A beginner’s guide to running

How to start and stay motivated


Have you ever considered taking up running? It’s a great way to get some exercise, clear your head and explore your surroundings. it’s also a lot of fun! In this article, we'll give you a beginner's guide to everything you need to know about starting to run. We'll cover the benefits of running, how to get started, and how to stay motivated. So, whether you’re a complete novice or just looking for some tips to get started, read on!

Preparing for your first run

As a beginner, it’s important to be prepared before you start running. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Choosing appropriate clothing and shoes

One of the most important things you need to do before lacing up your shoes and hitting the pavement is to make sure you have the proper clothing and shoes. This might seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people try to go for a run in clothes that are far too constricting or shoes that don’t provide enough support. Not only will this make your run more difficult, but it could also lead to injuries further down the line.

So, what should you look for when choosing clothes for running? First and foremost, they should be comfortable and not too tight. You want clothes that will allow your skin to breathe and won’t rub against your skin, causing irritation. Secondly, depending on the time of year and weather conditions, you’ll want to dress appropriately. If it’s cold outside, you’ll want long sleeves and pants made from sweat-wicking fabric to keep yourself warm. If it’s hot out, opt for light-coloured clothing that will reflect the sun’s rays. And lastly, be aware of the little details like reflective strips on your clothing if you’re going to be running in low light conditions.

As for shoes, there are a few things you need to keep in mind as well. First, running shoes should always be fitted specifically for running; never try to use cross-training shoes or other types of sneakers as they simply won’t provide enough support. Second, pay attention to the tread on your shoes and replace them every 550-800 kilometres or so; worn-down tread can lead to injury. Finally, invest in a good pair of socks; they might not seem important but they can make all the difference in terms of comfort during a run.

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Hydration and fuelling tips

Before you lace up your shoes and hit the pavement, it’s important to hydrate and fuel your body properly. Doing so will help you have a successful first run.

Here are a few tips:

  • Drink plenty of water in the hours leading up to your run.
  • Eat a light meal or snack before you head out. Something easily digestible like fruit or toast should do the trick.
  • During your long runs, drink small sips of water every few minutes to stay hydrated.
To prevent injury and prepare your body for running, it's important to do a warm-up and stretching exercises before your first run. © HOKA

Warm-up and stretching techniques

Before you head out on your first run, it’s important to do a proper warm-up and some stretching exercises. This will help to prepare your body for the physical activity and reduce the risk of injury.

Here are some simple warm-up and stretching exercises that you can do:

Walking lunges: stand tall with your feet hip-width apart. Step forward with your right leg and lower your body until your left knee is close to the ground. Push yourself back up to the starting position and repeat with the other leg.

Side lunges: start in the same position as the walking lunge. Step sideways with your right leg, keeping your left leg straight. Lower your body until your right knee is close to the ground. Push yourself back up to the starting position and repeat with the other leg.

Butt kicks: start by jogging on the spot. As you jog, kick backwards with your heels so that your buttocks are tapped lightly by your heels with each step.

High knees: start by jogging on the spot. As you jog, bring your knees up high in front of you so that they are level with your hips.

Knowing what to expect on your first run

The first thing to keep in mind is that running is very different from any other kind of exercise. It can be tough, but it’s also extremely rewarding. Once you get into the swing of things, you’ll find that it’s actually quite enjoyable. But before you can get there, you need to know what to expect on your first run.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Running is tough at first – don't be discouraged if you find it difficult to run for more than a few minutes in the beginning. Everyone struggles at the start, but it does get easier with time and practice. Just keep at it and eventually, you’ll be able to run for longer periods of time without feeling winded.
  • You’ll probably get sore – again, this is normal and nothing to worry about. As your body gets used to the new activity, the soreness will go away. In the meantime, just take it easy and don’t push yourself too hard.
  • You’ll need proper attire – one of the most important things when starting out is making sure you have the right gear. Invest in a good pair of running shoes and some comfortable clothes that won’t chafe or rub you the wrong way as you run. Trust us, this will make a world of difference!
  • It’s okay to walk – if you need to take a walking break during your run, that’s perfectly fine! In fact, many runners actually incorporate walking breaks into their training plans as a way to recover from harder efforts or prevent injury, so don’t feel like you’re doing something wrong if you need to slow down and walk for a bit.

