How To Start Running Safely & Pain-Free

Hello and welcome to the running world, my friend!

I’m glad to have you here, even if you haven’t started running yet. The truth is, literally any can become a runner merely by declaring that they are one.

I started running roughly a decade ago, and along the way, I’ve helped countless beginners take the first steps toward becoming established runners themselves.

While running seems pretty straightforward (all you have to do is place one foot in front of the other, right?), starting can be easier said than done

And today you came to the right place. This guide will walk you through the steps necessary to start running and build up your running knowledge and mileage with confidence and ease so you can make the most out of training without risking injury or burnout.

Are you excited?

Here we go…

The Golden Principle – Start Small

The best way to start running is to go small and slow. That’s the cardinal rule of running success.

I see many beginners try to chew more than they can swallow. Most make the mistake of starting too hard, too fast, or going for too long, then they simply get injured and discouraged within a few days.

Here’s what you need to do instead. During the first few months of training, take it easy. No need to hurry. Begin at the beginning and build it from there. The rest is just details.

Begin With Long Walks

If you haven’t exercised much in the last few years, walking should be your first—and sometimes, the only–option. In fact, I wouldn’t recommend running for anyone until they can walk for 50 to 60 minutes at a brisk pace without much trouble.

Here’s the truth about walking exercise.  “Walk” is not a bad four-letter word. And it’s not a sign of submission nor softness. Au contraire, my friend. Walking helps you shed weight, improve stamina, reduce stress, get in shape, and improve your health and well-being. What’s not to like!

In other words, walking is the ideal stepping stone into the running world.

Remember this. Fit people, particularly runners, are not born overnight. Expect to invest long months of training to get used to exercising, especially a high impact sport, like running.

So, take your time and don’t try to run when walking is what you should be doing.

How to Progress?

During the first week, walk for 20 to 30 minutes a session. Increase it to 30 to 35 minutes in the second week. Next,  keep adding two to three minutes to your walks until you’re doing it for at least an hour with ease.

If you want to train every day, cross train on the days between your run-walks, otherwise, use it as a recovery day.

Watch your Form

Regardless of walking pace, keep good posture throughout the session. Here is how to build a proper brisk walking form.

  • Walk upright with feet hip-width apart, landing lightly on the heels and coming off evenly on the toes
  • Keep your head held up high, chin parallel to the ground eyes gazing ahead.
  • Swing your arms back and forth while keeping the elbows bent at a 90-degree angle.
  • Relax your shoulders by rolling them away from your ears.
  • Keep your core engaged by pulling your navel towards your spine.
  • Do your best to limit lateral movement at your hips and shoulders. Otherwise, you’ll be wasting lots of energy.

The Walk/Run Method

Once you can fast walk for an hour without panting, take your training to the next level. That’s where the walk/run method comes into the picture.

The run/walk method is a training program designed by the famous running guru Jeff Galloway as a way to help beginners take up running without risking discomfort, injury, or burnouts.

The method involves following an explicit training strategy that mixes low intensity running intervals with walking breaks. Doing so helps you manage fatigue, improve fitness, build stamina—without risking injury or burnout.

The Walk/Running Ratios

To get the most out of the walk/run method, you need to be taking enough breaks at the right times. If you wait until you’re completely fatigued, and you might go overboard. That results in premature fatigue and may increase the risks of overtraining.

Here are three walk-to-running ratios to try out. Choose whatever works for you as long as you’re staying within your fitness level.

  • The Novice: Jog for 10 to 20 seconds, then briskly walk for one to two minutes
  • The Intermediate: Jog for two to five minutes, then briskly walk for one to two minutes.
  • The Capable: Run for five to ten minutes, then a brisk walk or slow jog for one to two minutes.

Enter the Talk Test

As a beginner, keep your breathing under control. You should be able to keep a conversation without gasping for air. Panting for air all the way means you’re running too hard.  Said otherwise, if you cannot recite the Pledge of Allegiance, you’re doing it wrong.

The Ideal Session

Pick a distance, a 2-mile loop around your neighborhood for instance.

After a 5-minute a warm-up, do an easy run/walk routine: jog slowly for one minute, then recover with a two to three minutes walk. Repeat it for five to seven times.

End the session with a proper cool-down. Exercise in this manner three to five times a week.

As your training progresses forward, as we’re going to see shortly, extend the length of time spent jogging and reduce the amount of time spent walking until can jog for 30 minutes at an easy pace.

How Long Does it Take To Become A Runner?

I hate to sound redundant, but every trainee is different. No right or wrong answers because everybody and every BODY is unique.

That said, here are some of the factors that count.

  • Your current shape.
  • Your training history
  • Your age
  • Your current body weight.
  • Your genetic makeup
  • Your willingness to do what it takes.

Follow a Beginner Running Plan

Having a plan is key to achieving any goal–let alone running. You don’t pursue a career in marketing, for example, without a concrete plan of studying the right books and tutoring under the right teachers in order to build the skills needed for the trade.

Running is no exception. That’s why I highly recommend you follow a well rounded, well-thought training plan, just like the one shared below. Doing so will not only help you build your training volume, but also keep you motivated beyond the initial enthusiasm.

The simple plan shared below features three days of run-walk sessions three optional days for cross-training. You begin with a few short intervals of running–or slow paced jogging–for 30 to 60 seconds, then build you on that while taking less and less for recovery.

By the end of the eight weeks, you should be able to run for thirty minutes straight–that’s roughly two to three miles–without much trouble.

Week One – Walk for five minutes, then jog for 30 to 6o seconds. Repeat three to four times. Shoot for four sessions with the same cycle for week one.

Week Two – walk for three minutes, then jog for one to two minutes. Repeat the sequence for four to five times. Aim for three to four sessions.

Week Three – Walk for three minutes, then jog for two to three minutes. Repeat the cycle for five to six times.

Week Four – Walk for three minutes, then jog for three minutes. Repeat the cycle six times.

Week Five – Walk for two minutes, then jog for three to four minutes. Repeat the cycle four to five times.

Week Six – Walk for two minutes, then jog for five minutes. Repeat the sequence for three to four times.

Week Seven – Walk for two minutes, then jog for eight to ten minutes. Repeat the cycle two to three times.

Week Eight – Warm up by brisk walking for 10 minutes, then slow jog for 20 to 30 minute while keeping an easy and conversational pace.

Just keep in mind that this is a generic plan, so feel free to adjust it according to your own needs and preferences. It’s not written in stone by any means.

Conclusion

There you have it!

The above beginner runner training guidelines are virtually all you need to get started on the running path without risking injury or overtraining. The rest is up to you.

Please feel free to leave your comments and suggestions in the section below.

In the meantime, thank you for reading my post.

Keep Running Strong

David D.

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