The ultimate guide on how to start running to get ultra-fit

Running is an excellent form of exercise that can help you achieve your fitness goals, whether it's trying to lose weight, improve your heart health, or boost your mood. The best part is it's accessible to almost everyone — all you need is a pair of running shoes and the motivation to hit the pavement.

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  • To start running, begin by alternating between walking and running.
  • Set a goal to run three times a week and slowly work your way up to five. 
  • Also, make sure that you have the correct form, breathing technique, and stretching practice.

Here's everything you need to know to start running from choosing the right gear to finding a training plan that works for you. 

How to start running 

If you haven't broken a sweat in a while, start slow. Otherwise, you increase your risk of injury. "If someone's never done any exercise before they should start with a two-minute walk followed by a one-minute run," says John Henwood, an Olympian, certified running coach, and strength trainer in New York City. 

Quick tip: To start, try alternating a one-minute run with a two-minute walk until you are able to run for 30 minutes straight. This is known as the run-walk-run method, pioneered by Olympian Jeff Galloway.

Henwood also recommends new runners start with running three days a week, and then build slowly up to five days per week. 

Whatever you're level, you may want to consider setting goals to stay motivated. One way to do this is by signing up for a race. You can use an online race finder to find one near you. To hold yourself accountable, it also might help to run with a friend or join a running group. 

If you're looking for further motivation, invest in a device that can track your mileage and pace, whether it's a fitness tracker or a free app like Strava or Nike Run Club. "You can see your improvement over time, which will help you stay in the game," says Henwood. 

 Additionally, talk to your doctor before beginning any running regimen if you have:

  • Heart disease 
  • Diabetes 
  • Arthritis 
  • High blood pressure 
  • Kidney disease 
  • Cancer or recently completed cancer treatment 

That's because running can place a lot of stress on the body, and it's important to ease into it to reduce your risk of injury. A doctor can help you determine a training program tailored to you and your health needs. 

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