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How to Become a Runner: A Simple Method for Beginners

Beginning Runner

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I used to be a runner back in high school and college and then I got busy with career, living life, and starting a family. In recent years I was dedicated to brisk walking most days of the week, and sometimes I would even jog a little. But I was never able to get back into running.

Until recently. I made one simple change and it has made the difference between being a walker and, now, being a runner. (Well, jogger, at least!:)

So what did I do differently? I went from exercising for time to exercising for distance. In a nutshell, what I did was just start. (Right after I had my annual physical. ) I jogged as far as I could go on the first day, and then each day after that I went just a little bit further. After about a month, I’m now jogging 3 miles a day, 5-6 days per week. I feel great and I can already see my body changing for the better. I’ve also made some other changes that have made my health skyrocket if you’re interested.

How YOU Can Become a Runner

Mentally

1. Decide that you want to try jogging. Don’t over think it. You can always go back to walking tomorrow if you don’t like it.

2. Focus on the reasons why you want to become a runner or jogger. Some good reasons: improve your cholesterol, improve your body shape, lose weight, feel better, gain more energy for daily life, etc. Whatever your motivations are, write them down and post them where you will see them every day. This will be very helpful on the days that you don’t feel like running.

3. Fail-Proof it. Create a time in your schedule when you’ll be sure to have the ability to do this. For me it means mornings. If I wait until later in the day, then my energy is lower not to mention all the other activities competing for my attention.

Physically

1. Get the OK from your doctor. Have an annual checkup where they check your heart. Don’t skip this part. You don’t want to have a heart attack when you’re trying to become healthy. Find out what is an OK level of exercise for you. And while you’re at it, get your cholesterol tested so that in 4-6 months you can go back and see the wonderful improvements you will have made!

2. Just do it. Don’t wait to feel energy or to feel like you’re in the mood. Just put on your sneakers, bring your mp3 player (or not), and go!

3. Start slow. Try very slow. In track we used to call it the “Buffalo Shuffle.” Run at whatever pace that allows you to go the farthest distance possible. On day one, maybe this will only be a quarter or half mile. That’s totally OK. You will be so much more likely to stick with it if you start small and build a little bit each day.

4. Distance. Go as far as you can comfortably go and then turn around. Don’t pay too much attention to your watch. If you need to walk a little and then start jogging again, do that, but if you can keep going slowly, that’s what you should strive for.

5. Increase distance each day. Each day, pick a new landmark that is past where you went the day before. Use that as your turnaround point. And then the next day, go yet a little further.

Restoration & Support

1. Stretch after exercise. Take 10 – 15 minutes after jogging to stretch. Stretch your calves, hamstrings, quads, hips, and upper body too. Check out this resource for some good yoga/stretching videos that I recommend which can instruct you on how to stretch.

2. Rest your body. Take at least one day off per week. Eat a super healthy diet that gives you the most energy while helping you achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Get enough sleep each night so that your body can make the repairs and build the tissues that will make you stronger tomorrow. Find out more in Why Exercise is Good For You.

3. Buddy up for support. Find someone to run with or join a running group.

4. Advice for the tough days. There will be days where you really don’t want to run. Unless you’ve got an illness or an injury, do this: make a deal with yourself that you will run for at least 5 minutes. That’s about how long it takes for the endorphins to kick in. Once they do, it will be much easier to continue. And of course when you’re done with your run, you will feel so glad you did it!

5. Remember: You Can Do It! Repeat simple positive affirmations in your head even when they feel like they are not true. Over time they will become true. Some examples:

  • I can do this!
  • Everyday I get better at this!
  • Running becomes easier for me each day.
  • This is so healthy.
  • My body is becoming stronger with each step.

Resources

Please Share!

How has running changed your life? If you’re a beginner, what is your motivation? All comments big and small are very welcomed!

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132 Responses to How to Become a Runner: A Simple Method for Beginners

  1. Laurie PK July 4, 2008 at 8:07 pm #

    Great motivation to get moving! I run 4 times a week — okay, JOG is more like it — and I love it. I think that you can actually get “addicted” to exercise. When I don’t jog for more than 2 days in a row, I feel like crap and I’m dying to get out there. But when I miss 5 or 6 days in a row, I can barely get my running shoes back on! It really is about developing a habit; your body gets used to moving or staying sedentary.

  2. Vern at AimforAwesome July 4, 2008 at 9:54 pm #

    Ah, very good! I like your blog – just grabbed the RSS and will take some time to read over your articles. It’s funny how people with similar blogs find each other! Funny in a great way. Want to Start Running? A plan complete with mental gymnastics needed to get you started. – Vern

  3. paresh July 4, 2008 at 10:47 pm #

    nice useful list, thanks.

  4. Curtis July 4, 2008 at 11:04 pm #

    Thank you. I am going to start my re-emergence in to my running scene tonight. I work nights, sleeping days, btw! Again thank you and GOD Bless!!!

    Curtis

  5. Kerri July 4, 2008 at 11:21 pm #

    I went from a pack a day smoker to a runner. Safe to say, running changed my life. At my 4th month smoke free mark I started to have “what now” thoughts so I threw in some challenge to my daily walk and started running. I never looked back. Running saved my quit. Here I am almost 5 years later, hundreds of miles and even a half marathon under my belt. Amazing to think when I quit I couldn’t walk up 10 stairs without gasping for breath.

