HealthyBeat articles include advertisements and affiliate links. We may earn a commission when you purchase through links on our site. Learn more Updated April 27, 2021Running is a simple exercise—you can run anywhere, and it doesn’t require any special equipment. Running burns calories, builds cardio endurance, and strengthens muscles. Other health benefits include better mood, reduced stress, and minimized risk of heart disease.Our article shares information on how beginner runners can create a training plan and reach their goals. We also distinguish between different types of runs and provide tips on how to improve your performance.Choose a Good Pair of ShoesThe only special equipment you need is a good pair of running shoes. Running shoes support and cushion your feet better than basic sneakers. As you run, your feet hit the ground harder than they do when walking so they need more shock absorption to reduce the impact on your body. Without cushioning you’re more susceptible to injury, like knee pain, shin splints, and Achilles tendinitis.Create a Training PlanThe most challenging part of running is sticking to it. If you don’t create a training plan then you won’t reap the health benefits of running, like strong calf muscles and tighter abs.Here’s a basic training plan for beginners:Go for a 30-minute long run three days each week. Make sure it’s every other day instead of three days in a row—allow your body time to recover.Do some gentle stretching before you begin to warm up your muscles, then start with a 5-minute walk to prepare your body for the run.Begin running until you start breathing hard, then slow to a walk until you catch your breath. Starting with this method allows you to become familiar with your endurance and adjust accordingly if needed, perhaps by slowing to a walking pace.After 20 minutes, cool down with a 5-minute walk, then finish with stretching to further cool down muscles and improve flexibility. Once you can run comfortably for 20 minutes straight, gradually increase your time.Set Running GoalsOnce you’re comfortable running between 20 to 30 minutes, start to set goals to build up your strength and endurance. Begin with learning to run without stopping, advance to running longer, and then work towards improving speed.Run Non-StopOne of the best ways to run without stopping is by watching your pace. Starting a run at a fast pace burns more energy than starting at a slower pace—you’ll end up tiring yourself out early in the run. Your pace should allow you to speak complete sentences to a running buddy without running out of breath.Another way to run nonstop is to practice good posture. If you’re running slightly hunched over, the chest is restricted, and you may not get as much oxygen. Keeping your posture straight opens the airways. As you run, periodically check your posture to make sure your shoulders aren’t leaning forward—your torso should be upright and shoulders should be relaxed.Run LongerEach week add 5 to 10 minutes of running time and push yourself to keep running a little further instead of pausing to walk. As time goes by, you increase your endurance and your body adjusts to extended time. Don’t worry about your speed—focus on pacing yourself and gradually upping your running time.Run FasterRunning faster intensifies your workout and puts more strain on the body. To increase your speed, start by running more often. If you’re only running once or twice a week, increase the frequency to two to three times a week.Another way to improve your speed is to practice fartleks. A fartlek is Swedish for “speed play” and refers to quick bursts of speed for a specific distance. If you’re running while listening to a podcast, sprint during the commercial breaks then revert to light jogging. Fartleks gradually build your comfort and confidence running at a faster pace.Consider Cross-TrainingCross-training is a great way to balance and strengthen other muscle groups besides the quads and calves. Boredom is unlikely if you incorporate other exercises into your daily routine, including swimming, elliptical training, and cycling. Adding some strength training a few times a week can further tone muscles and improve posture.Types of RunsRunning seems like a straightforward exercise, but different types of runs help you become more comfortable with running or improving your performance. These runs include the Run-Walk Method, treadmill running, cold weather running, and hot weather running.Run-Walk MethodThe Run-Walk Method is an excellent way for new runners to get started and help seasoned runners improve their race times. The Run-Walk Method was developed by American Olympian Jeff Galloway to improve endurance and avoid injury.To use the Run-Walk Method, start by running for 30 seconds, then walk for 1 to 2 minutes. As you run, you’re engaging muscles in an intense workout, and when you slow to walking, you allow your muscles to cool down and recover. As you become a more experienced