Starting running is equal parts simple and intimidating. On the surface, all it requires is willpower and a pair of sneakers, but we all know it’s bigger than that. When I started back in 2007, I was frightened of being bad, but I laced up my kicks every single day and did some sort of jog/walk combination for about 14 minutes total. Within about a month, my running periods became longer than the walking ones. By the end of the season, I signed up for my first 5K, confident that I had made running a habit I actually enjoyed.
Fast forward more than 11 years later, I’m now a certified run coach, and my biggest tip for beginning runners is to be easy on yourself. Mastering any new skill is tough, and this is one that demands a lot of physical and mental toughness. Know it’s OK to go at your own pace, and that every single step you take forward is a step in the right direction. Now a seven-time marathoner, I would’ve never toed my first starting line if it hadn’t been for keeping my eye on the prize: a healthier, happier me.
Below, a couch-to-pavement plan designed to help you start running and stay running. Mixed with both walking and running intervals, each day totals about 30 minutes of work. Don’t focus as much on the distance as the time on your feet — and don’t be surprised if you find yourself registering for that 5K.