How to start running and actually enjoy it

How to start running and actually enjoy it

How to start running and actually enjoy it

How do you start running? The flippant answer would be put one foot in front of the other and go!

But that doesn’t really help much.

You may have tried to start running before. Perhaps you put your trainers on and just tried to run as fast or as far as you could. You may have managed it or you may have felt so wretched afterwards it put you off running for life.

Or maybe you would like to get fit and running seems a convenient way to do it but it looks so hard, and aren’t runners always injured?

If you want to you want to start running, and actually enjoy it, take a look at my top tips to keep you running and keep you happy!

How to start running and actually enjoy it. Top tips that will keep you running happy.Click To Tweet

Have a Goal

Set Your Goals

Having a goal is a fantastic way to make sure you keep on track when you start running. It could be as simple as being able to run to the end of the road without stopping, or to run a 5k race in a few months time. Whatever it may be, and however small or big it may seem, having a goal will really keep you going when the weather turns against you!

And when you have a goal, don’t keep it to yourself. Tell someone you know, preferably someone who will support you and not someone who will tell you that you can’t do it!

And if you don’t feel confident enough to tell someone you know then how about telling people you don’t know? The UK Run Chat community on Twitter are fantastically supportive to other runners, including those just starting out. Or maybe join The Running Bug where you can post every run you do and get strangers telling you how well you are doing. It will really boost your confidence!

Follow a Plan

I would say having a plan is essential when starting to run. Yes, you can just put your trainers on and run but there is a chance that you will over do it and have an injury or just not enjoy it. A plan will take you from not running at all to running 5k in 8-10 weeks and it will do so in a progressive way. A lot of people also find that having a plan that tells them how long they have to run each week really encouraging and ensures they actually do go out there. With a plan you will also be able to look back and see just how much you have achieved.

The NHS Couch to 5k is a really popular free app and website that will get you going. Or, if you don’t mind spending a few pounds and think that being chased by zombies would be a good motivator the Zombies, Run! 5k is one for you.

Of courses, many running clubs will have a start to run group that you can join and even at this stage having guidance from a coach could be beneficial.

Work out your Motivation

crossing the start line for the Run with the Girls race

We’ve talked about goals but what is behind the goals? What is going to help you go out of that door when it’s dark, raining and you’ve had a really busy day? Working out what motivates you can really help you when you just don’t feel like running.

Maybe it’s being social, in which case find yourself a running buddy or a beginners running group to run with.

Maybe you are looking for some ‘me-time’. So make sure you schedule 30 minutes for your run and let everyone know that’s what you are doing.

Perhaps you want to get fit because you want to keep up with your kids when they play football, or just feel better when being active. Think about what you will miss out on and use that to get you out of the door.

Or maybe you like a sense of achievement. In which case sign up for a 5k race at the end of your plan and think about how happy you will be when you cross that finish line.

Kit yourself

First and foremost you should feel comfortable in what you wear when running. Don’t think that you have to wear tight lycra and short shorts to be a runner!

When you first start running you don’t need new or expensive kit, old leggings and a t-shirt will do. But as you get more regular with your running you might want to think about buying some new gear. Wearing cotton on longer runs, especially if you sweat a lot, can be very uncomfortable and cause chaffing. You don’t have to buy anything expensive, just something for exercise made from a wicking material (ie it will keep the sweat away from your body). A lot of large supermarkets have a fitness range that will include clothes for running and can cost as little as £10 (or even less). Of course, if you want to splash out there is a whole range of clothing to choose from!

For your trainers you can start with what ever you have to hand, as long as they aren’t falling to pieces and have enough support in them. But once you get more regular you should buy some new trainers and, if you can, have your gait analysed. This means going into a sport shops and being filmed whilst running on a treadmill to find out how your feet land. Once you know that, you can buy the right trainers with the right level of support for you. And new trainers don’t have to mean huge expense either. Lots of shops will have last year’s colours/models at a discounted price and you can get some good bargains on websites such as

The other must have for women is a supportive sports bra. Look for bras that say they are designed for high impact sports as they will offer the right support. Most department stores, high street shops and even supermarkets sell sports bras these days and there are specialist websites such as which have excellent returns policies.

Listen to your Body

And finally, do listen to your body. If you are following a plan and find the runs in week 6 a bit too difficult, then just repeat week 5. There are no rules to say you can’t repeat things until you get more comfortable and confident.

When you first start out running you are bound to get aches as your body gets used to new exercise. But if those aches are turning into pains that get worse as you run then thinking about taking a rest for a few days. Likewise, if you have a chesty cold then take it easy and rest up, the run will wait until you get better.

Listening to your body will ensure you keep running injury free and running happy.

If you’ve been running for a while are there any tips you wish you new when you started? Or as a new runner were you told something that really helped you keep going? I’d love to know in the comments. 

I’m linking up with for Running Coaches’ Corner with Running on Happy, Suzlyfe, Crazy Running Girl, and Coach Debbie Runs where running coaches come together and share the best running advice, tips, trends, etc.


23 Responses to How to start running and actually enjoy it

    • When I started running that’s what I wore as I didn’t know if I was going to stick at it and didn’t want to face reproachful running clothes every time I opened my drawer!

      After a few weeks I realised I was going to stick at it and having new kit definitely gave me more confidence that I would.

    • I didn’t mention music! I definitely like to have good music if I’m doing a hard workout, it can really help. For my easy runs I quite often have podcasts instead.

  1. Great tips! I think the goal and plan were instrumental for me. I had to sign up for a race more than 5k to finally get myself to be consistent. And having a training plan for my first long race was helpful to not feeling overwhelmed. I just had to follow the directions 🙂

    • I know a lot of people like plans because it makes it easier as you do t have to think, just follow the plan!

      I’ve had many people on our Start to Run course say that having ‘homework’ runs means they do them.

    • It is tempting sometimes to push on with things but it’s so important to listen to your body so you don’t pick up an injury or make something worse.

      Good luck getting out there!

  2. When I first started running I had no idea about wearing cotton was a no no. I learned pretty quickly when I started logging longer miles.

  3. These are such good tips!! I’m a farely new runner and my goal is a half (yikes!). The goal definitely motivates me to lace up. What are your thoughts on compression socks? Read a lot of good things about it online. But, I’m so confused which brand to go with.

    • From what I’ve read compression socks (and other clothing) work best after your run. I can’t remember the science behind it though!! So I’ve never bought any but always stretch and try to remember to foam roll after a long run.

  4. I’d add one more: Keep going! I’m pretty sure that so many more people would fall in love with running if they just keep being consistent, even when running sucks in the beginning (and, let’s be honest: it does).

    Lovely meeting you through the hop!

  5. Goodness me, your poor toes!!

    That is one tip you don’t always pick up at first! I was lucky that when I bought my first proper shoes I had a small local running shop near me and the assistant was really good at making sure I had toe room.

  6. Great post. When I followed your blog link from your comment on my page, it brought me first to your old blog name and I totally get why you changed it.:-) I love Running Happy. I feel happy when I run too, even if it doesn’t feel that way when I start, I’m usually smiling before the run is over.

    • I thought I had changed all my links, thanks for letting me know!

      I think a lot of people find that first 5-10 minutes the hardest part of running. But it’s good to have a smile at the end.

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