  6. Christopher July 5, 2008 at 1:10 am #

    Great article and great resources! I can tell you did your research. I’m about to start participating in a 5k race every weekend and I will be using this article to help me with my training!

  7. kabir July 5, 2008 at 4:38 am #

    hey sully. great going. i used to be a runner some years ago, was in super shape, and felt great everywhere in my body, until work took over for me too. but i’ve read your thing, and i’m gonna start again. of what i can remember from my days…. there’s nothing like a great run… thanks.

  8. Austin Hardwood July 5, 2008 at 10:05 pm #

    Congratulations on your post. I have finally came across a blog of my choice. Being the runner that I am. I am sharing this blog with my sister to get her off her feet. It is easy to fall into a slump, especially if it requires sweat and tears. Pain is something us humans naturally want to avoid. Sometimes however if there is no pain there is no gain. Keep up the good running. I love those high quality pictures on your blog, I have never seen so much high definition detail. What kind of camera are you using?

  9. etavitom July 7, 2008 at 11:50 am #

    great post!

    i love running and appreciate the wisdom…

  10. Sharon July 8, 2008 at 9:37 pm #

    These are such great tips. I’ve been carried away with life also, and I’d forgotten how life was before I started my internet business.

    I now try to walk and jog for at least an hour everyday as much as possible and I hope to one day start running. In the next few years, I hope that I’ll be conditioned enough to do a marathon!

  11. Czar July 9, 2008 at 8:07 am #

    Hmmmm…honestly, I don’t intend to become a runner. I just want to do the running thing because I’ve gained so much weight lately. This post is still very helpful to me. I’m learning and I can’t wait to apply those.

    I think it’s time to get fit!

  12. agentsully July 9, 2008 at 8:27 pm #

    @Czar – good luck!

  13. agentsully July 9, 2008 at 8:29 pm #

    @Sharon – good luck! Let us know when and how you plan to start! A public announcement can help hold you to your goal!

  14. agentsully July 9, 2008 at 8:47 pm #

    @ Austin – good luck with your sister. Be patient and give love instead if she is not ready for advice. It took me a while to find my way back to running, but I am so glad that I did.

    The way I look at is, I am a runner for life now. It’s about the long haul for me.

    Thanks for your comment! I get my pictures from different free photo sites, but many of them come from Flickr (photos that are labeled ok to use commercially) and I also give a link to the author when I use the photos. You can click on over to let the photographer know you like their photos if you see one you like.

  15. agentsully July 9, 2008 at 8:51 pm #

    @kabir – yay! Good luck! Please do let us know when you start running and how it goes for you!!

    I can attest that I feel great because of it!!

  16. agentsully July 9, 2008 at 8:52 pm #

    @Christopher – thanks! Good luck with your 5k races!

  17. agentsully July 9, 2008 at 8:53 pm #

    @Kerri- wow! That’s awesome! Congrats to you!

    I’m definitely looking at this as a long term way of life, so I feel patience with my progress for the first time! It’s wonderful!!

  18. agentsully July 9, 2008 at 8:54 pm #

    @Curtis- thanks! How did your re-emergence into running go so far! Let us know!!

  19. agentsully July 9, 2008 at 8:55 pm #

    @Vern – thanks. Glad you like my blog! And thanks for the link to your great blog too!

  20. agentsully July 9, 2008 at 8:57 pm #

    @Laurie – you are right on about the importance of making it a habit.

    For me, every morning, this is my non-negotiable part of my day, otherwise it won’t happen. The way I fail-proof it is to make sure I get to bed early enough to get up early enough to include running before work.

    To fail-proof that I go to bed early enough…..I set my target time 1 hour before I really need to get to sleep. It works!

  21. HardGainer July 10, 2008 at 5:56 am #

    Wow! Great post. Very inspirational. I like how you have it laid out so simple. I have been running quite a bit now as I’m trying to drop a few pounds before I start to bulk up in the winter. Yes, I’m a bodybuilder, lol. Thanks again for the very inspirational post. You got me thinking about abandoning the treadmill for some pavement instead!

  22. Bluetooth July 14, 2008 at 5:39 am #

    Even I used to be a fastest runner during until college days but it’s been a decade since I would have run. Your tips are indeed useful particularly that one should start jogging more as the day progresses which naturally builds more stamina resulting that one can start running all over again. This can really maintain our health in a perfect condition. Thanks a lot!

  23. Val July 16, 2008 at 4:48 pm #

    I have started getting into running and I really enjoyed reading the steps on becoming a runner. I personally can’t run for very long but I like how you suggest increasing distance every time- very smart!!

  24. agentsully July 17, 2008 at 9:17 pm #

    @Val – believe me, if I can do it, so can you! I only go about 100 yards further each day. I’m now up to 3.7 miles!

    And I don’t put too much pressure on if I’m having a bad day. If I have to go shorter because of something that is painful, I do. Rest, and then start again the next day.

  25. agentsully July 17, 2008 at 9:44 pm #

    @Bluetooth – thanks for your contribution!

  26. Drew "Solution" Templar July 17, 2008 at 11:02 pm #

    I admire anyone who has the tenacity to run a full marathon.