On your first run, it’s important to keep expectations realistic. Don’t set out thinking you’ll be able to run for an hour or complete a marathon, but instead think about just taking it one step at a time. Start by running for 5–10 minutes and slowly build up the duration of your runs. It’s also important to not push too hard when you’re starting out. Listen to your body and take regular walking breaks if needed.

What are the health benefits of running?

Running is an excellent way to keep fit and has many health benefits. Running can help lower the risk of serious health conditions such as heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure. Plus, it can even improve your mental well-being – running can boost your mood, reduce stress and make you feel more energised throughout the day. So why not head out for a jog around your local park? You won’t regret it!

How long should you run as a beginner?

As a beginner, you should aim to start small and work your way up. When preparing for your first run, it is important to ensure you have the correct gear and are adequately warmed up. Once you are ready, aim for a run that lasts no longer than 20 minutes. As your running develops over time, gradually increase the duration of your runs, but never push yourself too hard. If you take things at a steady pace and listen to your body, you’ll soon find yourself able to tackle longer distances!

As a new runner, starting and staying motivated can be tough, but having a well-planned beginner running training program can help keep you on track and reach your goals faster. © HOKA

Running training plan for beginners

If you are a new runner, getting started and staying motivated can be hard. That’s why it’s important to have a solid running training plan for beginners in place. Having an ordered strategy will assist you in staying on course and achieving your ambitions more quickly.

A great way to start is by following the ‘10% Rule’. This rule says that you should increase the distance you run each week by no more than 10%. This means that if you run 5 kilometres one day, you shouldn't run more than 5.5 kilometres the next day. This will prevent injury and allow your body time to adjust and become stronger as your fitness level increases.

Another important factor in creating your running training plan is to include rest days. Rest days are essential for recovery and give your body time to heal after a tough workout or race. Aim to work out three days per week, with one rest day in between each of those workouts. This gives your body enough time to recover without leaving too much time in between workouts where you can lose motivation or lose focus on your goals.

Finally, make sure that your plan is realistic and achievable. If you’re just starting out, it might not be realistic to aim for running 10 kilometres every day or even every week initially. Set achievable goals that will challenge you but won't cause burnout or demotivation due to unachievable targets.

These tips will support you create a solid running training plan for beginners that will keep you motivated and on track with achieving your goals.

If you’re just starting out as a runner, how often should you go for a jog?

When you are starting out as a runner, it is important to gradually increase the length and intensity of your runs. A general guide is to start by running for 20–30 minutes three times per week, at a slow and comfortable pace. As you become more comfortable with running, you can increase the distance and eventually build up to running for 30–60 minutes five times per week. Remember to listen to your body – if you feel pain or discomfort, reduce the intensity or duration of your run.

Key exercises to include in your training plan

If you’re just starting out as a runner, there are key exercises you can include in your training plan to help improve your performance. Here are some exercises to consider:

Interval training: this involves alternating between periods of high-intensity running and lower-intensity recovery periods. This type of training can help improve your speed and endurance.

Tempo runs: tempo runs are a great way to improve your running economy, or how efficiently you use energy while running. They involve running at a moderate intensity for a sustained period of time.

Hill repeats: hill repeats are a great way to build strength and power. They involve running up a hill at a moderate to high intensity, then walking or jogging back down to recover. Repeat this several times for a workout that will really get your heart pumping!

Long slow distance (LSD) runs: Long slow distance runs help to build endurance and stamina. They involve running at a lower intensity for a longer period of time, such as 60-90 minutes.

