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Of all the available exercise regimens out there, running may be the best. Running is a full-body workout that can strengthen your bones and muscles, strengthen your immune system, and reduce your stress levels. Plus, compared to other types of workouts, it’s inexpensive and requires little up-front investment; the only thing you need is a decent pair of running shoes (unless you’re Abebe Bikila).

However, running is by no means easy. It’s a high-impact workout that can be hard on your muscles and joints if you’re not careful, which brings us to today’s post. If you’ve been thinking about running for exercise, let us help you get started. Here are some tips on running for beginners.

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Start Slow

A woman running.
Overworking yourself can lead to injuries and discouragement. Start slow!

The excitement of starting something new can easily carry us away if we’re not careful. We’re enthusiastic and hopeful and we want to push ourselves as hard as we can so we can reach the finish line as soon as possible. If you do that with a new workout, however, you’re much more likely to hurt yourself or burn out! Pushing yourself too hard too early can result in damaging physical injuries as well as discouragement when things go wrong. Go easy on yourself as you’re just starting out and build up to a faster pace and longer courses. Remember, good health is a marathon, not a sprint.

Rest Often

This is especially important for those first few weeks, while you’re still in the “honeymoon phase” of your new running habit. Running is high-impact and moderate-to-high intensity. Your body is going to need time to adjust. Each time you run, you’re doing small amounts of damage to your muscles and joints. Rest days are vital to allowing your body to repair those minor injuries. Be sure to schedule plenty of them in between running days.

Mind Your Form

Proper posture is paramount to a good run. Bad form can make it harder for you to breathe, tire you out more quickly, and even lead to injuries. When running, your back should be straight, your shoulders relaxed, and your eyes facing forward. Keep your steps light and short and try to land mid-sole instead of your toes or heels. Take deep belly breaths through your nose and mouth and exhale through your mouth.

Prepare for it to Suck (at First)

No matter how excited you are to start running, it’s going to suck a little at first (okay, maybe a lot). Regardless of fitness level or experience, the first day after a long run is going to hurt. You’re going to spend a lot of time sore as your body adjusts to the new paces you’re putting it through. Once it does, however, you’ll find yourself looking forward to strapping those running shoes on each day!

Running is a full-body workout that can strengthen your bones and muscles, strengthen your immune system, and reduce your stress levels.

Are You Ready? Get Set… Go!

A dog running.
Don’t forget to have fun!

Running is one of the best, most accessible forms of exercise out there. It can be done by almost anyone and almost anywhere, even indoors. Like any other form of exercise, however, there is serious potential to injure yourself if you aren’t careful. Always discuss new exercise plans with your doctor to ensure you’re giving yourself a safe, fair shot.

Finally, if you’re looking for a crash course on a running for beginners exercise, try the Fabulous 8-Week Running Challenge for Sphere members! You can find the modules in the Make Me Fabulous menu, or through the Start an Exercise Habit Sphere Journey. And if you’re posting your running journey on social media, we’d love to see it! Just use the tag #FabulousRunners.

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This is how you can sustain effective habit change

Through our work with researchers from Duke University, we’ve packaged a unique collection of behavioral change insights inspired by elite sports and behavioral economics to help you build effective habits.

Willpower is overrated and you can’t always rely on it to change your habits. This is what you should do instead.

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