    I’ve heard people say it takes weeks to recover fully from the stress it places on the body.

  27. tammy powell July 18, 2008 at 2:27 pm #

    Running is a very good exercise to keep you healthy. It helps us in keeping every part of body fit.

  28. mobi July 20, 2008 at 3:38 pm #

    Nice tip man, great article!

  29. Colin July 20, 2008 at 7:13 pm #

    wow, 5-6 times a week? I’m up to about 3 times, 3 miles each, and I’m not sure whether to try to run more or to run faster. Any thoughts on that? Thanks!

  30. Keith Gill July 22, 2008 at 12:45 am #

    Hmmmm…honestly, I don’t plan to become a runner. I just want to run because I’ve gained so much weight lately. This post is still very helpful to me. Congrats for the big nice post.

  31. outside kid July 22, 2008 at 5:44 pm #

    in my opinion, exercise should never be a chore. i always look forward to my workouts by making them fun, like going for a nice bike ride or to take pictures of some flowers in bloom. =)

  32. Lipsense July 23, 2008 at 11:34 am #

    You have mentioned some very useful points when you start running as many over weight people have ankle and knee problems.I think your tips can help them out.

  33. Yongho Shin July 26, 2008 at 1:24 am #

    I always use the “5-minute” strategy when I run. I convince myself that I’m only going to jog for 5 minutes, then 10 minutes, then 15 minutes, and I trick myself into jogging for half an hour. It’s much easier to exercise when you think about it in small steps. :)

  34. agentsully July 28, 2008 at 2:52 pm #

    @Yongho – sounds like a great strategy!

  35. B Sting Energy - Best Energy Pills August 1, 2008 at 3:44 pm #

    Great article! Over training is what gets most beginners. So as you say start off slow.

  36. Christie August 6, 2008 at 10:07 am #

    Exercise is key. People who can run like the wind intrigue me. If you can do it, great.

    To your health!

  37. agentsully August 12, 2008 at 8:29 pm #

    @Christie – thanks for commenting! Please visit again!

  38. Dainu zodziai August 19, 2008 at 9:51 am #

    thanks for great tips I wish it would help me to start joggling. :)

  39. John's Weight Loss Blog August 19, 2008 at 12:10 pm #

    I am trying a similar approach – same 4.1 mile loop, less and less walking each time. Eventually I will feel like a runner and not a walker!

  40. onefunnyman August 27, 2008 at 6:37 am #

    I admire anyone who has the tenacity to run a full marathon.

    I’ve heard people say it takes weeks to recover fully from the stress it places on the body

  41. Ruth September 6, 2008 at 8:44 pm #

    I try to go out twice a day with my two dogs. One has to be a power walk, otherwise, they don’t get tired :)

    I have a black lab and a golden retriever.

  42. Doggie Sensei September 12, 2008 at 8:23 pm #

    I like the photo you selected. Having a pet to run with is an often overlooked asset. With a dog, you have to at least walk her everyday, and this makes jump starting endorphins all the easier.

  43. Acomplia September 17, 2008 at 2:00 am #

    Its not just running. One can employ the same strategy for loads of other things like weight reduction etc.. But i got to admit its not easy to increase running habits its not a usual cake walk.
    You could also join a gym along with your excellent running habits. you could probably get yourself into a perfect shape in a couple of months. But no matter what happens don’t suddenly stop.

  44. Adam September 25, 2008 at 11:13 am #

    I find the easiest way to motivate myself to run is to sign up for a race a few weeks/months away. Now you’ve committed to something and paid money, just another reason to get out and run.

  45. agentsully October 2, 2008 at 6:10 pm #

    @Acomplia – thanks for all your comments. Yes, incremental improvements over time is a great way to make significant positive changes in your life.

  46. Diy Conservatories October 15, 2008 at 4:48 am #

    The just do it is to me the most inportant part. Once I am out running I am fine, in fact it is harder putting those sneakers on that actually doing the excercise.
    I bet this applies to most gym members, who do not go.

  47. ladies boxing October 15, 2008 at 9:48 am #

    Running is an excellent way of getting fit but there are many other ways of achieving this such as mens and ladies boxing training which is available from many places.

  48. davesworkout.com November 6, 2008 at 12:02 am #

    Great post –

    I started running a few years back when I hit 300 lbs (i am 6’2). I started off out of breath after a 1/4 mile walk, after 6 months I was running 3-4 miles a day, 5 days a week. Within a year I was running at least one half-marathon a week as my long run, and doing 5-8 miles 4 days a week. Dropped 100 lbs, feel so much better.

    Important part for me was tracking my food and exercise intake, so I made a website to do just that – compare your food intake and exercise with all the factors such as age/sex/weight. That really helped me to get things into perspective – you start to look at how far you have to run to burn off that slice of pizza (probably anywhere from 2-4 miles per slice!). That helped me eliminate the bad snacks and food choices in general.

  49. Steven November 15, 2008 at 2:12 am #

    Setting up for success in training programs is key. Never get set to fail. We train the nervous system to win by never going to burn-out or failure. Then it all (whatever it is — running, swimming, pull-ups) gets better and more fun.

  50. health blog November 19, 2008 at 10:29 pm #

    Thank you for your shared!

