Your step-by-step beginner’s guide to running

With some simple prep, you can start your jogging journey with confidence you’ll be able to go the whole distance.

So you want to start running?

Seems simple enough, and for the most part, it is – put on some runners, head out the door and start running.

Humans were designed to run, according to a study by the University of Utah.

It’s a great way to stay fit, get outdoors, lose weight and meet people. And it’s free, or at least cheap.

Whether your ultimate goal is a 5km fun run or an ultra-marathon, here are our top tips to get moving.

First, get the medical greenlight

If you’re new to running, a check-up with your GP is a good idea before you start.

They will make sure your joints are up to the task and that the cardiovascular system is firing as it should.

Get some guidance

The Couch to 5km app (for iOS and Android) is a great starting point.

The nine-week program builds up slowly with more walking than running to begin with before the running intervals get longer and the walking intervals get shorter.

Designed for any level of fitness, the sessions last about 30 minutes, three times a week.

Must-have running gear

In terms of having the right gear, wearing the one pair of runners you’ve had since 2002 might not be your wisest move.

Getting professionally fitted can be a bit more expensive than picking up a pair of runners on sale, but ultimately might be worth it when it comes to taking care of your feet and preventing injuries.

A good running shoe store can suggest and fit shoes that will suit your foot and running style.

Investing in activewear that is breathable and wicks the sweat away is worthwhile, as is a properly fitted sports bra for women.

Get among friends

Running can be a solitary venture, but it’s also a great way to enjoy time with others.

Recruit a few like-minded friends to join you on the trails, or join a recreational running group in your area.

Or you can join the Park Run pack and take part in one of the free, weekly, timed 5km events in more than 350 parks around Australia every Saturday morning.

Set a goal

A goal is great for motivation.

Whether it be a 5km fun run, 10k, or a half or full marathon, there are dozens of running events held around Australia every weekend.


Mixing up your program with one to two sessions of a different form of exercise can be a good way to improve your running strength as well as keep your fitness routine interesting.

Activities such as swimming, cycling, a strength fitness class, or yoga can help you build the muscles you need to support your running with lower impact activities, reducing your risk of injury.

Keep at it – and remember why you started

The key to a successful transition to running is consistency, according to Melbourne based-running coach and osteopath Steve Dinneen.

“Be kind to yourself. Start off slow and set realistic expectations. If you’ve laced up your runners and out the door you’re already one step closer to your goal,” he says.

Written by Sally Heppleston.