How to Start Running

[Download] How to Start Running Blueprint

If you’re looking to start running but don’t know where to begin, you’ve come to the right place! Running is a fantastic way to boost your fitness, improve your mental well-being, and enjoy the great outdoors.


If you’re looking to kickstart your running journey, coach Cat from our Spark Healthy Runner team will provide you 6 easy steps to follow when starting to run!


In this comprehensive beginner runner guide, we’ll provide you with all the essential tips, tricks, and advice to help you start running confidently and stay healthy so you can take up this habit without getting injured or burned out!


Whether you’re aiming to improve your fitness, lose weight, or simply enjoy the great outdoors, running is a fantastic way to achieve your goals. We’ll cover everything from the basics of setting up a running routine to essential running gear recommendations so you can become a healthy runner! 


Our expert tips will guide you through choosing the right running shoes, understanding proper running form, and addressing common running-related concerns. We’ll also delve into effective warm-up and cool-down routines, as well as injury prevention techniques to ensure a safe and enjoyable running experience.


Hitting the pavement as a beginner can be intimidating, but fear not! We’ll provide motivation and actionable advice to help you overcome any mental obstacles you may face. From setting realistic goals to finding the right training plan, we’ve got you covered. Additionally, we’ll discuss the importance of incorporating rest days to avoid burnout and maximize your progress.


Join us on this journey to becoming a confident and strong runner.


Subscribe to our Healthy Runner podcast or YouTube channel for more useful actionable tips to grow in your running journey the right way! 


Don’t miss out on the fantastic benefits that running can bring to your overall well-being and fitness levels. Lace up your shoes, grab some water, and let’s get started!


Listen to the Podcast Episode during your next run!



Watch the LIVE video version of this episode below on YouTube!

Step 1: Mindset

Ask yourself why you want to start running. Do you feel the need to or do you want to? Great goals to have are to get healthy, workout with your friends and family and stress relief. If weight loss is your main goal, just understand that that may not happen!

We want to think about realistic goals for novice runners and how to overcome challenges as a new runner!

Don’t be discouraged by the initial challenges, they are a normal part of the journey. Stay motivated and enjoy the process!


Step 2: Gear – What do you need to start running?


Shoes are key to start running! If you have been using the same pair for everything, i.e. shopping, yardwork, other gym classes, you NEED to get new ones. Head to a running store to get fit with the best running shoes. Don’t worry about anything fancy, just comfort and support.

What about what you don’t need? Don’t be concerned about all the running gadgets or extras at this time. You just need the basics! Comfortable clothes and good sneakers.


Step 3: Warm Up

Before going for a run you want to make sure to warm up! This may include walking, foam rolling, dynamic stretching. Dynamic Stretching will prevent injuries and make the run feel easier.


Step 4: Run

Start out conservatively. If you’re truly a beginner run no more than 15 to 20 minutes using intervals.

Don’t worry about pace or distance. A good starting point is 1-minute easy jogging with 2 or 3 minutes walking. Those intervals will change as you go on. 2 to 3 days a week is good for a start. If concerned about the weather, use a treadmill if available. If not, then change days!

Listen to your body throughout this process. Don’t listen to other people who tell you to do more if you don’t feel up to it.

Pacing – As a beginner, start slow and gradually build up your endurance and speed over time. Listen to your body and find a pace that allows you to maintain a conversation without gasping for air. Remember… consistency is KEY!

Running form – Keep your head up, shoulders relaxed, and arms at a 90 degree angle. Strike the ground with the middle of your foot, roll through the stride, and push off using your toes. Engage your core muscles and maintain a relaxed breathing pattern.

Finally.. Follow a Plan!!! Our How to Start Running Blueprint will be essential for you! Download it [here]


Step 5: Strength

Strength Training as a runner is extremely important and essential for preventing injuries. Our 5 Hip Exercises for Runners as well as all of our strength training informational videos can be found on our website or YouTube channel! Add these to your collection of exercises and you’ll be feeling strong, fast and capable of being the runner you want to be!


Step 6: Recovery

REST! Rest days are so important. Many people feel like if they rest, they’re just being lazy. This is false! Scheduling rest days into your plan and your week should be just as much a priority as getting those miles in. Rest days allow your muscles the time to recover and adapt to the demands of running.

Beginner runner? 

[Download] How to Start Running Blueprint: https://learn.sparkhealthyrunner.com/start


There are six parts of your running journey that need to be optimized so you can run strong and last long!

Learn them here: [Download] How to Grow as a Runner (6 Steps)


This Episode Sponsored By:

A big thanks to the Amino Company for your support for this episode!


If you have seen my running workouts or “quality runs” on social media, you know that I am always revved up for the challenge because I use PERFORM from the Amino Company.


Clinical studies have shown that Perform helps improve mental focus, peak strength, endurance, reduces fatigue, and increases muscle protein synthesis so you can recover faster from your runs or your strength workouts.


Click here and use code HEALTHYRUNNER for 30% off your entire Amino Company order! 


