How to Get Into Running

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How to Get Into Running

By Jemma Howlett

There are a ton of benefits of getting into running: endorphins, muscle tone, stress relief, a healthy heart, and more. I have always loved running and have been at it for as long as I can remember. A great way to get to familiarize yourself with a new place or explore somewhere you already know in a new way, running gives me some alone time and a chance to think uninterrupted. It is one of the easiest sports to get into—all you need is a pair of shoes—but it can be intimidating for first-timers. Here are some tips to get you started and keep you going!

Get the right shoes.

Having appropriate shoes is an extremely important part of running. Don’t skimp and think you can get away with discount running shoes from Target, Walmart, or Kmart. Bad running shoes, or the wrong ones, can cause injuries and long-term damage; they also just make it harder to run. Go to an actual running store. Which brand or style is best for you is completely dependent on your foot type. At a proper running store, they will be able to tell you what kind of shoe is best for your feet and recommend various options. Try JackRabbit Sports for reliable help.

Tip: If you’re worried about lofty running store prices, still go, find out what kind you need, and then try to find them cheaper online!

Don’t be afraid to walk.

Walking is OK, especially for a newbie. Try running for two minutes and walking for one, gradually increase your running time and decrease your walking, and you’ll be running non-stop in no time! Intervals with alternating jogging and walking is also a good option if you are a beginning runner. Interval training like this can be extremely beneficial even for experienced runners.

Remember that it gets easier.

If you haven’t run for months or years, the movement involved can feel awkward at first while you build up your fitness. This discomfort can be discouraging, but it gets better! The motion starts to feel a lot more natural just after three or four days.

Apps galore!

There are a ton of great running apps like Strava, Nike+ Running, Couch-to-5k, and RunKeeper. These apps not only let you log your runs, they will tell you how far you ran, help you create a training plan, and connect you with other runners. Having a community to share your runs with will keep you motivated and encouraged. I like using Strava because not only does it keep track of all your running mileage, but you can also input biking and swimming mileage for cross training. Strava also allows you follow your friends and “like” other people’s runs for a little extra positive reinforcement. also has a comprehensive list of fitness apps to check out!

Set a goal.

Whether it’s completing a certain distance or trying to improve your personal best time in an event, setting a goal is the key to success. Pick a fun race you’re enthusiastic about joining and enter! Having a deadline will keep your training honest and give you something to look forward to.

Clothes are key.

As runners say, “Cotton is rotten,” because it doesn’t breathe when you sweat, leaving you hot and damp. Invest in an outfit that will make you feel good and that you’re excited to put on. You don’t have to resort to the super expensive brands for these! I’ve gotten some of my favorite running clothes for less than $10 at Target, so don’t count them out completely.

Find friends.

Having people to run with is just better. Friends will also keep you accountable; if someone is waiting for you, you have no choice but to get out of bed!

Jemma Running

Jemma Howlett racing for Vassar College.

Jemma HowlettJemma Howlett is a writer, runner, traveller, college student, and carb-enthusiast. Check out her coffee blog,, and follow her on Twitter and Instagram @jemmahow