Hitting the Pavement: Your Beginners Guide to Running

By: Tayler Glenn

Running is known for its health and wellness benefits around the world.  From increasing your lung capacity, increasing bone and muscle strength, to helping relieve stress and even being used to alleviate symptoms of depression[1].   Despite being a common form of exercise, starting out can feel a little intimidating.  Rather than letting you miss out on all of the fun and benefits of running, we’ve come up with beginners running guide to help you build confidence on the roads and get moving!

The great thing about running is that you are opening doors to new groups, new friends, and new adventures while building confidence as you watch yourself setting and beating goals time after time.

Getting Started

Go to the Doctor

If you haven’t recently had a physical, it’s time to get checked out.  Especially if you’re running for weight loss, talk to your doctor about your running plan, goals, and any previous injuries you’ve had.  This will allow you to be sure you’re working out in a way that’s beneficial for your body, and your doctor is going to be able to work with you to prevent any recurring injuries while you get healthy!


Get Fitted

One of the best things about running is that you don’t need a lot of expensive, fancy gear to run.  One necessity, however, is a proper running shoe. Running shoes are specially made for certain types of gait, distance, support, and cushion needs.  Getting the right type of shoe will help prevent injury and make your runs much more enjoyable as you increase mileage.  If you haven’t run before, or even if it’s just been a while, it’s a good idea to go to a running store to get fitted for the specific type of shoe that fits your needs.  Normally, the employees are avid or career runners who can tell what you need by simply asking a few questions and watching you walk/run for a few minutes, but make sure you replace the shoe every 300-400 miles!

Hitting the Pavement

You were cleared by your doctor, you have your shoes, you have comfortable weather-appropriate clothes, and you’re about ready to go! It’s important to find a running plan that works for your goals, physical requirements, and schedule.  Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you go:

  1. Run/walk workouts are some of the best ways to get started and stay injury-free, but make sure you keep an even pace (the run and walk pace are separate, of course).  A common beginners mistake is to start out too fast, and you’ll just end up out of gas halfway through the run.
  2. Listen to your body.  There is a difference between discomfort and pain but always err on the side of caution.  If something doesn’t feel right, stop or slow down.
  3. Have fun! A lot of running is in your head, so find something that makes the run enjoyable! Find a group or a friend if you enjoy running with others.   If you prefer running alone, find a good podcast, training app, music station, or audio book to keep you occupied!

Run 3 Miles in 6 Weeks

Week 1
Repeat 3 times:

  • Brisk walk 6 minutes
  • Jog 1 minute

Do this 3-4 times during week 1.

Week 2
Repeat 3 times:

  • Brisk walk 5 minutes
  • Jog 2 minutes

Do this 3-4 times during week 2.

Week 3
Repeat 3 times:

  • Walk 3 minutes
  • Jog 4 minutes

Do this 3-4 times during week 3.

Week 4
Repeat 4 times:

  • Walk 2 minutes
  • Jog 5 minutes

Do this 3-4 times during week 4.

Week 5
Repeat 3 times:

  • Walk 2 minutes
  • Jog 8 minutes

Repeat 3-4 times during week 5.

Week 6
Repeat 3 times:

  • Walk 2 minutes
  • Jog 9 minutes

Repeat 3-4 times during week 5.

Week 7
Repeat 3 times:

  • Walk 1 minutes
  • Jog 11 minutes

Do this 3-4 times during week 7.

Week 8
Run 1 & 2:

  • Walk 5 minutes
  • Run 20 minutes
  • Walk 5 minutes

Run 3 & 4:

  • Walk 3 minutes
  • Run 30 minutes 
  • Walk 3 minutes

This is a great plan for those who may have previous injuries or are heading out for the first time.  Since running involves a good amount of impact, it’s important to ease your body into it so that your joints and muscles have time to adjust.  Keep up the hard work, stay focused on your goals, and enjoy crossing that finish line!


Do you love running or have any tips for those just getting started? Share them in the comments below!



Advice on How to Start Running: