person preparing to start a run
September 8, 2022

How to Start Running: Training for Beginners

If you’re thinking about how to get into running, there’s no better time to start. Running offers incredible health benefits, including lower blood pressure, higher lung capacity and improved mental health.

It’s also totally flexible: no gym memberships, expensive sports equipment or pressure to find teammates. All you need is the open road and a good pair of shoes.

How to train as a runner

You can start training no matter what your experience or fitness levels. For example, you might be worried about how to start running when overweight. Go slow, building yourself up, even if it’s just for five minutes.

A great place to start is to choose a running goal.

Choose your running goal

One of the most important tips on how to start running is to find your motivation. A running goal – be it time, distance or a particular race – will keep you driven. 

Be patient. It’s great to think about how to start training for a marathon, but you’ll need to nail 5K first. Once you’ve hit your first goal, start moving the goalposts. Set yourself a routine such as three runs per week.

How to get started running

Like any sport, running requires practice. You might choose the run-walk method, for example. As you progress, you’ll learn more about the ins and out of your personal fitness and running form.

Whether you use the couch-to-5k method or slowly increase your distance each time, you’ll also discover when running works best for you. The key is to keep it consistent – but you can also make it easier and more enjoyable with these running tips.

Find your ideal running form

Everybody has a different “running form”. Some people lead with the ball of their feet or toes – known as “forefoot strike”. Some land midfoot or neutrally, while others “heel strike”.

Whatever your style, if you’re not experiencing injuries, well done – you’re doing it right!

Try running barefoot on a soft surface and study how your foot lands. You can also try a gait analysis at your local sports shop. 

Pick your running gear

If there is one piece of advice for how to start running, it’s never to race with anything new. Champion Eliud Kipchoge learned this the hard way at the 2015 Berlin Marathon. He took to the race in new shoes. He still won but missed the record due to his soles slipping out.

Have your feet analysed when buying running shoes. This will tell you if your arches are high, low or neutral. Some shoes may be designed for ‘overpronation’ or ‘supination’ (bending inwards or outwards) but always ask a professional.

You may have to cycle through a few pairs. Stick to no more than 500 miles per pair to prevent injury.

You should also trial shorts, sleeves versus bare arms, and running aids like compression socks. 

Do you like to carry water, or can you go with a running belt? Practice makes perfect. 

Choose your running playlist

Music has been proven to elevate mood and endurance – so pick songs you like! 

Generally, tracks between 120 and 140BPM are ideal (think Lady Gaga, J-Lo, Metallica). But if you’re looking for a mood enhancer, you may also enjoy pounding the pavement to your favourite podcasts.

Timing devices

Fitness watches are great for tracking your progress. They vary enormously depending on what you want to track – is it just distance, or are you looking for bodily metrics like heart rate and lung capacity? The Garmin Forerunner 55 is perfect for beginners.

Hydration and nutrition

You are what you eat, so make sure you fuel correctly. Staying hydrated is key, particularly with long distances. As a guide, you should aim for 300-800ml of fluids per hour of exercise. Add isotonic sports drinks to replenish key salts during long races.

The best foods for runners take some trial and error, but generally, complex carbohydrates are ideal. Give yourself at least two hours to digest before a long run, and test foods such as:

  • Bananas
  • Overnight oats
  • Peanut butter

Carbohydrates are essential but you cannot overlook protein. If you’re doing long distances, you may also want to cycle different energy gels.

How to prevent running injuries

The majority of running injuries come from doing too much, too fast. Common complaints for beginners include:

  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Achilles tendonitis
  • Shin splints
  • Stress fractures.

Stretching

A strong warmup and cooldown are essential to prevent running injury. Try dynamic stretches while warming up, such as lunges and leg swings. When cooling down, try hamstring, quadricep and calf stretches. 

You can also add yoga to your routine to improve strength and posture. Remember – if you’re feeling pain, don’t try to run through it!

