Running: 30-Day Quick Start Guide for Beginners - Your First Day

Learn to Run Continuously for 20 Minutes

Female athlete running over the bridge in the morning
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Getting started with a running habit can feel overwhelming to a new runner. Instead of starting your running habit blindly, this 30-Day Quick Start Guide can direct you through your first month of running. Just take it one day at a time and, by the end of 30 days, you'll be calling yourself a runner!

Here are your first steps for preparing to get started, as well as instructions for your very first run.

1. Get Medical Clearance: If you've been sedentary for more than a year, have any injuries, illnesses or conditions, or are taking any medications, schedule an appointment with your health care professional to get checked out and make sure you've got the go-ahead to get started with a running program.

2. Get the right running shoes: Choosing the right running shoes is one of the most important decisions you'll make as a runner, especially if you're just getting started. Wearing the wrong shoe type or running in old or worn-out shoes could lead to injury.  So get yourself to a specialty running shop where the experts can determine your foot type and recommend the right shoes for you.

3. Learn about safety precautions:  Find out how to stay safe when you're running outside and get tips on where you should run. Learn about how to be prepared for running in hot or cold weather. You should also get familiar with basic running etiquette.

4. Wear comfortable clothesWhen you first get started with running, you don't need to rush out and buy fancy running clothing. Just wear comfortable clothes that you can exercise in. Women should make sure that they're wearing a good, supportive sports bra . When you go out for your runs, be careful that you don't overdress.

Once you warm up, your extra body heat will make it feel about 15 to 20 degrees warmer than the actual temperature. So, for example, if the temperature is above 55 degrees, you'll probably be fine wearing a T-shirt and shorts.

5. Don't eat immediately before your run. Many new runners wonder what and when they should eat before running. When you begin a run, you should feel neither starved nor stuffed. You don't want to eat immediately before running because it may lead to cramping or side stitches. But running on a totally empty stomach may cause you to run out of energy and leave you feeling fatigued and lethargic during your runs. Your best bet is to eat a snack or light meal about 1 1/2 to 2 hours before you start running.

6. Your First Run: After a 5-10 minute warm-up with a brisk walk (you should start all workouts with a warm-up), begin your run/walk intervals. Run at an easy pace for 1 minute, then walk for 5 minutes. Repeat that sequence 3 times.

For the walk portions, make sure you're not taking a leisurely stroll. You should pump your arms, so that your heart rate stays elevated. That way, you'll still be getting a good cardiovascular workout and it will make the transition back to running easier.

Next: 30-Day Quick Start Guide for Beginners - Your First Week