Fitness Friday 32: Intro to Running

Hi Friends-

It’s time for another Fitness Friday. I’m going to spare you a mundane recap of my workouts this week. I haven’t been feeling well all week so even though I was itching to run, just the thought of doing it kinda made me want to throw up. So I stuck with just taking the boys on a long walk each night.

But it is Fitness Friday, so I didn’t want to leave you guys without your weekly dose of Fitness! Once again, a fitfluential friend has come to the rescue! Even though my love of running has held pretty steady for a while now, it always starts to increase as Fall approaches. I run SO much better in the cooler weather! Just in case any of you are bitten by the running bug this Fall, I had one of my readers and fellow Fitfluential Ambassadors  put together a little post for you guys about how to start running! Her name is Lydia and she blogs over at Happy Healthy Confident, so be sure to check out her blog as well!

Take it away Lydia!


Hi everyone at the LeanGreenBean! I have to just first say that I am so honored to be guest posting on here today! Lindsay is such an inspiration to me, and I have been a big fan of her blog for quite a while now!

When Lindsay asked me to write about running for beginners I was ecstatic, what a great post to do! There are so many of us out there that run everyday, but how about helping others get started?

So here it is! From couch to 5k:

I know SO many people, from siblings to friends to neighbors that say they would rather die then get up and go running. Many beginner runners ignore the fact that they are beginners, and go out to run a couple miles only to end up just killing themselves because their bodies are not used to it. The key to becoming a runner is time and practice!

You do not need a lot to begin running. You will want a great pair of running shoes that you can find at almost any sporting goods store. Look for brands such as Reebok, Nike, New Balance, and Asics.  (Note from Lindsay: I would highly recommend going to get fitted for some new shoes at a running store if you decide to get that running is something you want to continue. They will analyze your gait and can help you pick shoes that are best for you. Plus, any reputable store will work with you to find shoes that work best for you. Some of you may remember how I went to Fleet Feet and bought a pair of Brooks. After I took them home and ran a few times, I realized they were not the right shoes for me. I was able to bring them back and an employee worked with me again to find another pair- my Nike Pegasus, which I love!)

You will also need a workout outfit (shorts and top), running socks, and a water bottle. It is also nice to have a distance tracking device with timer, like Garmin, but it is not necessary. (Note from Lindsay: There are tons of free GPS tracking apps out there. I use Runkeeper on my iphone and just carry my phone with me when i run! Nike+ is another one that a lot of people like)

Once you have everything you need, suit up and start out by simply walking at a quick pace for 30 minutes. You can do this for just the first day, or you may want to just stick to walking for the first entire week. Everyone is different. Ultimately, the biggest mistake anyone makes when trying to take up running, is trying to do too much too soon. If your body is not used to running, you really need to give your body time to adjust.

After starting slow with just walking, the next step is to start running, but alternating it with walking to not overload your legs and body.

Take your time! You do not need to rush into this!

Gradually increase the amount of time you spend running while decreasing the amount of time you spend walking. For example, 2 minutes running/3 minutes walking, 3 minutes running/2minnutes walking…and so on. Make sure you take a rest day at least every three days.

It is important to really REST on your rest days. Ice any sore muscles, take time to stretch, and eat lots of healthy proteins so your body can heal up and grow stronger for your next workout.

After you reach the point where you are running for a full 30 minutes, try increasing your speed bit by bit.

On a treadmill try running at level 5 for 2 minutes, walking for 1 minute, running at level 5.5 for 2 minutes, walking for 1 minute….etc, until your can run the full 30 minutes at level 6.5 to 7.

I have included a 30 day ‘Couch to 5K’ schedule you can print off and follow to get you ready for your first 5K!