    It’s useful for me, I will tell it to my brothor.

  51. Personal Trainer February 19, 2009 at 2:18 pm #

    Running? I don’t think so. This article is about jogging.

    Jogging is something which needs a disclaimer. Many people think they will “get in shape” with jogging when in fact the repetitive motion coupled with muscle imbalances often causes joint and muscle problems.

    Running is something which very few people actually do but has far better benefits than jogging.

    Do you run or jog?

    • agentsully March 13, 2009 at 9:47 am #

      @Personal Trainer – I guess I jog, although I don’t know what the clear cut definitions would be so I can’t say for sure. I don’t go that fast, but sometimes I do add some speed either for the last mile or interspersed throughout.

      I have to disagree with you a little bit though. Jogging can get you in shape. It got me into great shape. I lost weight, gained muscle. I had no injuries and I was 40 when I started. People need to start somewhere and jogging is fine.

      You have to listen to your body and always stretch afterwards in order to avoid injury. Some people are more susceptible to injuries from running. If that’s the case then choosing another form of exercise would probably be a good idea.

      I would never want to discourage someone from giving jogging/running a try. Of course exercise alone can’t make you healthy. You need to eat right too (focusing on whole foods: veggies, fruits and whole grains). And some weight bearing exercise is a good idea for getting into shape too.

      This article’s purpose is to help those who want to give running/jogging a try. It’s been a very positive change in my life, so I say let’s not discourage people who want to try it.

      One other thing that I have found helpful is including other forms of exercise on days off – bike riding, tennis, swimming, dancing.

  52. Chaya March 21, 2009 at 9:43 am #

    Ive tried a few times in my life (im 28) to become a “runner”. They always look so fabulous! But Im one of those women who do great for a month, then after Ive lost a few lbs and start to look pretty good….I stop. Ive never been enormously overweight, but I got pregnant last year and lost the baby at 12 weeks. In that time, I put on 15 lbs! (my fault) Now my husband and I are having trouble getting preg again so I am on fertility. Its not helping in the weight department!
    Ive been married for 7 yrs and when I got married (age 21) I was 128 and now I am 152. It seems to me that every time I run (jog), I lose weight. Two summers ago I stuck to it for almost 2 months and I lost 11 lbs in 6 weeks…JUST RUNNING! Ive tried excercise videos and special diets….but running is what does the trick.
    Thank you for your motivation. Im starting again today!

    chaya

    • agentsully March 22, 2009 at 12:17 pm #

      @Chaya – good luck with getting pregnant and with running. Perhaps check with your doctor to see if these two go well together. You might even get lucky like I did when I was pregnant.

      I lost weight! That is I gained weight for the baby, but my body actually got smaller (except for the growing belly). I gained 25-30 lbs altogether. The week after I delivered I weighed slightly less than when I started.

      Go figure! Same thing with my sister. We both had big babies who must have just “taken” from us.

      Believe me I ate whatever I wanted while I was pregnant. For exercise I did walking. That was plenty strenuous while pregnant. No need for running then! But I know some women who did run during their pregnancy. Not for me.

      Good luck. Let us know how it goes!

  53. Diet al April 3, 2009 at 11:08 pm #

    signing for a charity run in a few months time, is a really good idea..to keep motivated. So opportunity for someone to put a web site to co-oridinate these runs..

  54. Kristen April 26, 2009 at 10:24 pm #

    You know what keeps me getting out of bed super early in the morning, and jogging? I invested in a really good pair of running shoes. Not only do they support me more than a pair of old sneaks, the fact that I spent that much money on a pair of running shoes means that I HAVE to use them, or it was wasted. :)

    • agentsully April 28, 2009 at 3:55 pm #

      @Kristen – Thank you for your support and for sharing your experience!! That’s awesome! Keep up the good work!

  55. Kristen April 26, 2009 at 10:29 pm #

    Oh, and: Jogging / running / any sort of exercise you commit to, can’t just be about losing weight. That is a great thing to do IF you are overweight, but once you lose a set amount of weight, you’re not going to want to keep doing it. I think it is a good thing to just find a reason to do it that doesn’t really have a “goal,” though it is good to have goals. You know what I mean? For example, I’ve decided to become a runner because I want to be part of that culture. That is a goal to be reached, but it isn’t something that can just be checked off once I’ve reached it.

  56. Burnsville Personal Trainer May 30, 2009 at 11:43 am #

    Definitely the first step is Decision, others wont work without it.

  57. Sara June 16, 2009 at 11:09 pm #

    Great tips! Another great list, “The Five Keys To Turn Any Body Into A Runner” can be found at http://lifeadvicesite.com/Health_Become_A_Runner.php

  58. Cross Country Runner July 1, 2009 at 4:10 pm #

    I really like your advice!
    I’ll take it into consideration with the fact that cross country start in a little over a month and I’m now starting to run.
    thanks!

  59. Obstetrician in West London July 24, 2009 at 8:45 am #

    An excellent resource of information i will certainly return to check on the latests posts.

