Tips for Non-Runners Who Want to Start Running

For a long time I had been incredibly out of shape and over weight. I watched other people run and thought it looked so relaxing and freeing. Obviously I knew running was hard work, but to be able to just throw in my headphone and head outside for a run was something I wished I could do.

I however HATED running with a burning passion. My lungs burner, my whole body jiggled and felt sore after two seconds and I literally felt like I was dying two minutes into it. I didn’t know how I could ever become a runner when I couldn’t even run a mile.

At some point in time I wound up with a roommate who ran marathons. We had a treadmill in our living room and I would watch her go out for a run and do her sprints and winter runs on the treadmill. We talked about running often and she encouraged me to just do it.

So, one day I decided the only way to I would ever become a runner was to JUST START.

Now, there are a lot of couch to 5k programs out there that have helped people learn how to run, but this is what I’ve found that worked for me. I am by no means an expert.

  1. Start on a treadmill
    • This may seem counterintuitive. I know so many people hate the treadmill, but when I started I liked knowing that I had to make a conscious decision to slow down or stop, otherwise I had no option but to keep my feet moving.
  2. Put an IPad or magazine in front of the timer
    • I can always go farther and longer than I think when I’m not focused on it. I find that putting my IPad in front of it and watching something entertaining really helps distract me, no that I don’t still cheat and check the time, but overall it’s easier to keep running when I’m not fixating on each second.
  3. Run 1 Mile
    • 1 mile may seem long, but I find that it’s a doable distance. I started my mile at about a 12 minute mile. 3 times a week I ran a mile until it started to feel easier, it was not easy, but my breathing was more under control and I didn’t feel like I was dying. Then I upped it to two miles. You don’t need to go fast; slow and steady wins the race.
  4. Find a goal or a race with an end date to work for
    • Running just for the sake of running can be difficult, but if you know in 3 months you want to run a 10k then you’ve got a reason to keep running. Just make a goal that is obtainable and stick to it.
  5. Find an App you Love
    • Once you can run 2 miles find an too app like and start a running program. I like the Nike Run Club App and either do a 4 week program or put in my race date and distance and start training for that. I find that the app helps keep me on track and accountable.
  6. Start Running Outside
    • Once you know you can run a few miles head outside. I found running outside difficult at first because there are hills, bumps and weather to deal with, butter a few runs I loved it! I know find it difficult to run on a treadmill and long for the days that I can run outside.
  7. Know that sometimes running just sucks
    • Honestly, it takes me anywhere from 2 to 4 miles to find my stride. I usually spend the first mile hating my run and wondering why I decided to run. It takes me awhile to get my breathing down, to fall into my pace, and to real into the run. It’s okay to struggle sometimes when you’re running, it’s something everyone goes through, but I honestly always feel so incredible after my run. I love to run first thing in the morning which I only do on the weekends, but I also live to run when I’m upset. Nothing else sorts me out and exhausts me more than a good run does.
  8. Just Start!
    • If you want to become a runner, than you need to quit thinking and just start. Run 3-4 times a week, be consistent and do 1 long run a week where you up your mileage. I typically increase by a mile, but I’ve read that you should increase your mileage by 10% a week. I recommend what feels right for your body. Push yourself, but don’t over exert yourself.

A few years down the road and I love to run. I am certainly not a distance runner though some day when I can get better about my discipline and can convince myself to train on the treadmill during winter I hope to run a half marathon and maybe even a full marathon. I am so proud of how far that I have come in just a few years simply because I choose to start and be consistent. If I can do it so can you!

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