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How to Start Running: Beginner's Guide

written by: Rachael Gerkensmeyer • edited by: Cheryl Gabbert • updated: 5/10/2011

If you're looking to start running for the first time, it can be a challenge at first. Learn how to get the confidence, the gear and the stamina to get the job done.

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    If you've never run before, it can be a bit intimidating to start. After all, it seems like an impossible task to run several miles, or even one mile, for most people who aren’t already in shape. The truth is that running is one of the best methods of weight loss and it helps to keep the heart healthy as well. There is no need to start full force in order to gain the benefits of this kind of exercise. Instead, easing into a new routine is the best way to ensure you can create a habit out of it, and stick with it. If you want to start running but don't know where to begin, we've got the easy tips to get you on the road and moving in no time!

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    Start by Walking

    Believe it or not, walking is the first step to building up enough stamina to get out there and start running. You don’t even have to walk fast at first, as the goal is just to get moving on a regular basis. Even if you are used to activities that keep you busy all week, walking is a very similar motion to running so it will help put you in the right mind set. Begin by setting goals you can easily accomplish and work up from there. Consider walking half a mile, three times a week at a steady pace and then add a quarter mile per week while improving your pace. After a month you should be ready to start running.

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    Get Some Gear

    Make sure you have the proper gear for running, or you might find yourself pretty uncomfortable. Shoes made specifically for running should be worn, and consider purchasing tops and shorts that wick sweat. These can be found at any sporting store, or even on the Internet. The clothes will help keep the sweat away and the shoes will help to keep foot and joint muscle pain away, both of which allows you to focus on the run instead of focusing on how uncomfortable you are. A great way to stay motivated during a run is to wear an MP3 player packed full of songs that are upbeat and catchy. Consider purchasing an MP3 player that comes with an arm band so you can easily store the player as you run.

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    Psych Yourself Up

    If you are not confident in your abilities to get through your first run, chances are you will quit before you reach your running goals. It is important to understand that it takes time to build up enough muscle, strength and stamina to run miles at a time. Running a half mile or even a quarter of a mile is nothing to laugh at. It’s yet another step toward your goal of becoming a runner and each step you take is another few calories burned. As you run, keep in mind that as long as you keep going you cannot fail.

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    Set a Schedule

    Even after you’ve built up enough stamina to run, you have purchased yourself some cool new gear to get you on the road and you have put yourself in the right mind frame, it can be extremely easy to get off track. In order to make sure you get your weekly runs in, it is important to create a schedule and stick to it. Put the days you will run on the calendar and do what you have to do in order to stick to your running dates. You might need to bring your running gear with you to work so you can change there and head out for your run before even going home. Another option is to set a running date with friends who like to run, as this will obligate you to get out there. Figure out what works best for you and stick to it!

    Now that you've begun your running schedule, it may help keep you motivated to set goals for yourself. Consider signing up for a 5k. This will keep you motivated to stick to your program and meet your weight loss goals. Good luck!

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    References

    Women's Health: "Lose 10 Pounds in 6 Weeks Running" Retreived June 11, 2010

    Runner's World: "Weight Loss Plan" Retreived June 11, 2010