Connect with Dr. Duane:

Dr. Duane Scotti, DPT, PhD, OCS is a running physical therapist, run coach, host of the Healthy Runner podcast, and founder of Spark Healthy Runner and has been a leader in the rehab and running community for 20+ years.


Duane initially started running as an adult, wanting to add some cardio to his gym sessions. After having a hip surgery, his doctor advised him to get off the treadmill and run outside. Without having fully recovered, Duane suffered a running-related hamstring tendon injury and many others as a novice runner.


As a coach, he has guided thousands of athletes back to running, finishing their first marathon, crushing a personal best, and even the elusive Boston Marathon qualifying time.


He is truly living his passion educating the running community that they don’t need to stop running to get over a running injury.  Through his signature 1:1 coaching program, weekly videos, and podcast episodes, he empowers runners to get stronger, run faster, and enjoy lifelong injury free running.  Dr. Duane truly believes that anyone can run and that all runners should be treated differently when recovering from an injury.  He is on a mission to change the traditional thinking that running causes “overuse injuries” or “your body is just not meant to run” and you must “take a break” to get better.  Through strength and run specific training you can grow a strong mind, strong body, and just keep running!


Duane received his Bachelor of Health Science degree and Master of Physical Therapy degree from Quinnipiac University in 2001 and 2003. He then went on to receive a clinical Doctor of Physical Therapy and a Ph.D. in Physical Therapy from Nova Southeastern University in 2017. Duane is a board-certified Orthopaedic Clinical Specialist, RRCA Certified Running Coach, Certified Mulligan Practitioner, certified in dry needling and has advanced training in spinal manipulation and rehabilitation for runners.


As an athlete, Duane is an adult-onset runner, avid half marathoner, and enjoys challenging himself to learn and grow in his personal running journey!


A native New Yorker from Long Island, Duane currently lives in Cheshire, Connecticut with his wife Deb and his two teenage daughters who are competitive volleyball players.  They all love to explore new beaches along the east coast.




Get weekly running tips on the Healthy Runner Podcast…available wherever you get your podcasts!


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“I don’t have enough words to express my gratitude towards Duane Scotti and the Spark Healthy Runner program. When I started working with Duane, I had been dealing with chronic shin splints/posterior tibialis tendinitis for almost a year.

I had worked with multiple other coaches and physical therapists with little success and was at the point of almost giving up on my love for running. Duane is so kind, thoughtful and knowledgeable as both a physical therapist and running coach. Our first virtual meeting lasted two hours because he was so meticulous in his assessment. His strength and running program is progressive and created so that you can continue to build strength and mileage as you heal. His strength program is unique, effective, and fun.

Additionally, his warm-up routine is awesome and includes drills that over time have made me a more efficient runner. His training platform is easy to use, and he is always readily available to chat when problems or questions arise.

Over four months of working with Duane, I have built back to five days a week of running and am almost back up to my pre-injury weekly mileage and long run distance. Whenever I have flare ups or setbacks, Duane reassures me and makes necessary adjustments so that I can continue to progress in my running journey. I have had so much success with him so far that I have signed on for four more months so that he can help me to continue getting stronger as I train for the Dopey challenge in Disney World.

If you are struggling with a running injury and are feeling hopeless, you have to reach out to Duane Scotti. Of course, you will have to put in a lot of hard work, but with Duane by your side, you will be able to achieve your goals and more. Thank you Spark Healthy Runner for bringing the spark back to my running!”

Dipti Pandya

You can teach an old dog new tricks!!!  I have never considered myself a runner and I knew I needed to be smart about it because I am no spring chicken. Spark preached getting strong and healthy to be injury free and they practice what they preach.  I am soooo glad I made the investment in me!  I finished my half marathon last weekend and couldn’t be any happier!  The program fed me all the steps I needed to essentially learn how to run long distance, build strength, nutrition help, a forum of other runners and probably most important was the 1:1 coaching.  I had no idea how to tackle training for a 1/2 marathon and this program broke all of it down, had it individualized for me and we tweaked as we went to make sure I was staying healthy and strong.  I had so many questions the week prior to my race and Coach Cat was always there for me and answering all the questions and issues I had-and believe me there were a lot!  The biggest benefit I think I got was the strength. I am strong and fit. But most important was what I gained emotionally.  I built confidence and strength I didn’t know I had, even at my age.  Honestly could not have done this without Spark Healthy Runners!

Gina J.

My Healthy Runner journey started after I had battled bilateral achilles pain for a few months and was frustrated how it affected my running. As soon as I talked to Duane I knew I had made the right decision. His positivity, enthusiasm and genuine care are infectious. The training plan that was tailored to me included specific exercises to rehab my injury and I was so excited that I didn’t have to stop running. It took patience to only run slow for a few weeks but I trusted the process and it got me me to where I am now: running pain free. We made adjustments to the plan throughout whenever needed having someone in your corner that is always there with guidance and support throughout the process was invaluable.

I just ran my second half marathon, both with Duane’s coaching, and PR’d by over 9 minutes! I got all choked up in the last mile when I realized that I felt strong and could still kick it up a notch.

I’m so thankful for the Healthy Runner program, community and the entire coaching team for all the support!

Katja L.

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