Go at your own pace

Whether you’re a couch-to-5Ker or a marathoner, every journey starts with a single step. Start slow and listen to your body. 

Before you know it, you’ll be craving that infamous “runner’s high” – and you’ll get it!

In partnership with

Spread the word

Latest articles

No items found.

From running to work, to running marathons with Rey

Today, we’re turning the spotlight to Rey – a Let’s Do This community member whose sporting adventure started with running to pick up groceries at the weekend. After representing some of his favourite sports brands, Rey’s profile gathered momentum, which led to international travel and exciting brand ambassador opportunities. We caught up with him to hear more about his running journey so far.

Today, we’re turning the spotlight to Rey – a Let’s Do This community member whose sporting adventure started with running to pick up groceries at the weekend. After representing some of his favourite sports brands, Rey’s profile gathered momentum, which led to international travel and exciting brand ambassador opportunities. We caught up with him to hear more about his running journey so far.

When did you go from being an individual runner to becoming more involved within the running space?

It was accidental, to be honest. I applied to become an ASICS FrontRunner and that didn’t happen the first year. I later started working with Shokz. When I applied to be an ASICS FrontRunner again the next year, I was successful and started working with them. From here, I began working with a variety of nutrition brands. The more my profile grew, the more opportunities I had for international travel and connecting with people and brands at expos – and so my brand ambassador journey expanded. 

Your favourite event so far?

The Nice-Cannes marathon. It's warm and sunny there in November and it was amazing to run from Nice to Cannes on the French Riviera – 80% of the marathon takes place along the Mediterranean. Think palm trees, a fresh breeze and a beautiful route.

How did you first get into running?

I started running just to get to work, then did it over the weekends as a way to pick up groceries! A colleague mentioned that I should run a race, which I thought was crazy… why would I pay to run? Fast forward to January 2013 when I did my first event and I absolutely loved it. My first and second events were 10ks and I haven't stopped since then. I’ve now done around 120 events. Running has transformed my life. 

What’s your favourite thing about doing an event?

It’s a bit of everything, really: the community, the energy, the crowd. What I love most about running is that we’re all going in the same direction to get to the same goal, which creates a sense of energy and unity. You can’t beat the feeling of community, ambiance, and the crowd support.

Any tips when it comes to training motivation? 

Knowing that I've got a race to do and I want to enjoy it – rather than endure it – is what gets me out for training. I love to get those training runs done. To stay motivated, I mix them up, look at my medals from previous races, and remind myself that I’ve done this before so I can do it again. Plus, a running buddy is motivational for me. I like running with friends or in the community. 

Your favourite running route?

My favourite running route in London is probably Hyde Park. I like that I can do a nice, comfortable lap and then run home along the canal. There’s loads of different routes around there that help to mix things up. 

What does the BeSmartGetFit brand stand for?

It’s a call to action: be smart by getting fit and making smart decisions. Set ‘SMART’ goals (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time-bound), and get fit by getting active. It fits with my “ healthy mind, healthy body” philosophy. There’s more to fitness than physical appearance; for me, it’s about overall health. 

What’s your best advice for anyone starting out in running?

My best advice is to begin with shorter runs. A 5k or joining communities like Parkrun are great entry points. Once you’re comfortable, you can challenge yourself by booking a race. It doesn’t matter whether that's a 5k or 10k – just set your training plan and work towards it. Local running clubs can help with technique, speed, and goal-setting. 

What do you take on long runs?

I take gels to fuel my long runs. Maple Ignite is one of my favourites – it’s got maple syrup and Himalayan salt in. Protein Rebel gels also work for me. As a vegan, I look for simple gels that have a small list of ingredients. I always bring my phone in case I need to call anyone. Other than that, not much. I like to keep it simple and light.

As a vegan, do you find it more difficult to fuel your running?