runner, the Run-Walk Method gradually increases the run time, but the walk time always stays at 2 minutes.Treadmill RunningTreadmill running is an excellent alternative to running outdoors, especially in bad weather. Runners control the resistance, incline, and pace for a personalized workout routine.Treadmills workouts are gentler on your joints than outside running, and a great option for those recovering from an injury. The running belt is smooth and slightly softer than pavement and acts as a shock absorber, so there’s less stress on the knees and ankles as you run.Cold Weather RunningWhen the weather starts to turn chill, wear breathable layers to stay warm while running. Start with a thin synthetic fabric, like polypropylene, which wicks moisture away from the body. Avoid cotton because it holds moisture and won’t keep you dry during a run. An outer layer of breathable nylon protects you from rain, snow, and wind, but releases heat and moisture—you won’t overheat or catch a chill.Weather colder than 30 degrees Fahrenheit may call for a middle layer of polar fleece for added insulation. In any cold weather, keep your head and hands covered to prevent heat loss and ensure even heat circulation in the body.You should feel a little chilly before you start a run, but you’ll quickly warm up as you run. If you’re warm and comfortable before you start, you may overheat.Hot Weather RunningWear loose-fitting and light-colored clothing when running in warm weather. Loose clothing allows the body to cool naturally, and the lighter colors reflect sunlight instead of absorbing heat. Wear synthetic materials because they’re better at wicking away moisture than cotton, so you stay cool. Protect your skin from harmful UV rays by applying sunblock.Keep a water bottle on hand to stay hydrated. Splashing water on yourself during a run quickly cools you down, too. Research shows that pouring water on your head reduces your core temperature, but only if you’re wearing light clothing. Like cotton, thicker fabrics trap moisture and heat as you continue your run.When it’s hot out, don’t push yourself. Hot and humid weather is not ideal for intense workouts—you could risk heat stroke. The best thing to do is to take walking breaks and save your energy for cooler weather. You may want to consider treadmill running if you live in a hot climate.Race TrainingWhen you have a set running program, you may want to consider participating in a race. Races are timed events open to the public. Some races are for competition, while others raise money for a cause or for charity.The most common race lengths are between a 5K and an ultramarathon. Depending on how long or intense a race is, you may need to complete some type of training before you enter.5K RaceA 5K race (or five kilometers) is 3.1 miles long and the shortest race. The short distance makes this race perfect for beginner runners. Generally, 5K races take place on a street or sidewalk—the flat pavement makes it easier to run. You can test yourself on the short distance to see how far you run without stopping.More experienced runners enjoy 5K races too because they go faster for a shorter distance.10K RaceA 10K race (or ten kilometers) is 6.2 miles long. If you can comfortably run a 5K race, then a 10K is a great next step to race running. 10K races challenge you more in endurance than a 5K race. Instead of running 3.1 miles, you’re running double the distance.10-Mile RaceIf you run a 10K race, you may want to try for a 10-mile race—after all, it’s only four more miles. A 10-mile race challenges your ability to run longer distances. You’ll need to learn how to pace yourself for an extended time.Half MarathonA half marathon is more intense at 13.1 miles and requires more training. If you’re a beginner runner, you may need to wait and build up your strength and endurance before attempting a half marathon. Without training, you probably won’t be able to complete a half marathon, at least not without pain or even injury.MarathonA marathon is perfect for experienced runners. At 26.2 miles, marathons used to be reserved only for seasoned runners, but today, marathon events are open to runners and walkers. If you plan on running a marathon, you will need to train yourself first. The long distance requires stamina and the ability to pace yourself.UltramarathonIf you’re an experienced runner looking for the ultimate challenge, the ultramarathon could be for you. An ultramarathon is at least 50 miles long, with some races extending past 100 miles. It’s not just the distance that makes an ultramarathon challenging—the race usually covers different terrains and climates, challenging even the most seasoned runners. Ultramarathons require intense training and help from support staff.Other TipsOther tips, including maintaining a good posture, staying hydrated, eating healthy, and getting plenty of rest, further improves your running ability and helps you perform at your best.Proper FormMaintaining good