  60. Michy September 23, 2009 at 6:17 pm #

    Thank you so much for this blog. I’m 18, just started college and am joining ROTC, like army but for college students. We have to PT 3 times a week, and today we had to complete a 2 mile run. I was gasping for air like a fish out of water after maybe a 1/4 of a mile. I was incredibly upset by my weakness, and i wanted to give up, seeing as i was the weakest one out of 30 others. But this information is giving me hope! i will definitely try everything you said. Thank you so much!

    • agentsully September 24, 2009 at 2:55 pm #

      @Michy –
      Thanks for letting me know how much this helped you. We all go through ups and downs as runners, especially beginners! I have a new website that will be launching soon called “Running Zen.” Check it out and subscribe so you’ll get updated when it is started -which will be soon! There will be some great info for runners there! More than what you would get in Runner Magazine.

  61. erica December 19, 2009 at 1:10 am #

    I really want to start running!!! What do u do when it’s the winter and no money for a gym membership and I also don’t have a treadmill? I used to be a runner in high school and I can remember how great I felt it helped to relieve stress and I felt so good.

    • agentsully December 31, 2009 at 5:21 pm #

      @Erica – in winter, just bundle up in layers that you can remove as you warm up. If there is too much snow or ice, I would recommend getting a rebounder, mini trampoline for indoor exercising. They can be pretty inexpensive. Wishing you good luck!

  62. Denise February 2, 2010 at 3:37 pm #

    I’m really glad I found this webpage. I dream and long desperately to become a runner. I am 50 pounds overweight and terrified of it. Not so much about passing out or dropping on the pavement, that’s scary too but scared how I will look.

    Still I appreciated the information you have here and all the positive comments. Two friends are I will similar in size will begin training for our first 5K in late spring/early summer.

    • AgentSully December 19, 2010 at 11:28 pm #

      @ Denise – sorry for the late reply. How is your training going. Put all thoughts out of your head about how you look. Think about how healthy you will be. This will bring your inner and outer smile which is the best way to look good.

      Go for it! and let me know how you’re doing!

  63. Rck April 18, 2010 at 11:12 pm #

    Hi ive never been a runner but I have always wanted to! This blog is perfect and I’m really motivated to get out there and run! Thank you!

  64. Krsit April 24, 2010 at 5:42 pm #

    thanks for your post. I am going to try to start my new life as a runner. I will let you know how it goes.

    • AgentSully October 24, 2010 at 9:34 pm #

      Krsit – please let us know how it goes for you!

  65. Thorn May 1, 2010 at 12:24 pm #

    I actually started running recently. I only did it cos I was weight training and wanted to keep trim while i bulked but its THE most relaxing thing. I totally get lost in my own mind.

  66. Personal Trainer Manchester July 18, 2010 at 6:01 am #

    You could also look at doing a 5k or a 10k for charity to give you some extra motivation and help a good cause at the same time.

  67. Pink Laptops July 27, 2010 at 9:57 am #

    This is a fantastic article. You are totally right when you say you just have to start! Even running for 5 minutes could be enough to set you off on the right track. Not everyone has to be like Forrest Gump!

  68. Michael Myers August 2, 2010 at 6:38 pm #

    I will tell you what you do in the winter time when you have no money and no treadmill. If it’s really cold out you find a nice hat that covers your ears and head and a warm pair of gloves. Find some warm sweats or spandex, a shirt and sweatshirt and then you stretch, move around a little bit, get your blood pumping then go out and run. I ran when it was ten degrees Fahrenheit with a wind chill of about negative ten and I never felt better that day. I think I ran six miles and it was a bit chilly at first but once those endorphins kicked in I didn’t feel a thing. It was great. Don’t be afraid you can do it if you really want to do it. If you want to talk more about running with me my E-mail is
    milo3337@yahoo.com

  69. Tile AUstin August 24, 2010 at 12:54 am #

    It’s so hard to begin something unusual. I just actually started running recently. I only did it cos I was weight training and wanted to keep trim while i bulked but its THE most relaxing thing. I totally get lost in my own mind.

  70. Personal Trainer Manchester September 11, 2010 at 7:14 am #

    Great post with some valid points, i think you need to consider the person doing the running too if they are physically fit enough to do it. Sad fact is these days many people are not ft enough to walk let alone run!

    TOM

    • AgentSully October 24, 2010 at 9:04 pm #

      Tom – very true. Everyone should definitely start slow and short and build up slowly according to their ability level. It’s important not to overexert!

  71. hardgainer November 8, 2010 at 4:34 am #

    This post is very helpful to me, these are such fantastic suggestions tips indeed useful especially that need to commence jogging much more as the day progresses which naturally builds much more stamina resulting that one can start running all over again and felt excellent everywhere in my body.

  72. Justin November 17, 2010 at 11:44 am #

    hey very great site with great genuine advice, i appreciate the wealth of great info.

  73. Kari November 24, 2010 at 7:59 pm #

    I have never been a “runner” but am determined to give it a try. Thanks for the great tips…I like this approach.

  74. Seattle computer repair November 26, 2010 at 11:13 am #

    i also think you can get addicted to jogging, knowing that i am :) when i don’t jog for 2 days i can’t focus and i just have to do it:P

  75. Thin but Lazy December 7, 2010 at 12:10 am #

    I’m 42 years old, I weigh 111 and I am 5′. I have never really exercised in my life. The few times I tried running really turned me off. I felt nausous the whole time and had a really bad pain on the side of my rib cage. While I have always admired joggers or runners (I don’t know the difference) I would really like to learn how to become one. I am pretty healthy all my labs are outstanding. I really admire the toned bodies and stamina of runners. I really wish I could learn and that I had the support to do so.