{Note from Lindsay: This would be a great plan for someone who is already accustomed to being physically active while doing other activities…ie, perhaps you play a sport regularly but have never tried running  just to run. If you are just beginning an exercise routine, there is a 3 month Couch to 5k plan that may be a better option for you. They have a detailed plan on their website- CLICK HERE to see it and they even have a Couch to 5K app that you can download to use on your runs! I used this program several years ago when I first started running!}

Once you get to this point, go sign up for your first 5k! You can do it!!


Thanks so much Lydia! As always, please check with your doctor before starting a physical activity routine to make sure it is safe for you!

So tell us:

Are you a runner? 
How did you get started?
Any advice for newbie runners? 


About Lindsay

Lindsay Livingston is a Registered Dietitian and new mom from Columbus, Ohio. On her blog, she shares simple, healthy recipes, nutrition tips, workouts and snapshots of her life. Follow her on Twitter @LeanGrnBeanBlog and Instagram @TheLeanGreenBean and be sure to subscribe via RSS or email so you never miss a post!


  1. I was big into running about a year ago when I was training for two half marathons. I still enjoy running and everything it does for me – but I prefer NOT to train for races. This allows more flexibility in my workout schedule for strength training (which is my main priority right now) as well as cross training!
    Cait @ Beyond Bananas recently posted..Wedding: Bridal Party Shots

  2. I just started running in Feb with my bf and we’re doing our first 5k in November! We still alternate running/walking but were able to get our 5k time down to 36 minutes and I actually ran a full mile without stopping on Thursday – a huge deal for me!
    Erica { } recently posted..Healthy Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

    • Erica – I am right there with you! I’ve never been much of a runner at all, but I started running and just did my first 5k last weekend! While I didn’t run the entire time, I did run my first complete mile in YEARS and ended up with a 33min time! I was very proud of myself and it has me looking for more to run! GOOD LUCK! KEEP IT UP! :)
      Jenny recently posted..Today is the little nugget’s birthday!!!

  3. I started running by training for my first half-marathon – seriously! It was rough though.. The longest I’d run previously to the race was 6 miles and after 6 miles in the race I had to run/walk to the finish. It did inspire me to run more consistently and now, after 7 half-marathons, I’m addicted!
    Linz @ Itz Linz recently posted..I’m a… Lion?

  4. Good ideas in this post for sure!!!! I ran cross country in high school. I have never been good or fast but I always come back to running, and I love it which matters more than speed!! Just finished my first half marathon and love the fact that I got to the point mentally that at the 10 mile mark I said, “oh all that’s left is a 5k!!”. I also love running for a cause — gives me additional motivation (the half was for Autism Speaks)
    Paula Kiger recently posted..Wordless Wednesday (Truly Memorable People Edition)

  5. This is awesome! I recently decided to train for a 5K. I have never been a runner and had no clue where to start. I also decided to try the couch to 5k app but I’ve been lost on how to space the days and when to rest. Thanks a lot for including the ideas on what days and how ofen!!
    Holly from 300 Pounds Down recently posted..Nothing is Impossible!

  6. Thanks for this! I’m very much a newbie runner, and I often put pressure on myself to run faster, harder, longer because my goals seems so small compared to more experienced runners. So, I always appreciate the reminder not to rush it. One thing that has really helped me from overdoing it has been an old back injury. Knowing that if I push myself too hard, I will probably hurt my back, really keeps me at steady but moderate pace. Thanks again for the encouragement!
    Marilyn recently posted..Hearty meat sauce and pasta // warming, like a close friendship

  7. I started running just a little over a year ago! Would I consider myself a runner…Yap. I run therefore I am a runner :) Tip I would give to a ‘newbie’: get properly fitted for a good running shoe!
    Kierston recently posted..5 Weeks Out: Ready to Roll!

