Beginner Running

I WANT TO START RUNNING – There are many reasons to start a running program, no matter what your age and fitness level.



There are many reasons to start a running program, no matter what your age and fitness level. Many new runners are looking for weight loss and health benefits. You may be looking for well needed “me” time or a way to meet new friends. There may be a race that you’ve always wanted to enter. No matter what your reason for starting, it’s important that you follow some basic guidelines to help you avoid injury, keep running fun and help you reach your goals.

What Do I Need?

All you need to start running is a good pair of running shoes and comfortable clothing. If you want to train for a race, following a simple training plan and putting a goal race on your calendar will make sure you’re ready to toe the starting line on race day. If you are new to exercise or have any medical concerns, make sure to get checked out by a doctor to make sure you’re healthy enough to begin.


It is important to choose shoes that are made specifically for running, but they don’t need to be the most expensive shoe available.

  • Visit a store that specializes in running gear and has trained personnel who will work with you to find the right shoes for your feet.
  • Questions to consider before you buy include:
    • Where will you run – roads, trails or the local high school track?
    • How much will you be running each week?
  • Get your gait analyzed to make sure your shoes will provide the needed support and fit to allow you to run injury free.
    • There are 3 natural alignments that guide your shoe choice:
      1. Basic pronation: Rolling motion normalizes along the center of the foot. Wear is centralized to the ball of the foot and portions of the heel. Consider a neutral running shoe.
      2. Overpronation: Rolling motion normalizes along the inner edge of the foot. Wear is heaviest if along the inside edge of the shoe; the inner ball of the foot and inside of the heel. Consider a stability running shoe for added arch support or even customized orthotic inserts.
      3. Supination: Rolling motion normalizes along the outer edge of the foot. Wear is heaviest along the outside edge of the shoe; the outer ball of the foot and the outside of the heel. Consider neutral running shoes or running shoes with greater cushioning along the outsole.
  • Shoe Fit
    • Your foot should feel secure and snug with no slipping or sliding.
    • The toe box should provide plenty of space for your forefoot to move naturally.
    • There should be a thumb’s width of space between the end of your toes and the tip of the shoe, which often means going up one-half size from your “street” shoes.
  • Running shoes should feel good as soon as you put them on, no break-in period required.
  • Ask about the store’s return policy in case the shoes cause discomfort after your initial run.


Running apparel should be comfortable and appropriate for the weather but doesn’t need to be expensive.

  • Choose a mix of long sleeve, short sleeve, and tanks (or sleeveless) tops in wicking fabrics that will pull moisture from your skin.
  • Running bras come in a variety of styles to support all body shapes and sizes.
  • Long sleeved quarter zip tops are great for layering on top of a base layers when the weather gets cooler. The zipper lets you adjust air flow at the neck.
  • Jackets and vests provide wind and rain protection, as well as warmth on cold days.
  • Choose shorts in a wide variety lengths and styles as well as running tights or pants for cooler weather. Bottoms with zippered pockets are helpful for stashing keys, money, ID or snacks.
  • Socks should also be made of wicking material. Experiment with different brands and styles to find what works best for you.
  • Don’t forget a knit beanie and gloves for cold weather. A lightweight running cap keep the sun and rain off your face.
  • Check out the Gear section of the Support Hub for new products.


  • A training program helps to keep you on track and ensures that your mileage increases gradually.
  • Many plans for beginners alternate running and walking, then build to all running.
  • Count back from race day to determine how many weeks you have to train, and adjust your training plan to match.
  • For specific plans, go to the Training Plans section of the Support Hub.


  • A great way to stay motivated is to pick a race in the future and write it on your calendar.
  • Find family and friends to run with, post on social media and get excited about your first race.
  • Pick a race distance that is realistic based on your training schedule.
  • For a first race, find a race that is close to home. Sleeping in your bed the night before your first race and having all of your gear at your fingertips the morning of the race is a great way to lessen any butterflies you might have.
  • Check out the HMF Events Calendar


  • Make time for running – pencil your runs into your weekly calendars to keep you on track with your training plan.
  • Running Log – written in a notebook or tracked digitally, a log helps you reflect on your runs. Items to track include the length of your run (both time and distance), time of day and how you felt during and after the run.
  • Start with a warm up, end with stretchingListen to your body
  • Learn more about Nutrition and Hydration for runners in the Support Hub.