighs or your shirt rubbing like hell against the inside of your armpit — or your sports bra causing major chafing. It hurts and it’s no fun. You need a dry-fit shirt, a good sports bra (mine are Nike & Lululemon) and shorts/pants that won’t ride up or rub. I prefer wearing spandex Capris or loose, running-specific shorts. And, listen up, spandex is awesome!

9. Don’t Overkill. Start with running 2-3 times a week — and I mean that initial, short distance. Saying you will start running everyday is a recipe for failure. Also, if you just aren’t feeling it one day, it’s okay to opt out. Piling on the rules and guilt will not help you.

10. Focus on the feeling. Running will make you feel amazing. It will give you a high like you’ve never felt. Not only are you getting healthy, you are getting happy. Remember that before you decide to duck out for the day. I can’t tell you how many times I have talked myself into a run because I knew the result would be so empowering. It can take pure grit sometimes but as you may have heard around the block, you’ll likely never regret a workout.

Got any questions I didn’t cover? Do you need recommendations for anything else? I’m all ears!

FREE: Simple Faith Practices for Busy MomsYes, please!