5 things to think about when you start running

Getting into running might be difficult. Let’s be honest, how fun is it to put one foot in front of the other for an extended period of time? Still, it has given me so much, that I think everyone should give it a solid try. One of the best things about running is the barrier to entry:

  • It’s free. No need to pay an entry fee to go running, and you don’t need any gear or special clothing. You basically don’t even need running shoes, as you can run barefoot on the beach or a grass field.
  • You don’t need to rely on anyone else. No need to schedule specific times with other people, you can go running whenever you want.
  • You can run wherever you want. No need to drive to a specific location, you can just step outside and start running.
  • I know that it actually is enjoyable once you’ve pushed through the first few weeks.

Things that will help you get started

If you’re doing things wrong in the beginning, it’s a lot easier to give up. Here are a few things that have helped me:


Make sure you have good shoes. I’m not talking about the expensive “pro-runner” shoes, but comfortable ones. And make sure they fit well. When I started, I ran in size 9.5(US)/43(EU) and later on switched to 10.5(US)/44(EU). It’s more important for longer runs where the feet get swollen, but still important for shorter runs as well. You don’t want your toes to continually rub against the top of the shoe.
Don’t tie your shoes too tight, that’s what I did, and too much pressure on the ankle resulted in shin splints.

Pace and length

Don’t worry about length or pace, focus on the duration and heart rate instead. If you don’t have a watch that tells you your heart rate zones, you can use the “MAF 180 Formula”: subtract your age from 180, that’s the max heart rate you want to be at. So if you are 30 years old, you should keep your heart rate below 150 (180–30=150). If you aren’t able to track your heart rate, just keep a comfortable pace where you could keep a conversation the whole time. There are a lot of things that affect your heart rate (stress, pace, humidity, etc.), so the paces might vary between runs. Sometimes you might even have to walk, that’s totally fine!

Your first run(s) should be really short, 10–15 minutes is probably good. Slowly increase the length of the runs, no more than 10% each week.

Try different things

Try different things to see what works best for you. Try running at different times of the day, the run can be a great way to wake up in the morning or a great stress-reliever after work. Try running with a friend, alone, with and without music or a podcast. The more positive things you can associate with the run, the easier it will be.

Sign up for a race

It is easier to stay motivated when you have a goal. You are adding one more meaning to the run. This will be the hardest the first time, but after you cross that finish line the first time you will be hooked.

Stick with it

Stick with it at least for a month, even if you don’t like it. Remember that it will only get easier and feel better the more you do it.



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Andreas Westerlund

Andreas Westerlund

Endurance athlete, digital nomad, nerd. Just a normal guy trying to figure out fitness, business, and life. https://www.andreaswesterlund.com