How do I start running?

How do I start running?

with the overwhelming trend of “I love running” messages, there are more and more sites, groups, friends, neighbors that offer you advice on when, how much and how to run, but most likely none of them are certified to do so…

So, how do I start? You should start with the most repeated and ignored advice. Go visit your doctor and have a health checkup before you start any training plan.

There is a huge difference between starting to run being healthy and at your proper weight or with gastritis, high cholesterol and/or excess weight


Running is not a team sport, it is an individual sport and even though it is now a social sport, each one has specific needs, therefore it’s not recommended that you follow the same training regime as your friends.

Your age, gender, weight, heart rate, fitness level, natural ability and personal goals should dictate how to train or you can overtrain, get injured or just show no improvement and never get to reach your full potential.


It is recommended that you look for a trainer certified by your country’s Athletic Federation. Someone who has devoted time and effort to prepare themselves and with enough experience within running, a Physical Education Degree, Sports trainer or a certified Running Coach.

It is important not to be afraid to ask questions and interview him, remember that you’re putting your health on their hands.

Ask how many years he/she has been running, how long has he/she been training runners? how many races has he/she completed? Has he/she ever completed a marathon? What times? What are his/her personal bests for each distance? Does he/she look like a runner or athlete? Can he/she clearly and easily explain technical or complicated running concepts? What training methods does he/she uses or its familiar with.


A sports trainers body should be like his/her business card. Credibility is very important. The more years a person has spent training RECREATIONAL runners the better

Harvard University standards for considering someone an “expert” on any given field require that person to spend at least 10,000 hours learning or practicing its craft. That’s the equivalent of 4/5 years.

And most important, does this person knows what questions to ask? Remember that YOU are the star of this project.


Your goals

Basic things you need to know are:

  • Why do you want to start running?
  • To lose weight? Because you want to participate in a race? Because your significant other runs and you want to try it out? What is your REAL motivation to do it?
  • Start SLOW and increase gradually
  • Running requires good fitness that only comes with exercising regularly. It’s important to start slow.

If you have never been active before is not realistic to exercise 60 minutes per day, seven days a week. Start by walking 20/30 minutes every day. The important thing is to generate endorphins to keep you feeling good, and establish a daily routine. That takes time.

  1. You should set a minimum daily goal that you’ll be able to meet regardless if you are tired or not. So easy that will make you laugh. Even if it is only a 10-minute walk every day IT COUNTS.
  2. If you can manage only 5minutes it also counts. A lower goal that you’ll be able to meet every day (no excuses) is much better than a higher goal that you’ll only be able to meet sometimes. The important thing is to build a routine, you can increase time later on.
  3. In exercise as in life, EVERYTHING COUNTS, even if it is only a minute exercising.
  4. When you don’t hesitate any more about going for your daily walk, and you don’t even get tired anymore, start to mix in short runs, run for 1 or 2 minutes followed by a 5 to ten-minute walk, repeat the drill until you reach 30 minutes.
  5. If you can’t afford a trainer, the most important piece of equipment you should invest in is not a pair of shoes but a wrist Heart Rate Monitor.


But wait until you are completely sure that you DO LIKE RUNNING.

The most common mistake a novice runner makes its overtraining. Fitness is not achieved overnight and it’s common for a beginner to always run as fast as possible especially when you train in a group.

  • 80% of the time you should be within 50/60% of your maximum heart rate. At that range is where your fitness increases allowing you to run more and also better.
  • If you are new to the sport please don’t do speed workouts, Repetitions, fartlek, tempo runs, or anything similar.
  • Enjoy running at your own pace, on your own time and without any pressure. The first thing you have to do is build your fitness and cardiopulmonary capabilities.

Pushing your body beyond your limits will only result in early injuries.

After 4/5 months running, you’ll be able to add on more sophisticated training routines.

Your body’s a wonderful piece of machinery, don’t try forcing it to build up your fitness, lose weight, get abs or whatever overnight. Because that’ll only result in feeling too tired or injuring yourself. Running takes a big effort but it shouldn’t hurt, if it does, you are doing something wrong.

  • A good time to increase your mileage it’s when you can run 1 mile nonstop, then you can start to run between 2/3 miles per day, mix it with walking until you are able to run 2 miles nonstop.
  • From then on increase from 2 to 3 miles, during each training, you should feel like you are doing an effort, but NOT feel exhausted afterward, during this stage you are building up your fitness.
  • If you are more than 20 pounds overweight it is recommended that you do not run more than 6 miles until you lose those extra pounds.

The additional mileage combined with excess weight can be harmful to your knees. Start slow and enjoy running for many years as you gradually grow stronger.






RRCA Running Educator, Health & Mindset coach, content creator 22 years running, 200+ races & creating magic at Instarunners


  • Avatar MARIANA MC says:

    Buenos tips para escoger a un entrenador. Pero ¿y si no quieres o no puedes (por cuestiones monetarias) costearte uno? ¿puedes entrenar por tu cuenta?

    • Avatar Ilya Sandoval says:

      En mi experiencia, siempre puedes aprender las bases de entrenamiento por ti sola , como yo lo hice antes de certificarme como entrenadora , pero requiere tiempo, dinero y esfuerzo, hay que valorar el costo de lesionarse seriamente y pagar doctores, medicinas y posible lesiones cronicas contra el dinero que vas a invertir con un entrenador. En realidad todo depende de que tan importante es para ti correr, en terminos de competitividad, si solo lo usas para mantenerte saludable, y para relajarte, mi recomedacion es MENOS es MAS, rapidez y volumen de km, sin supervision o conmocimientos, es una formula segura para lesiones. Si solo buscas disfrutar, sin preocuparte por tu desempeño o tiempos, no necesitas un entrenador.

  • Avatar MARIANA MC says:

    Buenos tips para saber escoger a un entrenador. Pero…¿y si no quieres o no puedes costarte uno? ¿puedes entrenar por tu cuenta? Asumo que es complicado pero no imposible ¿tú qué opinas Ilya? ¿es absolutamente necesario contar con un entrenador?

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