posture as you run opens your airways and makes it easier to breathe. Don’t hunch forward—the back should be straight and shoulders relaxed. As you run, keep your head up with your chin parallel to the ground. Looking down strains the neck and places tension on the shoulders.Stay HydratedAs you run, carry a water bottle with you and drink when you feel thirsty. Water regulates body temperature and cushion joints. Drinking water during your run also boosts recovery and reduces the risk of injury.Drinking a big bottle of water before a run won’t prevent you from feeling thirsty during a run or inhibit heat-related illnesses. On the other hand, it can lead to overhydration and hyponatremia. This causes the sodium levels in the blood to drop, inducing nausea and muscle weakness.Eat HealthyEating a well-balanced diet is not only good for your overall health, but it also gives you the energy you need to improve your performance. Make sure you eat something an hour before running, so you have the fuel to keep going. Running requires energy, and if you’re running on an empty stomach, you won’t be at your best and you could even feel sick.Get Plenty of RestA good night’s rest makes all the difference in how you recover. As you sleep, your body repairs itself and transforms muscle memory into long-term memory. Getting a full 8 hours of sleep helps you wake up refreshed with fewer aches and pains. Otherwise, you may feel tired and sore, which could discourage you from running if you don’t feel your best.FAQsHow far can you run in 30 minutes?Generally, most runners can cover 2 to 3 miles in 30 minutes, but your running distance depends on your speed. Beginners may not run as fast as experienced runners, because they should be focusing more on building up their strength. Runners focusing on improving distance may not run as fast because their target is endurance, not speed. However, seasoned runners who are looking to boost their speed could reach 6 to 8 miles in 30 minutes.How do you start running when you hate running?Trying to get in the habit of running when you hate this form of exercise can be tricky, but not impossible. The Run-Walk Method is an excellent way for non-runners to start running. This technique breaks up running time for walking breaks, so you keep moving, but you gradually build up your strength and comfort level.Another way to start running is by listening to podcasts. Focusing on the narrative distracts you from feelings of fatigue, so you’re more likely to push yourself. Running with a buddy also helps. As you both run, your steps may fall in sync, and your body gets used to the rhythm.What is runner’s stomach?Experienced runners may be at a higher risk of runner’s stomach, a digestive problem where a runner experiences intense stomach cramps during a race. Runner’s stomach occurs from dehydration and what foods a runner eats before a race. To prevent runner’s stomach, avoid heavy meals or high-fat foods two hours before a race. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after the race, and avoid sweet or caffeinated drinks.Does running reduce belly fat?Running can be a suitable method for weight loss, but only if coupled with cross-training. Plus, cross-training engages more muscle groups and creates better balance throughout the body.What is the most common injury in running?There are six common injuries you can get from running.Plantar FasciitisPlantar Fasciitis is a pain on the bottom of your foot between the heel and arch. The problem is usually worse in the morning and after you’ve been sitting for a while.Runner’s KneeIf you experience gradually building pain under or around your kneecap, you may have runner’s knee. Walking downstairs or doing squats further aggravates this pain.Achilles TendonitisAchilles tendonitis occurs when you feel pain in the heel when you step off a curb or walk upstairs.Shin SplintsShin splints are a pain that centers in your shin when you start running and worsens as you run.Stress FracturesA stress fracture is a slight crack in the shin, foot, hip, thigh, or pelvis bone caused by repetitive force or stress.Iliotibial Band (ITB) SyndromeITB syndrome is pain that occurs on the outside of your knee or hip when you run, particularly during slower runs or running uphill.ConclusionRunning is a simple exercise that promotes strength and endurance. When you start running, create a training program and follow it. As you become used to running, gradually push yourself to run longer distances or run faster. It’s also fun to participate in running events, like marathons, to physically and mentally challenge yourself.As you incorporate running into your daily routine, you can enjoy stronger muscles, better flexibility, and a healthy heart.This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional. Comments Cancel replyLeave a CommentYour email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * Comment Name Email I agree to the Terms and Conditions of this website.