How to Start Running & Not Hate It

How to Start Running & Not Hate It

Want to start running, but don’t know where to start?  Follow my how to start running plan and you’ll be pounding the pavement in no time!

How to Start Running plan from Running in a Skirt

Hi everyone!

Time and time again I’m finding myself falling in love with running all over again.  I’ve been running for nearly 8 years now and I still count my blessings that I took a leap of faith and started to slowly log those first miles.  Running keeps me in shape, keeps my mind clear and brings me joy.  It is a constant in my life that keeps me going on good and bad days.

I’m not going to pretend that starting to run isn’t hard though.  I remember not knowing where to begin and feeling like an outsider.  I remember blindly trying to buy a real pair of running shoes wondering why they were the most expensive shoes I now owned.  I also remember trying to run those first few miles and literally gasping for breath after only a quarter of mile.  After that I remember wanting to quit and wondering if I actually hated running instead of loving it.

But somehow I kept going and ran my first race and I was hooked.  I’m not saying everyone should be a runner, because I believe it’s not for everyone.  But I also believe that if you have even a hint in your mind that you want to try… that you should.  Because you never know when you will run (literally…) across a new passion.

The best thing about running is that in it’s purest state, it’s something uncomplicated that most people can do.  You don’t need fancy equipment or a gym membership, just a pair of running shoes and a road or trail.  Once you take that step out the door and move your walk to a jog or run, you are a runner.  It’s not a fancy title that needs four years of school or a special test.  It’s not something so exclusive that only the richest or most athletic people can call themselves.  You don’t have to be fast or look like a running model.  If you run, you are a runner.   It’s as simple as that.  But the pride that comes with calling yourself a runner can exceed some of the most prestigious awards and titles.  I can promise you that it is worth it.

So today, I wanted to share some ideas with you on how to start running including a how to start running plan.  If you’ve ever thought about running at all this is your chance.

How to Start Running Plan

Get Fitted for Running Shoes

The first thing you need to do is go to a real running store and get fitted for running shoes.  This can make a big difference in whether you get injured or not.  Find one with people who specialize in making sure runners are wearing the right shoes.  Running shoes can be a little pricey, but hopefully that will be just the motivation you need to keep at it!  Also what works good for your friend, might not be best for you so make sure to check with the store.

Start off Slow

Don’t be afraid to go too slow.  When you start just keeping your feet moving is a victory.  Most of us will never be an elite athlete and that’s not what it is about.  Compete only with yourself and try to do a little more each time you run.

Also don’t feel bad if you can’t run constantly to start.  If running for 20 minutes straight is too hard (and don’t feel bad if it is), try running for 3 minutes and walking for 1 minute.  An inexpensive stopwatch can help you with the timing.  Over time, run more and walk less.  Soon you will be shocked that you will go through the whole 20 minutes and you can start running for longer times and distances.  Then you’ll be ready to tackle longer distances.

Plan Ahead

Decide when you want to run ahead of time and put it in your calendar.  If you like or need to run in the morning, put out your exercise clothes the night before.  If you are running after work, pack a bag and take your clothes with you.   If you have invested time in getting ready to run, you are more likely to do it.  If you don’t plan when you are going to run it is far less likely to happen.  Schedule your runs like a business meeting.

Tell Someone

Find an encouraging friend or someone who already runs.  Tell them you are just starting out and they will most likely be thrilled to offer you some tips or kind words.  Runners love to talk about running.  Trust me!  This will also hold you accountable for following through with your new hobby.

Veterans Jam 5K, Fletcher Park 2015

Sign up for a 5K

After you’ve been running for a few weeks find a local 5K (or virtual 5K) that is two to three months away.  Start with a shorter distance and don’t try to jump straight into anything longer.  Picking a race a few months out will give you a reasonable amount of time to hit that elusive goal.  Tell people you are going to be training for the race and post it on social media.  If you’ve actually signed up for a race and people are expecting you to do it, you are more likely to stick with it!

To actually train for the race a Couch to 5K program will give you baby steps to get there.  They are even on apps now that literally walk you through the training process.  Follow it!

And remember your first race is automatically a PR (personal record!) so enjoy the sheer joy of the experience.  And don’t blame me if somewhere along the process you end up actually loving running and signing up for more.


Like this post about a How to Start Running plan?  Pin this to your favorite running board.

How to Start Running plan from Running in a Skirt

Your turn!

Runners- Any more tips for newbies?

Non-runners- If you want to run, what is your biggest obstacle in making it happen?


  1. Andy Parsons November 12, 2017 at 12:06 pm - Reply

    Great post 🙂 I’m a beginner runner as well. Well, I have started in October, so that’s already 3 months that have passed, but that’s still a beginner level, if you ask me 🙂 I have so many things to learn, but at least I pretty much love it, so I’m sure the learning process and running will be nice.