I like cooking, so I know what to eat to ensure I have enough energy. It can be a hindrance when abroad, though; sometimes there aren’t many options for vegans. London isn’t bad for this, though. 

Any routines for before and after your training? 

Before training, I figure out which trainers and gear are right for the day. Being in the UK, it depends on the weather. Then I create a playlist to keep me pumped. After training, my routine depends on the distance and intensity of the run. I always stretch and use the muscle gun. If it’s a long run, I’ll have a Radox bath to soothe my muscles. 

Any pre or post-race rituals?

My pre-race ritual starts with my mantra: “I’ve done it before, I can do it again”. Affirming that I’ve earned the right to be there and that I can do what I've set out to do helps to beat the nerves. I try not to get caught up in what's going on around me and focus on centering myself with meditation, instead. After the race, I like to practise gratitude by celebrating the accomplishment. Plus, I take as many pictures as possible to remember the day. Afterwards, I like to go for a great meal of local cuisine. In fact, partway through a race, I start thinking about what I’ll treat myself to and that helps with motivation. 

Any upcoming events in your race calendar that you’re particularly looking forward to?

I’m looking forward to the Boston Marathon and then the London Marathon the following week. After that, I’ve got a half marathon planned in France, where there’s an urban trail. That’ll be interesting, given the elevation there. Later in the year, I’m looking forward to the Nice-Cannes marathon, followed by another favourite: the Barbados marathon in December. I love to travel for races.

If money were no object what’s your dream race? 

Tokyo. The culture out there is amazing and I'd love to experience the food scene. 

From representing brands to those post-race rituals, we enjoyed hearing about Rey’s running adventures. We’re particularly inspired by his tip for making it through those tricker miles: treat yourself to an amazing meal of local cuisine afterwards and pre-plan what you’ll eat when you’re beginning to flag. Love it.

No items found.

Why We Run

The London Marathon is a legendary event, a test of physical and mental strength that draws runners from across the globe. But for many, it's more than just a race.  It's a platform to make a difference. More than 50,000 runners hit the pavement last Sunday all with different backgrounds and motivations. We wanted to learn more about why members of our community have decided to run the marathon for charity. What we discovered is that each runner carries a unique story, a reason that propels them forward, mile after mile.

From rock bottom to running for Rethink: Steve's journey to mental wellness

Running a marathon is a monumental feat, both physically and mentally. But for many runners, the reasons behind lacing up their shoes goes far deeper than just athletic achievement. Steve signed up for the London Marathon to raise money for Rethink Mental Illness. Steve's story is one of resilience, community, and the transformative power of running.

Finding an Outlet: The Mental Benefits of Running

Steve's struggles with mental health began in 2020, fueled by a combination of work stress, home life challenges, and the isolating effects of the pandemic. Feeling overwhelmed and unsupported, he turned to running as a way to clear his head and process his emotions. This simple act of putting one foot in front of the other became a meaningful tool for managing his mental well-being.

The Power of Community: Finding Support on the Track

While running provided a much-needed mental escape, Steve still felt isolated in his struggles. A chance encounter at a train station in 2022, however, proved to be a turning point. Striking up a conversation with a fellow runner, Steve found himself invited to join a running group called Track&Core. Here, he discovered the power of community. "This group of people not only ran together but provided a safe space to talk about whatever we need" Steve shares. 

Running for Rethink: Giving Back and Raising Awareness

Steve's experience with mental health struggles and the transformative power of community has inspired him to give back. While his London Marathon place wasn’t a charity spot, he chose to raise money for Rethink Mental Illness. "Not everyone will get that chance encounter I had," Steve acknowledges, "and will need the support that Rethink offers." Steve's story is a testament to the multifaceted benefits of running. It's a source of mental clarity, a gateway to a supportive community, and a platform for giving back.

Sarah Parker: Running for Resilience and the Fight Against Cancer

For Sarah running this marathon was about more than just athletic achievement; it was a journey of self-discovery, resilience, and giving back to a cause she deeply cared about.

