What to Expect

Get Ready for Your First Time

How to Start Running for Beginners

A quick overview of what steps you should take to start running.

Find a pair of good running shoes. If you can go to a running store where they can specifically fit you for your foot type.

Comfortable pair of dri-fit socks. Cotton socks could cause chaffing so look for dri-fit or moisture wicking socks for best results.

Running shorts and shirt. There are many varieties of running shorts/pants and shirts/tanks out there, so find one you are comfortable wearing and like socks it is best not to wear cotton as it may cause chaffing.  Many "running" apparel is dri-fit or moisture wicking.  Best to leave your favorite cotton shirt in the closet for when you are not running.

Depending on how far you are going to run you may bring water with you as well as a cell phone or money especially if you run in an unfamiliar area or on trails.

If you live in cooler climates and run in the wintertime, remember that you generate heat from running so you don't need to pile on too many layers. Not sure how to dress for your first winter run then add layers you can remove easily throughout your run; like gloves, hat, arm warmers, and a heavy jacket. Typically though a long-sleeved top, light jacket and running tights might be enough.

Reflective material is also highly recommended in winter - either bright clothes, or a reflective belt/jacket on top. If possible make sure that the reflectives are on the moving parts of your body, arms and legs. Many items of clothing also have a reflective component on them, so you may look for that when buying winter running apparel.
A headlamp is useful if you're not running in daylight, or under streetlamps.

Preparation

Many people wonder should I stretch before or after a run? Many experts have varying opinions and it's often recommend to do what you feel is best. Recent studies show that you should do dynamic stretching before you run to warm up the muscles and get them ready to perform. After you run is when you should do your traditional stretching most people are familiar with performing. Watch the video below for a few stretches to perform before and after you run.

Tips

Learn 5 pointers to how to run longer and injury free from Evolutionary Biology Professor Daniel Liberman whose studies are the scientific background for the book Born to Run by Chris McDougall.

Running can be intimidating at first, but you can do it with some simple gear and a little determination. Luckily running does not require any special skills, talents, gear and something almost anyone can do. First obstacle of running is just getting out there and doing it. Take it easy at first and work your way up to running longer, faster, or with more ease. Don't think you have to go out there and run the whole time at first. Best way to be a consistent runner is to start a run/walk program which you eventually are running more than walking or running the entire way.

Here are a few common mistakes that runner's make when first starting off:

  • Dash off on a run; get out of breath and shuffle home thinking they can't do it
  • Train too much, get hurt, and stop running
  • Train too little, get out of the habit, and stop running

So take it easy when first starting a running program and remember that no matter what pace you go at you are still a "runner."

Beginner Checklist

  • sunblock
  • polarized sunglasses
  • hat
  • good pair of running shoes
  • plenty of drinking water
  • energy snacks such as fruit and energy bars