  2. Sam Brass November 11, 2017 at 7:40 am - Reply

    I am 54 and will start training with my daughter to run my first 5k. I love the advise and a little nervous about being able to do it! Never really thought about running shoes to invest in. It will be a Mother daughter adventure!

  3. Chrystal Rose November 6, 2017 at 1:24 pm - Reply

    Amazing tips! Cardio gets such a bad rep – especially running. Starting off slow and having that support from a community can really help motivate. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Archie November 3, 2017 at 6:56 pm - Reply

    Love these tips! Thank you for sharing 🙂

    Vegas Boy Adventures

  5. [email protected] November 3, 2017 at 3:21 pm - Reply

    Love these tips! I’m someone who has never really liked running (even though I like the thought of running), so thank you for sharing this post!

  6. Shathiso November 3, 2017 at 8:34 am - Reply

    I am going to refer some of my friends to this post. These are such brilliant (and non-intimidating) tips! Signing up for that first race is such a good point – I found doing that kept be committed from the onset. As I had registered for a race, I was “forced” to go out and run, and it did wonders for me.

  7. Annmarie November 2, 2017 at 6:02 am - Reply

    YES to all these things! I think finding a friend to join you on the journey makes it that much better – and keeps you accountable!

  8. Nicole @ Fitful Focus November 1, 2017 at 11:39 am - Reply

    Love these tips. I think finding a running buddy and finding a fun race are key. There are a bunch of themed races that would be great (Disney races, holiday races, costume races, etc).

  9. Farrah November 1, 2017 at 1:35 am - Reply

    These are all great tips! I did most of em’ back when I first started running. I feel like there’s a chance that I’d still do it if my running buddy lived closer to me!

  10. Katie @ Hungry Runner October 31, 2017 at 7:55 am - Reply

    All GREAT tips! I think starting out slow is the most important one. Doing too much too soon was a big mistake I made. Luckily I got past that and now I get to fall in love with the sport over and over again too 🙂

    • JulieWunder November 4, 2017 at 9:41 am - Reply

      Yes! That’s a big one too! I cringe when I hear people starting out and saying they are going to go EVERYDAY!

  11. Emily Swanson October 26, 2017 at 5:10 pm - Reply

    Finding friends that can encourage you in your running journey is AMAZING! 🙂 I loved having friends to run with, and I still do. I would say that getting a good pair of shoes is so invaluable, and it’s also really good to experiment with what works for you fueling wise; they don’t have to eat exactly how the guidebooks say if it doesn’t work for your stomach.

  12. Nicole @ Bento Momentos October 26, 2017 at 10:56 am - Reply

    I heard the app From Couch to 5k is helpful. Thank you for the tips!

  13. Susie @ Suzlyfe October 26, 2017 at 8:52 am - Reply

    I was talking to someone about this the other day. start small, work up, and make running the reward not the punishment!

  14. [email protected] October 26, 2017 at 8:17 am - Reply

    So glad you have found your passion with running. I feel really good when I keep to my walking schedule. Your ideas today translate well to us walkers, also! Thanks for the encouragement!

  15. Maureen @ Maureen Gets Real October 26, 2017 at 7:03 am - Reply

    These are great tips! Getting proper running shoes is my number 1 tip for being who want to get into running.

    • JulieWunder November 4, 2017 at 9:10 am - Reply

      Yes!! It’s a big investment early on, but one that would have saved me all sorts of trouble. 🙂

  16. Cassandra Horton March 31, 2015 at 11:44 pm - Reply

    Hey Julie I’m a newbie runner and will be running my first 5k “The Run for Holland” in Spruce Pine the last of April…you should come run it with us 😉 ..My question for you is this how do you overcome the burning lung sensation when running ….mine had gotten so bad the other evening I literally couldn’t stop coughing so I wasn’t sure if it gets better (being out of shape) or if allergens this time of year could have a hand in it?

  17. Tamela September 3, 2014 at 9:25 am - Reply

    Do you have advice for teen boys with osgood slatter? My son grew so fast he developed this condition. He is now very over weight. This makes his issue even worse.

    • JulieWunder September 3, 2014 at 10:54 pm - Reply

      I am sorry but I don’t. I’d check with your doctor about any exercise plans that may work. Best of luck! Julie

  18. Stacie @ SimplySouthernStacie September 3, 2014 at 7:16 am - Reply

    Love your tips! I would say to buy some running gear (shoes, new shorts, etc.). Not anything crazy, but just enough so that you feel official and inspired.

    • JulieWunder September 3, 2014 at 10:54 pm - Reply

      That’s a good one Stacie! I am motivated by “gear” as well.

  19. Blane Sherer September 3, 2014 at 6:39 am - Reply

    I’m sure your new ” time freedom ” is great for you in so many, many ways including running. Are you feeling like a ” new person “?

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