    • AgentSully December 7, 2010 at 9:10 pm #

      Dear Thin – If you take it very slow and add a little bit each day you can become a runner. Believe it, and build very slowly over time! You can do it!

  76. Thin but Lazy December 9, 2010 at 11:34 am #

    Thank you for your response agent sully. How can I prevent the nauseous feeling and pain on my side?

    Thank you for your words of encouragement.

    • AgentSully December 12, 2010 at 8:07 pm #

      Hi Thin,

      Probably lowering your intensity will help with both. So if you find yourself feeling over exerted, then walk until you feel better. Then jog again. Going really slow is totally ok.

      Also be sure not to jog on a full stomach.

      “Go slow” is the name of the game.

  77. Boxing Equipment Guide December 15, 2010 at 6:05 pm #

    @Thin I had similar problem and I’m just a bit younger than you (38). I found out that I try to catch up with all those years without physical activity but should do it gradually. Instead I was behaving like I’m 18 again thinking all these years without training did not affect me. Once I start slowing down I discovered I have much more fun and all problems disappeared.

  78. amanda January 10, 2011 at 12:41 pm #

    Just wondering Is pavement better or a tredmill? Why can I go father on a tredmill than a track? Is a tredmill easier?

    • AgentSully September 26, 2011 at 10:39 am #

      @Amanda – you got it. Treadmill is easier. The machine is doing some of the work for you. That’s why. As long as your shoes fit you properly, pavement is fine. If you have any joint or injuries, make sure your sneakers are properly supporting you, make sure you’re not running on a sloped road; try to find flat surface for running. Or you can always mix it up a little: run some on pavement, some on the track, some on trails. (Sorry for the late reply!) Hope your running is going well!

  79. stability running shoes February 3, 2011 at 7:11 pm #

    Hey there,

    Great tips for beginners on how to get started with runnning!

    Getting started can be a pain, but it is those few couple of steps that are so critical. The hardest part about getting into the
    mental attitude of running is actually taking those first couple of steps forward and doing it. The rest of the rewards follow.

  80. Rex February 17, 2011 at 7:24 pm #

    Love your advice to start slow with the “Buffalo Shuffle”

  81. replica orologi March 13, 2011 at 2:51 am #

    Thank you for your words of encouragement.

  82. E.T March 15, 2011 at 12:29 pm #

    Great tips! I have just recently started running because i have soccer tryouts coming up. I thouroughly enjoy running and it is the thing that keeps me going during my day at school! However i am not very experienced and i have a question: Is it better to run at a fast pace for a short distance and then walk , or is it better to run at a slower comfortable pace for a long distance without walking? Hope to hear back from somebody! Thanks so much (:

    • AgentSully March 18, 2011 at 8:38 pm #

      @ET – definitely run slower for longer at first. Once you can run comfortably for 20-30 minutes then you can start working on doing speed work. Wishing you lots of success!

  83. ET March 31, 2011 at 2:37 pm #

    Thank you so much, thats really helpful! I’ll know my soccer tryout results tomorrow so im crossing my fingers! (: But running definetly helped me prepare!

    • AgentSully August 14, 2011 at 8:00 pm #

      @ET – That’s awesome! I hope that it all went well!!

  84. Styxx April 4, 2011 at 8:01 pm #

    I’m 16 and I joined track this year. I used to be really active when I was in jr high school but I moved and stopped doing sports. My sister who is in the military is a very avid runner and encouraged me to start looking online for ways to become a better runner. I’m overweight and I have found your advice very helpful and motivational. I’m very self conscious of the fact that I am overweight and running on the track team but I have noticed a very substantial increase in my ability to keep up with the rest of the team. I no longer am gasping for breath nor am I the last person to finish running and each day I notice I can go farther,longer. Thank you :)

    • AgentSully April 4, 2011 at 9:17 pm #

      @Styxx – that is so awesome!!! And your story will inspire the next person! You should be so proud of yourself. It can be done. I was once that girl in last place back when I was in high school. And today, I’m a runner all over again. And I love it. It makes me feel so good!

  85. Bodybuilding Runner June 13, 2011 at 9:11 am #

    I am a bodybuilder and just started running with my wife. I can keep up with her even though I only run once per week and she is running 5 days per week. Is there any advice I can give her on running and she gets upset sometimes that I can keep up even though I don’t run that often. Thanks!

    • AgentSully June 14, 2011 at 2:05 pm #

      @bodybuilding – my advice to your wife is to not worry about her performance relative to yours, but to work on her progress relative to her own performance. With regard to her performance, if she wants to increase her speed, she would likely benefit from doing some speed workouts 1-2 times per week as week as some strength training. Hope that helps.

  86. Person July 5, 2011 at 5:53 pm #

    Thanks for this blog. I am training for running cross country in high school and this post kept me motivated to stick with it. I realized that I’ve been too caught up in timing myself to really focus on distance. I also have only been running 2 times a week and now I’m going to try to increase that to 5 times.

