Wondering how to start running? Excellent choice! From weight loss to the incredible feeling of a runner’s high, running is one of the most rewarding ways to get fit. 

But let’s face it – running for beginners can feel like navigating a maze. You need to create a running plan suited to your level, and your new running routine may take some time and effort to ease into. 

Luckily, with a bit of direction you can set yourself up for success. Our 6-step guide helps you take the initial leap, and keep the momentum on your running journey. 

In This Article

How to Start Running

1. Know your goal

Knowing your goal can help create your running plan, keep you motivated, and provide that extra sense of reward. But for new runners, it is wise to start small. Make sure your goals are inspiring enough to keep going, but realistic and attainable without straining yourself.

Have you thought of your first race yet? A 5K run could be a fun goal, and is a great place to start. It’s a relatively easy distance to train for, allowing beginners to feel the excitement of a race and the joy of finishing it. 

Choosing goals that make you feel good mentally and physically can be really rewarding, too. 

For instance, you might want to fit into your favorite pair of jeans again, or simply feel more relaxed. These kinds of goals allow you to see and feel the benefits of running, which can help turn running into a habit. 

2. Set a running plan

A balanced running plan is essential for a successful running journey. If you are out of shape or overweight, walking longer distances might be a safe place to start. Gradually transitioning from walking to running over weeks can help you build endurance, reduce the risk of injury, and make the process enjoyable rather than daunting. 

Once you feel comfortable to run, follow a 10% rule of increasing your weekly mileage of no more than 10%. Alternatively, you could increase the number of days a week you hit the pavement.   

If creating your own plan feels intimidating, and you’re uncertain about how to progress, an app like Joggo can create a running program for you. It takes your current fitness level, goals, and lifestyle into consideration to ensure the plan is tailored uniquely to you. Plus, you’ll be able to find warm-up and cool-down routines, expert tips, and custom-made meal plan, all in one place.   

3. Invest in good gear

If you’re wondering how to start jogging, a new tracksuit might just get you off the couch. How? A study found that the clothes we wear have a direct impact on how we feel and act. So, if you want to be a runner, you may need to dress as one first. 

It doesn’t mean you need to splurge on fancy equipment. Start with the basics first. Get a good pair of running shoes suited to your foot type and running goals. Opt for breathable running clothes made of wicking fabric. They should keep you dry, allow a range of motion and reduce friction.   

The right gear can help make that exercise habit stick, so choose activewear that is comfortable and visually appealing to you. 

Tip: When heading out for a run, dress as if it is 10–15 degrees warmer to avoid overheating. 

4. Avoid typical mistakes

Starting a new running program can be exciting. But you should be aware of the common mistakes most runners make in the beginning.  

It may be tempting to jump right into your new routine, which can lead to overtraining, loss of motivation, or injury. Start by walking for longer periods to prepare your body for running. Alternatively, try the run walk method, and gradually build the running time. During your first weeks, keep a conversational pace while running, and don’t forget to take rest days. 

Correct running technique is also crucial for injury prevention and consistent progress. Make sure you maintain proper running form – keep your upper body straight, look ahead, swing your arms from your shoulders, and engage your core. You should keep your knees slightly bent, and aim for a mid-foot strike. 

Tip: Don’t underestimate the power of good running shoes. It can help ensure your foot hits the ground softly and help protect your joints from overuse injuries. 

5. Find your running community

For many runners, one of the greatest parts of the sport is belonging to a running community. Running friends give us support, motivation, and empower us to get up and go, especially when we don’t feel like running.

The good news? Runners are everywhere, from neighborhoods and parks to city streets. You could join a road runners’ club, check out fitness apps or groups on social media. You’ll be sure to find at least one group that aligns with your goals.

Need ideas for enjoyable and fun runs? Hitting a trail can be a good way to spend time in nature and connect with your running buddies. Use an app to find a running trail near you, and make sure you have the necessary gear with you. 

6. Start running – and keep going 

For new runners, getting out there and starting is crucial. But as you progress, it is equally important to establish a consistent routine and to form a sustainable running habit.

To keep your mind motivated and your body more resilient, incorporate some cross or strength training into your plan. Activities like swimming, yoga, or cycling are fun ways to switch it up while building strength and stamina. 

Adopting the right mental attitude is equally important. A more positive outlook allows you to overcome obstacles more effectively, making running more rewarding. Remembering that every stride forward is a step towards a healthier, more fulfilled life.

Tip: In addition to setting goals, you could keep a health and fitness diary. It is a fun way to track your progress and can help you stay motivated. 


How can I start running as a beginner?

Starting to run as a beginner involves setting achievable goals and creating a balanced running plan. Start small to avoid strain, and gradually transition from walking to running to build endurance and reduce the risk of injury. 

Investing in good gear, including suitable running shoes and breathable clothes, can also significantly impact your journey. Finding a running community can provide support and motivation, and maintaining a positive mental attitude can help overcome challenges effectively. 

How do unfit beginners start running?

Unfit and overweight beginners should start with a more gentle approach. Initially, focus on longer walks before incorporating run-walk intervals, progressively increasing running duration over time. 

To make sure they’re making progress safely, severely overweight beginners might need to see a doctor first. Whether it’s reviewing the medical history, checking for any pre-existing conditions, or simply making healthy suggestions, a professional opinion can ensure a safe start. 

A certified coach can also help with the fitness level assessment, explaining how to run properly and safely. 

How far should a beginner start running?

Beginners should start with walking and, when ready, integrate short running intervals, aiming initially for 10-15 minutes of running. As this becomes more manageable, gradually increase the duration. 

The Joggo app offers personalized training plans tailored to individual needs and goals, allowing beginners to focus on their journey without the guesswork. Just let the app guide you through each step!


Still unsure how to start jogging today? Getting started is the most challenging part. But once you overcome the initial inertia, maintaining a regular running habit can add a sense of well-being and accomplishment to your life. Here are a few things to keep in mind before you take that first step: 

  • Set realistic, yet inspiring goals. You could start from a 5K race to maybe a half marathon, depending on your fitness level and the time you’re willing to allocate for running. 
  • Start small. A safe running plan for beginners might begin with brisk walking, and gradually increase to longer running intervals. Run at an easy pace first, and remember – it’s ok to take walk breaks!
  • Mix it up with some cross training to avoid boredom. Add yoga, swimming, or cycling or some other activity you like to your routine. Experimenting with running workouts can be fun, too. 
  • Get comfortable gear you would enjoy wearing. Activewear you love can motivate you to get out there and run. 
  • Be mindful of your running technique – keep your body upright, breathe deep through your nose, land your foot lightly. Also, avoid overtraining to ensure consistent progress.
  • A positive attitude can help in overcoming challenges and making the running experience more rewarding.
  • Establish a balanced running plan. Beginners starting out at a level unsuited to their needs often risk injury or loss motivation. 

Looking for some guidance to kickstart your fitness journey? Try Joggo – a digital running coach that creates a running program around your goals, needs and lifestyle. Take our free, 2-minute quiz and start building a plan that guides, motivates, and evolves with you. 


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Written by

Chris Zibutis

Chris Zibutis is the Head Running Coach and founder of Joggo – that one person on earth who loves interval runs. ? He holds a degree from Copenhagen Business School and is an avid runner – having participated in numerous marathons and triathlons, Chris brings substantial fitness and running experience to the Joggo team.