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How to Start Running


Updated May 22, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Couple running in grassy field
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If you've done a lot of walking, but you've never run before, you might feel a bit intimidated to get out there and start running. This eight-week plan will help you ease into the sport.

Before you get started with running, get familiar with how to do the run/walk method. You may also want to check out the Absolute Beginner's Guide to Running for more beginner running tips and advice.

If you prefer an email course, try one of these beginner runner programs:
3 Weeks to a 30-Minute Running Habit
Run Your First 5K (8-week program for beginners)

  • If you haven't had a recent physical, get medical clearance from your doctor before you start running.

  • Getting the right running shoes for your foot type is crucial for comfort and injury prevention . Visit a specialty running store to get expert advice on buying the right running shoes.

  • Before you start your workouts, make sure you warm up properly by walking for five to 10 minutes. You should always end your workout with a cool-down.

  • Week one: Walk for six minutes, then jog at an easy pace for one minute. Repeat three times. Aim for three sessions with that same sequence for week one.

  • Week two: Walk for five minutes, then jog for two minutes. Repeat three times. Aim to do three sessions in week two.

  • Week three: Walk for three minutes, then jog for four minutes. Repeat four times. Aim for three sessions in week three.

  • Week four: Walk for two minutes, then jog for five minutes. Repeat four times. Shoot for three of those sessions in week four.

  • Week five: Walk for two minutes, then jog for eight minutes. Repeat three times. Do three of those sessions in week five.

  • Week six: Walk for two minutes, then jog for nine minutes. Repeat three times. Try to do three sessions for week six.

  • Week seven: Walk for one minute, then jog for 11 minutes. Repeat three times. Do three sessions this week.

  • Week eight: Congratulations on making it to week eight! For your first run this week, try walking for five minutes to begin and end the workout, and run for 20 minutes in between. By the end of the week, try to run for 30 minutes without stopping.

    Aim to run for 30 minutes three times a week, and you'll notice that your stamina and fitness will continue to improve. Soon you'll be ready to run your first 5K!


  1. Use your breathing as your guide when running. You should be able to carry on a conversation while running and your breathing shouldn't be heavy. Proper breathing will help you avoid annoying side stitches.

    More: How to Breathe While Running
    How to Do Deep Belly Breathing

  2. Follow these tips for proper running form . Or watch this video on proper running form. Also, make sure you avoid these common running mistakes.
  3. Drink water at the end of your workouts to rehydrate. If it's hot and humid, you should also drink some water (about 4-6 ounces) halfway through your workout.

    More: Running and Hydration
    14 Things Every New Runner Should Know
    17 Commonly-Asked Questions About Learning to Run

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