How do I start running?

At Mullins Podiatry we are often asked by patients “how can I learn to run?” Whether it’s from the couch to a 5km goal, wanting to burn more calories, or getting bored with the gym, there are many different reasons as to why a person would like to start running.

If you have made a decision to get in shape and would like to add running to your fitness regime, or you haven’t run in a long time or you are looking at progressing from walking to running, the following guide from Mullins Podiatry may help.

Please note: It is important to get checked out by a doctor, particularly if you have any health risks such as heart or lung conditions, major diseases or are pregnant.

Step 1: Seek advice on the best pair of running shoes for you and your size / needs. This advice can be from a health professional such as a podiatrist or a specialist running store. Find someone with likeminded goals or a group to train with. Research shows that if you have someone to train with, not only are you more likely to succeed but you will have more fun in the process.

Step 2: Start small. Whilst you are enthusiastic to simply put some running shoes on and head out the door for half an hour or more of effortless running, the reality is that you will increase your chance of injury and decrease your chance of success if you try to do too much too soon.

I like a walk/run combination for the first few weeks. If going from the couch to running, I recommend patients start with a 6 minute cycle (4 minutes walking/ 2 minutes running) making sure that the 2 minutes of running is at conversational pace. Whilst the latest gadgets like GPS watches and heart rate monitors can help, at this stage all you need to do is hold a conversation during running/walking, relax and listen to your feet hitting the ground.

This 6 minute cycle can be done progressively for up to 4 cycles per session.

e.g 4 x 6 minute cycles = 24 minutes total per session. Aim for 3/4 sessions per week.

Step 3: Only gradually increase if the body is telling you to. If you are experiencing any pain or problems, consult a heath professional. If all is going well after the first week and you are recovering without any pain, you can progress this 6 minute cycle to a 3 minute walk/3 minute run combination.

The following week this can move to a 4 minute run/2 minute walk combination, and finally a 5 minute run /1 minute walk combination.

This gradual rule of roughly 10% increase in distance and intensity should hold, regardless of ability.

Step 4: Allowing for life getting in the way and motivation getting low, try to commit to 10 sessions in your first month of learning how to run.

Once this month is completed you are ready to progress to a more specific goal, take a look at your running form and start mixing in different types of training e.g hill work.

If you have any questions, comments or feedback please contact us at where we can help you start running today.

Log off

Shut down

Go run