Part One


A lot of beginners head out their front door full of enthusiasm and over do it. When they return home, it can leave them thinking - that was terrible, never again! But it's totally normal to feel quite sluggish, slow and out of breath to begin with. You'll need bucket loads of patience because running will feel tough at first! Follow a good programme and really take your time. Gradually your fitness levels will start improving. It will be a great feeling. Soon you will be well on your way on your personal running journey and the enjoyment can really begin!

If you're a total beginner, it’s best to start out with walking and then gradually introduce some sections of running until overtime you are able to run continuously. Jogging with sections of walking is how I structure my beginners schedules and it’s how I often return from injury. The Couch to 5k uses this approach and is a great way to start running.

Why walk when you can run? You need this type of approach because your body isn’t accustomed to running and so you must take it slowly and allow your body time to adapt. This process is called conditioning and as a beginner that is your primary goal. Don’t think about the purpose of your first few weeks of running in terms of getting fit but instead, think of it as preparation for a future of running. You do this by running at a slow pace that’s comfortable. You should be able to hold a conversation whilst running. If you can’t then slow down a little more and include more walking and occasional rests too. 

A training schedule needs planning but also lots of flexibility so that it responds to an individuals progress, any set backs, and the general busyness of life. It's important to avoid blindly following schedules that are constantly progressing regardless of your changing circumstances.

You'll soon start to notice improvements in your fitness with a sensible approach and within just a few months you’ll really feel like a runner. Taking your time is so important, not just so you complete your run feeling ok and aren’t put off, but also because one of the primary concerns when starting out is avoiding injury.


As you transition from walking and running to a continuous run make sure you keep the running at a comfortable pace. Aim to finish your run feeling good and not flat on your back. If you run too fast or too far when you’re not ready it will be less of a positive experience, and you'll probably feel very stiff for a few days. A little stiffness is ok but too much is a sign you are overdoing it and that you need to slow down a little. If you don't listen to your body, you're more likely to pick up an injury which would be disappointing when you've just got started.


Rest days are very important to allow your body time to adapt to running. As a new runner your body will need longer to recover from runs as your body is less accustomed to the activity. As you progress your body adapts and you will get more conditioned to running. As your ability improves you will be able to run for more consecutive days in a row.


Why not consider running with others, the moral support can be all that’s needed. There are lots of beginner groups out there You don’t have to run with others all the time but it could help you on your way. My joy of running is a mixture of running alone and with others.

Another option is to simply turn up at a parkrun

Coming Soon - Getting Started Part Two 

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© 2018 Jo Pavey