    • AgentSully August 14, 2011 at 6:09 pm #

      Person – hope this is going well for you! Thanks for sharing!

  87. Ray August 3, 2011 at 1:37 am #

    Thank you for the motivation! I’ll lace my running shoes on first thing in the morning– I finally feel like I can do this! :)

    • AgentSully August 3, 2011 at 6:34 am #

      Hey Ray! That’s awesome! Go for it! Report back and let us know how it goes! Take it slow and steady! Be patient with yourself always and you will get there!!!

  88. Jeff August 24, 2011 at 3:31 pm #

    I started getting into running with my wife early this year and started loving it! Buy then I just found out I have a hernia, so the dr is recommending me no running for 8 weeks after surgery…there goes all my results!

    • AgentSully August 29, 2011 at 3:59 pm #

      @Jeff – it’s always tough to get a setback like that, but all will not be lost. You’ll be surprised to see how much you will keep even over 8 weeks. Wishing you all the best!

  89. Lane September 13, 2011 at 9:32 am #

    I’ve just been walking/jogging for about 4 weeks now. Nearly every day. I always take Sunday off and sometimes take another day off during the week. As much as I wanted to take off and run, I simply took it slowly. On my way to work one morning I measured out a 3.5 mile distance using my car – this is the route I currently take. I also marked a few shorter distances on days I feel less energetic or have a little discomfort from the previous day.
    Some days (like this morning) I only jog about half of it. My hips were bugging me a bit so I just told myself “it’s okay” and kept my stride strong walking all the way home. The hips and knees protested quite a lot in the beginning of this whole process but have become more and more accustomed. No big problem. I did some reading online and found that it is quite common for new joggers/walkers to have hip and knee discomfort as well as shin splints – apparently, the muscles respond fairly quickly to the new exercise but the connective tissues, tendons and ligaments take more time to loosen up. Just keep stretching!
    Somebody mentioned being self-conscious about getting out there and doing it – I was too. Still am to some degree I suppose. My solution was to get out early (I’m usually on the pavement by 5:30 am – sometimes a little earlier) while it’s still dark, it’s quiet, and almost nobody is out – except for the occasional runner and car going by. After a few weeks of getting used to it, you won’t care much anymore and soon you won’t care at all.
    I like the idea of pledging to at least get out and go for 5 minutes – that’s a great idea to get you moving. Somebody else here stated it best – the hardest part of the morning run is putting your shoes on. That’s no lie. I still have to talk myself out of bed most mornings, but once I’m out there breathing the cool morning air listening to the bugs and frogs, knowing I’m up early and getting this day started right – it’s all good.
    Just get out there and do what you can do, but it has to become a lifestyle change at some point and not ONLY about weight loss.
    I haven’t had the guts to sign up for my first 5K yet, but I’m looking forward to it. Maybe next year! Get out there and walk at first – you’ll start to like it, get energetic and before you know it you’ll WANT to jog/run.

    Good luck!!

    • AgentSully September 13, 2011 at 3:43 pm #

      @Lane
      Wow! Good for you!! Thank you so much for sharing your story of success! How inspiring! Keep with it! It’s been about 3-4 years now for me and it has only gotten better and better. I had speed bumps along the way with sickness and injuries, but I just keep coming back to it.
      Thanks again!

  90. Marandie September 16, 2011 at 12:19 am #

    Wow, you know u wrote a winning article/blog when 3 years later it is still being discussed and helPing people! I have always thought I could not be a runner/jogger, but always have this feeling inside like I just want yo be able to take off and run… When I indulge it lasts all of 30 seconds. Your article gas given me hope. Any advice for someone with plantar fasciitis?
    Thanks!

    • AgentSully September 21, 2011 at 1:49 pm #

      @Marandie – You can do it! Get the right shoes – see a specialist if necessary. Always remember to stretch after running, gently. And when you have a flare-up, make sure to let it heal before going back to running. Use ice to get the swelling down.

  91. Steve October 7, 2011 at 1:46 am #

    I used to absolutely despise running. I have no idea what happened but about 5-6 years ago, I started to enjoy it. Love would be too strong of a word but now I view it as a challenge. I do love the air when I am all alone running down a road, I love seeing my breath when it’s cold out and I’m running in it. When I get tired I think 1) how may people would kill to be out here, free to run and 2) of pushing myself, asking myself “you can’t take one more step?” then before I know it I’m half a mile down the road.

    Steve

  92. Mark C Johnson October 13, 2011 at 12:05 am #

    This is a great article and so true! I’ve never been a long distance runner but in the past 6 months I’ve gone from sitting on the couch to being able to run for 2 hours straight. The hardest part is simply motivating myself to run, but once I do pure bliss. The first and most necessary step is putting on your shoes and walking out the door.

    Once again it was a great read!