Running for a Cause Close to Her Heart

Cancer has deeply impacted Sarah's life. For both her mother and a close friend their cancer diagnosis came as a shock. This experience motivated Sarah to run for the Cancer Treatment and Research Trust, a cause that resonates strongly with her. 

More Than Just a Race

The London Marathon is more than just a race for Sarah, running the marathon is a way to show solidarity with her loved ones battling cancer. The determination to cross that finish line is fueled by a powerful combination of personal achievement and the fight for a cause she deeply believes in.

From Rekindled Passion to Running for a Cause: Rebecca's London Marathon Journey

This past weekend Rebecca Bigginton achieved her lifelong dream of conquering the London Marathon with a renewed passion for running and a desire to give back. 

Rediscovering the Joy of Running

Rebecca's love for running began in her youth, but life took precedence for many years.  However, in 2022, completing a half marathon in Tonbridge reignited her passion for the sport. 

A Dream Rekindled and a Promise Fulfilled

The London Marathon had always been a dream for Rebecca. After the unexpected loss of her mother in 2022 Rebecca decided to run the London Marathon in her honor. 

Running for Scope and Her Children

For Rebecca running the marathon for Scope felt like the natural choice as both of her children have disabilities.  Scope works tirelessly to support families facing similar challenges.  Running for Scope allowed Rebecca to combine her love for running with a cause that deeply resonates with her as a parent.

Community Support Fuels Determination

Rebecca's journey hasn't been without its hurdles.  Balancing training with single parenthood proved challenging, and at one point, reaching her fundraising target seemed daunting. However, the unwavering support from her local community through a social group proved to be a real turning point.  Within a short period, the community helped her reach her fundraising goal, a testament to the power of collective spirit.

Finding Strength in Challenges

The road to the marathon hasn't been smooth sailing.  Balancing training with childcare, battling discouragement, and enduring harsh weather conditions all tested Rebecca's resolve.  However, her unwavering determination and the support she received fueled her to keep pushing forward.  

Running for Remembrance and Hope: Joe and Caroline's London Marathon Journey

Joe and Caroline Jordan took on the London Marathon, a challenge fueled by love, loss, and a desire to give back. 

Giving Back to SANDS

The decision to run for SANDS, a charity that supports families after the loss of a baby, holds deep significance. When the couple were pregnant with their first daughter Sienna they received the devastating news that at 38 weeks pregnant their baby had passed. While going through the darkest time of their life, SANDS provided invaluable support to Joe and Caroline and they aim to give back the same support to other families facing similar tragedies.

Finding Solace in Nature

The loss of their daughter Sienna in 2014 left an indelible mark on Caroline and Joe.  Caroline, in particular, found solace in running after their loss.  Experiencing nature and the physical benefits of exercise became a crucial part of her healing process.  

Shared Journey, Shared Purpose

The London Marathon was more than just a race for Joe and Caroline.  Running together allowed them to honour Sienna's memory on the 10th anniversary of her passing. They crossed the finish line hand-in-hand, a powerful symbol of their enduring love and shared journey.

From New Runner to Marathon Double: Gregory's Journey of Achievement and Giving Back

For Gregory Wilshaw the London marathon was his second marathon in just two weeks, a remarkable feat for someone who couldn't even run 2km just a few months ago. 

From Beginner to Marathon Finisher

Gregory's running journey began with a personal challenge: to conquer a marathon in honor of his friend, Paul Jackson.  Starting from scratch, he's trained diligently, transforming himself from a “non-runner” to a marathon finisher within a few months.  

Motivation Fueled by Purpose

The desire to honour his friend Paul, who received exceptional care at Severn Hospice during his final weeks, is a driving force for Gregory.  Running these marathons allows him to give back to hospices, organisations that provide vital end-of-life support to terminally ill patients and their families.  

