Running Course

How to Start Running

If it were as easy as slipping on your shoes and rolling out the front door, you wouldn’t be reading this. Listen: we know that if you’re someone who has never run, or you’ve fallen out of a routine, lacing up for a first run can feel overwhelming.

But it doesn’t need to be that way, says Nike Running Global Head Coach Chris Bennett. “The hardest part is not finishing the first run, it's starting the first run. Once you accept that, everything gets easier.”

Coach Bennett is all about dropping the running wisdom, and we’re here for it. Here’s a list of things—practical and mental—to help you prep for your first run.

Going on Your First Run

Don’t overthink it. Just go.

Don’t overthink it. Just go.

What’s that saying we use at Nike? Just do it. Put your shoes on and go. It’s as simple as that.

Don’t stress your pace

Don’t stress your pace

“Your effort should feel easy,” says Coach. “Not fast or slow—easy.” That means: start slow, pick up the pace when it feels good, and back off if it starts to feel hard.

Stop before you need to

Stop before you need to

The point of this run is to finish it. “Your goal isn’t to run a certain distance,” says Coach. “You want to feel strong, not depleted, when you’re ready to stop.”

The first run has nothing to do with pace, nothing to do with distance, nothing to do with duration. It’s about starting it and ending it and wanting to do a next run.

Chris Bennett
Nike Running Global Head Coach

Prevent injury with stretching

Stretch while moving before your run …
Aim to do a few minutes of stretching with movement (a.k.a. dynamic stretching) before your run. Why this kind specifically? It mimics the full range of motion of a run, which helps you get looser, faster. If you’re still feeling tight during your run, it’s ok to stop and stretch some more. No guilt! That helps you to finish feeling great.

…and finish up with still stretches
Fact: Doing dynamic and static stretches (ones you hold) post-run helps prevent injury and improve flexibility. “Those few minutes are so important,” says Coach. “They’ll make your next run better, I promise.”

Stay on track with a training plan

The easiest way to get moving on a consistent basis is to work toward a goal. And we've got one for whatever feels right for you. Just want to get into a rhythm? Try our First 10 plan. From there you can work toward a 5K, 10K, and beyond. Explore Training Plans

Get an extra push with a guided run

The Nike Run Club's guided runs take you alongside Nike coaches, athletes, and special guests who encourage you every step of the way.

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