    Best,

    Mark C Johnson

  93. mr.Lou October 13, 2011 at 9:49 am #

    I like that you are encouraging people to get active, but my experience with your suggested training method of distance-focus over time-focus is that this will lead to faster plateauing, burnout and potential injury. Running continuously for a selected time, like 30 minutes, in the beginning will increase stamina and body efficiency quicker than running long and slow. To reap the benefits, one needs to push the VO2 level and improve their pacing and form. It is also important that new runners not push themselves to run more than every other day in the beginning because this allows for the muscles to heal and rebuild. I realize our opinions may differ on this matter, and I merely wanted to express another point of view for new runners, but I sincerely wish you continued success in motivating people to get out and get active. Sincerely, mr.Lou of intentionally-human.com

    • AgentSully November 12, 2011 at 9:58 pm #

      thanks Mr Lou. That sounds like a good approach too. I think if a strategy to become a runner works – as in no injuries and you keep making progress- then it is good. There’s many ways to skin that cat. Thanks for sharing yours!

  94. Lee Ann October 19, 2011 at 12:15 pm #

    I was looking for help on how to start running. I was a runner over ten years ago, then a smoker for 10 years. I quit a year ago, and have tried every kind of excersize there is to be healthy and lose weight, but the truth is I know my body and it will never be at it’s best until I get back into running. Cardio has always been a ‘chore’ for me and I don’t like it at all. But I need it, I was looking for help and found your blog. You make it sound so achievable, I love it! I’m motivated (mostly) and am going to take your advice. Thank you!

    Lee Ann

    • AgentSully November 22, 2011 at 7:05 am #

      Thanks Lee Ann!
      Please let me know how your progress goes!!!! Wishing you success! You can do it!!
      Slow and steady wins the race!! The race of life and health that is!

  95. Lane November 22, 2011 at 11:23 am #

    Hey LeeAnn,
    I was never a “runner”, I was a smoker too and quit a few years ago. Get yourself some awesome music and a cheap little used iPod shuffle (I recommend the 2nd generation version) off eBay and just get out there and start walking!
    That’s pretty much how I started. I got up nearly every morning (pretty early) and started walking with my music. After a few days I was adding more time and my walks became more energetic and stronger. And then at some point I felt so good about it I just started to run a little – then walk a little – then run a little more.
    I’m now up 4 days a week and go for 3.5 – 4 miles and after a walking warm-up I run about 75% of it, varying my speed and intensity as I go.
    I did notice that when I first started to run I felt kind of heavy, clunky, and a bit awkward. After having done it for a while that has changed. Now, when I start I feel a lot lighter on my feet and a bit more agile/balanced. Be patient with yourself on your intensity but just get out there an go! Please don’t wait to get started! You’ll only regret it when another year goes by and you haven’t begun. Believe me on this! :)
    I used to be one of those people who thought that all the conditions had to be perfect for me to start something (and continue it) but I’ve worked to change that. I always had to have the “right gear” or the perfect conditions but I’m learning that the perfect conditions are created from within and not from without. Although I will add that a pair of good shoes is essential. You’ve got to protect your feet. They work hard!!
    The entry by MrLou about avoiding entries is great too – becoming injured will halt your progress for a while, so don’t push TOO hard. At least not until you build some strength and endurance. And just know you can do this.

    Now, get out there!

    • AgentSully November 24, 2011 at 7:56 am #

      Thanks for the helpful comment! Really appreciate you sharing your story!

  96. Supplement Freak March 26, 2012 at 4:27 pm #

    So I just ran the Shamrock Shuffle yesterday. This was my first run in over 5 months. I go to the gym every day and lift, but no cardio. I thought I could just bang it out…but wow…I need to start training a little like a runner!

  97. James Buccelli May 21, 2012 at 8:19 am #

    I really enjoyed reading this article. I’m actually committing Sin #2 ‘Waiting too long to comment’! However, I felt compelled to express appreciation, since I think many of these you enumerate are unconscious mistakes that can easily be rectified.

  98. Nick July 14, 2012 at 10:18 pm #

    Nice article, in in January I made the commitment to start running and followed many of these tips. When I started I was struggling to run 3 miles and weighed over 215 lbs – today I ran over 15 miles ((which I do about once a week) and am down around 193-194 lbs. Starting slow, but adding a little each week makes a huge impact over time.

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  1. [...] a minimum. Here is an excellent article on varying your jogging workouts. And here is an article on how to become a runner. 2. Do whole body workouts 2-3 times per week such as yoga (strenuous) or Pilates or a [...]

  2. [...] How to Become a Runner: A Simple Method for Beginners | Life Learning You don’t want to have a heart attack when you’re trying to become healthy. Find out what is an OK level of exercise for you. And while you’re at it, get your cholesterol [...]

  3. [...] a couple of good sites for just what to do to go from being a walker to a runner. I stumbled upon Life Learning Today, eHow, and Princess Nebraska. I really liked the humor in Princess Nebraska’s post. She also [...]

  4. [...] How to Become a Runner: A Simple Method for Beginners – Beginning Runner photo by ceiling. I used to be a runner back in high school and college and then I got busy with career, living life, and starting a family. In recent years I was dedicated to brisk walking most days of the week, … [...]

  5. [...] How to Become a Runner: A Simple Method for Beginners – Beginning Runner photo by ceiling. I used to be a runner back in high school and college and then I got busy with career, living life, and starting a family. In recent years I was dedicated to brisk walking most days of the week, … [...]

  6. [...] a minimum. Here is an excellent article on varying your jogging workouts. And here is an article on how to become a runner. 2. Do whole body workouts 2-3 times per week such as yoga (strenuous) or Pilates or a [...]

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