There was a time in my life when I was not a runner. I wanted to be one but had no clue how to start. Fast forward many years, I’ve now run distances unimaginable to me when I was simply trying to run 10 minutes without dying. If you would like to start running but don’t know where to start, this is for you. This is my advice, constructed from mistakes and things I did right, as well as a simple plan to get you started. With a plan in place, along with consistency and patience, you will be running strong before you know it!

  1. You need the right equipment. A new pair of shoes is essential. Go to a specialty running store where they’ll help you find the fit and support you need. Don’t choose shoes based on color or price. The money you spend will pay off in hundreds of injury-free miles. Pick up clothes and socks made of technical fabrics to keep to keep you comfortable and help prevent chafing.
  2. Starting a new routine requires discipline and consistency, so make it as easy as possible. Have a written plan to follow (like the one listed below), and write your goals somewhere highly visible. Schedule time each day to exercise, and stick to a pre- and post-run routine. Besides training your body, you have to train your brain to become a runner as well.
  3. Whether it’s on a treadmill, in your neighborhood, or on a trail—have a place where you feel comfortable. Tracks are ideal places to start because they are flat, away from traffic, with an easily measurable distance. Treadmills are an option that is not weather-dependent and are a more cushioned alternative to pavement.
  4. Your main goal is to get fit without getting hurt, so listen to your body. Don’t push yourself too far too early, or you’ll end up injured and unable to run. Some soreness is expected, but don’t ignore sharp pains. Don’t stress too much about form, but do think about being relaxed. Take the scheduled walk breaks even if you don’t feel you need it.
  5. Be patient. Many positive changes happen to your body when you start running, but they won’t always be instantly visible on the scale or in the mirror. With a consistent running routine, you will have a healthier body overall and feel the difference!

8-Week Running Plan for Beginners

Spend 30 minutes a day, 5–6 days a week exercising. In eight weeks, you will be able to run for 30 minutes without stopping. Alternate these running days with walking for 30 minutes or rest days.

Do each running workout four times a week.

Week 1

Walk 2 minutes, run 1 minute (repeat 10x)

Week 2

Walk 1 minute, run 3 minutes (repeat 8–9x)

Week 3

Walk 1 minute, run 5 minutes (repeat 5x)

Week 4

Walk 2 minutes, run 8 minutes (repeat 3x)

Week 5

Walk 1 minute, run 9 minutes (repeat 3x)

Week 6

Walk 2 minutes, run 13 minutes (repeat 2x)

Week 7

Walk 1 minute, run 14 minutes (repeat 2x)

Week 8

Run for 30 minutes

Rachel Randall is the go-to girl for all marketing, media, and events at Fleet Feet Sports. She has run more marathons that she can count, including the 2017 NYC marathon in November.

Do you have questions about getting started or finding a plan to work for you? Stop in and talk to anyone on our staff. We’ll be happy to help!