The ultimate guide on how to start running to get ultra-fit – Insider

The ultimate guide on how to start running to get ultra-fit – Insider

Running is an excellent form of exercise that can help you achieve your fitness goals, whether it’s trying to lose weight, improve your heart health, or boost your mood. The best part is it’s accessible to almost everyone — all you need is a pair of running shoes and the motivation to hit the pavement. 

Here’s everything you need to know to start running from choosing the right gear to finding a training plan that works for you. 

How to start running 

If you haven’t broken a sweat in a while, start slow. Otherwise, you increase your risk of injury. “If someone’s never done any exercise before they should start with a two-minute walk followed by a one-minute run,” says John Henwood, an Olympian, certified running coach, and strength trainer in New York City. 

Henwood also recommends new runners start with running three days a week, and then build slowly up to five days per week. 

Whatever you’re level, you may want to consider setting goals to stay motivated. One way to do this is by signing up for a race. You can use an online race finder to find one near you. To hold yourself accountable, it also might help to run with a friend or join a running group. 

If you’re looking for further motivation, invest in a device that can track your mileage and pace, whether it’s a fitness tracker or a free app like Strava or Nike Run Club. “You can see your improvement over time, which will help you stay in the game,” says Henwood. 

 Additionally, talk to your doctor before beginning any running regimen if you have:

That’s because running can place a lot of stress on the body, and it’s important to ease into it to reduce your risk of injury. A doctor can help you determine a training program tailored to you and your health needs. 

How to run properly 

For the most part, running is intuitive, but there are a few key tips to keeping proper form:

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Additionally, check your stride. If your foot is landing ahead of your knee, that means your stride is too long. Instead, your knee should be slightly bent and in line with the middle of the foot when it strikes the ground. This will help your joints absorb the shock of impact. 

Choosing the right running gear 

 If you’re going to start running regularly, you’ll need to invest in the right gear to keep you comfortable and injury-free. This includes:

How to prevent injuries 

Pre-run warm-up 

Here is a sample warm-up routine you can follow. Just repeat each exercise for 10 repetitions on each side for three rounds.

Take rest days 

Regardless if you’re a novice or a seasoned athlete, you should never run every day. That’s because exerting the same muscles and tissues day after day can result in injury and burnout. You should aim for at least one to two rest days a week. Signs you need a rest day include: 

Diversify your workouts 

Because running is a one-dimensional exercise — meaning you’re working your muscles in only one plane of motion — it leaves you more susceptible to injury. That’s why Henwood recommends all runners do some form of strength training twice a week to strengthen stabilizing muscles like your hip flexors and glutes. 

You should also consider cross-training, which is doing another form of cardiovascular exercise like swimming or cycling alongside running. Studies have found this reduces your risk of overuse injuries. 

“When you cross-train you’re getting your heart rate up and building endurance, but not pounding the body like you would while running,” says Henwood. “You’re also getting strength training benefits since you’re working your muscles in a different way.” 

How to get better at running 

Once you have the basics of running down — about four weeks after you begin running if you’re new to the sport — you can start focusing on increasing your speed and distance. 



Meanwhile, if you’re looking to up your mileage, make sure you’re increasing distance by no more than 10% per week. This will prevent you from overexerting yourself and becoming injured. Some methods to boost your mileage include: 

How to fuel your body 

What you put in your body before and after a run is just as important as warming up or cooling down. 

What to eat before a run 

Running requires energy, which comes from the foods you digest. To run at your best, fuel up one to two hours beforehand.

But, some foods are better than others — you wouldn’t want to run after eating a cheeseburger. That’s because your body digests fatty foods like meat and dairy more slowly, which can cause gas, bloating, and cramps during your run.

What to eat after a run 

You should eat a combo of complex carbs and protein within 30 minutes after a run. The carbohydrates will restore depleted energy stores, and the proteins will help build muscles. Some ideas for a post-run meal or snack include: 

You’ll also want to drink plenty of water after your run since dehydration can cause fatigue, headaches, and dizziness. 

How to stay hydrated 

Ideally, you should be drinking water about every 15 minutes during your run if you’re sweating. How much you drink after a run depends on your body and sweat, but a good rule of thumb is 24 ounces of liquid within 30 minutes of completing your workout. 

While water is always a great choice, you also want to consume something with electrolytes after a run. Electrolytes are essential minerals that help balance fluid levels within the body. Some examples of electrolyte-rich drinks include: 

Insider’s takeaway 

Running is a great form of exercise that you can do just about anywhere at any time. Whether you’re jogging around the block or training for your first 5k, it’s important to take note of your running form, attire, and pre-post workout routine to avoid injury.

Also, remember to start slowly and build up gradually. Alternating between running and walking is a great way to not only start a running routine but also to add distance to your workout so you can work up to running longer.

Running can not only help you lose weight and improve cardiovascular health, but it can also boost your mood and give you a sense of accomplishment. Just remember to warm up before each run, fuel your body with the proper foods and drinks, and stay consistent and patient to see progress.

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