Tips to start running for beginners

Are you new to running? We have a few tips to help get you on the right track.

28 August 2020

3 min read

We all consider going for a run from time to time, whether you've signed up for a race, wanted to try couch to 5k or you've just watched Forrest Gump - we've got you covered if you've not run for a while.

Running is free, requires little equipment, you can do it anywhere, and it burns more calories than any other mainstream exercise. Studies have shown that running brings enormous benefits, from cutting your risk of getting some types of cancer, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease, to reducing your chances of high blood pressure and stroke. Maybe after reading this you're thinking, I should be running.

We then have mental health benefits. Getting out of the house can really help clear the mind. If your running route can take in natural settings, this can bring extra benefits. A nice route along the seafront, the common, Eastern Road or Hilsea can be great for some fresh air. Running can help get that all-important Vitamin D which can reduce depressive feelings, it can help with productivity and can also help control stress and boost the body’s ability to deal with mental tension. Running can increase concentrations of norepinephrine which moderates the brain’s response to stress.

You should always check with a doctor if you have any concerns about starting to run, but the vast majority of people can improve their state of mind and health with a couple of runs a week. We’ve compiled some tips if you’re considering getting your running shoes on and ways to keep you motivated through the early stages.

Get the right kit

We don't usually advocate buying kit before starting something but before you start, a good pair of running trainers are essential that suit your foot type which may help improve comfort. Although your gym shoes may be suitable, your converse or vans are not. The majority of gym trainers are generally running shoes anyway, if you’re unsure, get in touch with one of our instructors through our health and fitness facebook group. Women should also consider using a sports bra, which is sturdier than a regular bra and provides additional support. Planning your run/route helps. Following a realistic plan will help you improve faster than simply winging it. Realistic might mean not pushing yourself too fast, too soon and risking burning out. If you're looking to get a decent pair of running shoes, Alexandra Sports will fit your trainers, test your running gait and make sure you have the right shoe for the type of runner you are. Alternatively head to Gunwharf, the Nike store or Under Armour staff will be able to advise you.


Start small

Beginners should start and embrace the run-walk method. The run-walk method involves running for a predetermined length of time, taking a planned walk break, and repeating. The purpose of the walk break is to reduce stress on the body and mind. The target could be 10/15/20 minutes of exercise, focusing on a few minutes of running/jogging followed by a period of walking and repeat. If that is too much - use the lamposts run between a number of lamposts and walk between some try running 3 and walking 1. Try to aim to do this twice a week. Increasing the length of exercise with longer runs/jogs in between each walk. You will build up to a point where walking isn’t happening in your runs for 10/15/20 minutes and can slowly build up your time of exercise.


Set yourself a goal

Staying motivated can be hard. This is why we recommend setting yourself goals. Whatever your level, setting challenges is useful to stay motivated. Training for a race, such as a 5k, or a charity run is a good way to keep going. Find a running buddy or join a running club. Music, a good playlist can be highly motivating. Just be sure to keep the volume low or opt for open-air earphones so you’re aware of your surroundings. Track your runs which includes route, distance, time, weather conditions and how you felt. The easiest way to track this is on an app or in a diary. Change your location. Doing the same route can be very boring. Vary your distances, pace and routes. Most importantly is to enjoy your run and remember everyone has to start somewhere.


Try the Southsea parkrun

The free timed 5k run happens every week on Southsea seafront. Although the distance can be daunting there is a real sense of community that can help boost you on. Whatever speed you run at - there will be others in the same boat as you. Collectively running with other people naturally will help you get around the course. You'll get a time for your run, which allows you to beat your time and track your progress over time. Try it out - it's free, just register before your first run at

If you want to start running but need some more advice, book a free 15-minute consultation with one of our Personal Trainers