A Journey of Determination and Giving Back

Gregory's story is more than just a marathon adventure.  It's a testament to the power of personal challenge and the importance of supporting meaningful causes. 

The finish line that awaits is a testament to the sheer grit and determination of these extraordinary individuals. But the true victory lies in the journeys they've undertaken. From finding solace after loss to pushing physical limits, these runners inspire us all. They remind us that the London Marathon is a celebration of the human spirit, where every stride is a step towards a better version of ourselves.

No items found.

Pronation, arch profiles and finding the right running shoes

Let’s be honest: are your running shoes tailored to support the individual needs of your feet? If the answer is "no" then you're in the right place. Here, we explain all you need to know about finding the right support for your feet.

Let’s be honest: are your running shoes tailored to support the individual needs of your feet? If you fall into the majority of runners who answer “no”, you’re in the right place (and the secret is between us). Here, we explain all you need to know about finding the right support for your feet. From arch types to pronation styles, here’s a masterclass in getting more out of your running.

What’s my arch type and how does it affect my running?

Although everyone’s feet are different, they generally tend to fall into one of three categories: low, medium and high arches.

  • Low arch (or flat footed). Low arches can be prone to instability. The ankle may collapse inward, causing alignment issues that might affect the hips and knees. This arch type requires supportive running shoes for stability.
  • Medium arch. Medium arches tend to be strong and flexible. They hold enough power to tense and relax when balancing on uneven terrain. They also boast enough flex and recoil to allow for optimum shock absorption when moving forward.
  • High arch. This kind of arch can limit movement, without the right pair of supportive running shoes. There’s often not enough flex recoil to act as shock absorption and balance for the body, which can place stress on the ankle, shins and knees.

Determining your arch profile with “the wet test”

Though we always recommend a professional gait analysis to determine your arch profile, there is an at-home test that gives you a good clue. Please note that this at-home tip should only be used as a guide.

  1. Dunk one foot into water. Nobody ever runs on both feet at the same time, so it’s best to do this – literally – one step at a time.
  2. Place it flat in a natural pose. Choose somewhere that will show a wet spot. Pavement or paper both work well.
  3. Analyse your footprint. If you can see your whole foot in the wet print, with a wide middle part, this suggests you have low arches. If the middle of your footprint looks like a thin line that connects the heel to the ball of your foot, this is a sign of high arches. If the middle of your foot looks half filled in, you probably have medium arches.

For a professional gait analysis that’ll give you a full, 360° view of your running style, you can head to a Brooks’ retailer, including Runners Need stores. An expert gait analysis will take into account your running style, goals for the future and any events you have planned.

Underpronation, overpronation and neutral pronation

Another important element to consider when picking the right running shoes, is your pronation style. Pronation refers to the way your foot strikes the floor when you run. Does it roll inwards, outwards, or stay in a neutral position?

Runners with overpronation

Did you know that 70% of runners overpronate? If you’re one of them, this means that as your foot hits the ground, it rolls inwards a lot. In the process, the inner edge of your foot takes all the weight – rather than it being centred on the ball of your foot. Overpronation is most common in runners with low arches or flat feet. 

Best shoe for overpronation: Adrenaline GTS 23

The Adrenaline GTS 23 is the ideal support shoe for those seeking stability

Runners with neutral pronation

Neutral pronation is usually seen in runners with “normal” sized arches. When running, the foot lands on the outer edge first, then rolls inwards with control. Weight is distributed evenly.

Best shoe for neutral pronation: Ghost 15

The Ghost 15 delivers a soft feel, smooth ride, and trusted fit

So whether you’re a seasoned runner, or picking up your first pair, it’s important to select the right shoe for you! Head over to the Brooks site to learn more, or head down to your local Brooks retailer for an in depth gait analysis.

More from

No items found.

Inspiration. Delivered.

Sign up to receive personalised event recommendations, our monthly newsletter and the latest updates from the Let’s Do This community.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.