To enhance your running performance as a beginner, consider incorporating exercises like interval training, tempo runs, hill repeats, and long slow distance runs into your training plan. © HOKA

Techniques for successful running

If you’re just getting started as a runner, the process can be overwhelming. With the right techniques and a bit of dedication, however, you’ll quickly begin to make progress. Here are some tips to help you make running efficient, enjoyable, and successful:

  • Get the right form: good running form is essential for running efficiently and avoiding injury. Make sure your feet land directly under your hips and that you maintain a forward lean throughout. Concentrate on pushing off with each foot, rather than pushing your feet into the ground.
  • Focus on your breathing: learning how to regulate your breathing during a run is important for maintaining a steady pace. Try taking deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth, which will also help to prevent fatigue.
  • Vary your workouts: to keep things interesting and prevent boredom, incorporate interval training into your runs. This involves alternating between fast-paced sprints and slower-paced jogs or walks to give yourself regular breaks.
  • Set Goals: Having goals to work towards is one of the most effective ways to stay motivated when running. Whether it's aiming for a certain time or distance, setting realistic targets can be great motivation for continuing your running journey.

With these tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way to becoming an efficient and successful runner!

What specific nutritional tips should a runner follow to improve their performance?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as each runner will have different nutritional needs based on their individual physiology. However, there are some general guidelines that all runners can follow to improve their performance: firstly, it is important to ensure that you are eating enough calories to support your training. This means eating a balanced diet that includes plenty of healthy carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Secondly, you should make sure to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day. And finally, you should aim to eat most of your meals and snacks earlier in the day, as this will give your body time to digest the food and convert it into energy before your next run.

Keeping yourself motivated is crucial in your running journey, and there are many methods to ensure you stay on track and achieve your goals. © HOKA

Staying motivated

If you are serious about running, staying motivated is a key part of your journey. There are several ways to keep yourself motivated and on track to achieving your goals.

Set realistic goals

It is important to set realistic goals for yourself when it comes to running. This will help you stay focused and motivated. Start by setting short-term goals that are achievable, such as running a certain distance or completing a certain number of runs each week. As you become fitter, gradually increase the difficulty of your goals.

Celebrate milestones

Celebrating your milestones is a great way to stay motivated and give yourself something to look forward to. Whether it is achieving a new personal best or reaching your weekly target, take time out to reward and celebrate yourself for the hard work you have put in. This will help keep you motivated and remind you why you are running in the first place.

Join a running group or club

Joining a running group or club can be an excellent way to stay motivated and meet like-minded people who share similar goals. Not only can they provide support and encouragement but they can also offer advice and tips that can help with your progress.

Listen to music

Listening to music while running can be a great way to boost motivation levels and get into the right mindset for running. Choose songs that make you feel energised and add an extra layer of excitement when it comes to running.

Visualise success

Visualising success can be an incredibly powerful tool for staying motivated on long-term goals. When things get tough, take some time out for yourself and visualise what it would feel like if you were able to reach your goal or complete a race. This will help keep you focused on the end goal and remind you why it’s important for you to stay committed and motivated in order to achieve it.

Avoiding common mistakes

As a new runner, it’s easy to make mistakes that can lead to overtraining, injuries, and even burnout. But by following a few simple guidelines, you can avoid these pitfalls and stay motivated for the long run. Here are six common mistakes to avoid as a beginner runner:

Not cross-training: by incorporating other forms of exercise into your routine, you’ll reduce your risk of injuries and help improve your running form.

Skipping recovery: recovery is just as important as the actual running itself. After a long run or race, be sure to take some time to rest and let your body recover. This will help prevent overtraining and injuries.

Not listening to your body: every runner is different, and it’s important to listen to your body when starting out. If you’re feeling pain or fatigue, be sure to take a break and rest. Pushing yourself too hard too soon can lead to injuries or burnout.

Neglecting form: proper form is crucial for all runners, but especially beginners. By focusing on good form from the start, you’ll reduce your risk of injuries and improve your overall running efficiency.

Running too much too soon: it’s tempting to try and do too much too soon when starting out, but this can lead to overtraining and injuries. Start slow and gradually build up your mileage to avoid burning out or getting injured.

Not giving yourself enough time to rest: just like with any other type of exercise, it’s important to give yourself time to rest between runs. If you’re feeling fatigued, take a day or two off from running to allow your body to recover properly.


If you’re thinking about taking up running, congratulations! You’re on your way to improving your fitness and overall health. Starting a running habit can be tough, but it’s definitely worth it. Use the tips in this article to help you get started and stay motivated. Before you know it, you’ll be a pro!

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