  8. This was a great post! I’ve recently started running and can run 5ks on the treadmill but I have yet to do it in a race. I’d love to get to do that sometime soon!
    Erin @ Girl Gone Veggie recently posted..Birthday Celebrations

  9. I recently took up running again, and only did one of the advice tips mentioned above — I built my mileage more slowly. But running in bad shoes nearly had me on the sidelines after just three weeks. And my clothes were ALL wrong (yes, cotton in the summer — bad plan!!). However, I got the right gear, started training harder and I’m ready to run my first half marathon this weekend (gunning for sub-1:35). Great info in this post!! If you’re looking to pick up running as a fitness hobby/sport, definitely give it a thorough read-through! (I wish I’d known these when I started!!)
    Chelsie @ Balance, Not Scale recently posted..Friday Fab 10!

  10. Sorry you haven’t been feeling well! Get some rest this weekend.

    Great post. I love the point about not doing too much too soon. I see so many people do that, get hurt, then give up completely. Slow and steady wins the race! 😉

  11. Great post! I’ve been running since high school but only recently got back into it on a regular basis, and it was hard. A lot harder than I thought it would be… I definitely had to tell myself to start small and build. I have friends who just started running and it’s always good to remind them of the same thing. Running shoes are definitely huge, but I have to say that the right sports bra is another necessity (at least if you’re a female). Great post, I’ll definitely be sharing!
    Noelle at Noelle’s Notebook recently posted..GBN: Week 9

  12. I. LOVE. this post! Being a new runner or trying to set goals to run further, faster, etc., this is just what I wanted to read and loved it! I’m doing the Couch To 5K and am loving it. I have a goal on my “to do before turning 30” and one of them is to do a 5K :)
    Aparna B. recently posted..Biking. Bees. Football.

  13. Perfect post for me right now! I started working towards my first 5K in the Spring and then had some trouble with my IT bands. Now I’m back at it with the goal of running a 5K at the end of October. Slow and steady seems to work for me – I’m up to 4K in 32 minutes, so I think I have lots of time to get to my 5K goal. I use the Runtastic app on my smartphone – it keeps track of everything a newbie runner needs and it’s ignited that competitive spark where I want to do a little better every time I go out!
    Andrea @ Vegvacious recently posted..What I Ate Wednesday ~ Eating the Rainbow

  14. Great ideas for getting into running! I remember when I first started running- I was so intimidated at the thought of running a 5k! I decided to run with my dad a few days a week- running with someone helps make the time go by faster and slows down your breathing a bit! :)
    Kaylie recently posted..Shoe Rotation

  15. Running is my favorite thing these days. When I give advice to people who want to start running, I tell them to not be afraid to go slow. That’s how I learned to love running. It doesn’t always have to be about speed and comparing yourself to others. When you run slower, you don’t feel like death, and it becomes a great time to reflect and think about…whatever. Yes, I practice speed, but I also like to include slower runs to remember why I love the sport so much.
    Katie recently posted..Hallelujah! I Can Cook!

  16. I would love to be a runner! Unfortunately, I suffer from runner’s knee. Does anyone else have this problem and do you have any ideas for overcoming it?
    Natalie @ Free Range Human recently posted..The Bucket List

  17. Great tips! I also started running using the couch-to-5K program in April 2011 and my husband and I will be running our first marathon next weekend!

    I would have to say that I definitely tried to do too much too fast, but now I have learned what I need to do. I would also emphasize cross training because it helps keep injuries at bay. And if you are injured, don’t run. You aren’t supposed to limp after you finish running, take it from me I know!
    Jamie @ couchtoironwoman recently posted..Tips for Your First Marathon – Part 2

  18. I bookmarked this– I am going to give it a try…thanks!!
    Elizabeth@ Food Ramblings recently posted..Jerk Chicken

  19. I still consider myself a newer runner, even though I’ve completed five 5ks now, my first one being this past April. I used a Couch 5k app and started and stopped it several times before I became serious. Then, after I completed it, I still didn’t think I was ready, so I just kept increasing each run I did by 1 minute until I was running for 60 minutes straight. (Note: Even the step in my app going from a 30 min run to a 45 min run scared me, so that’s when I started increasing by 1 min!) This worked for me, mostly mentally, because I thought, “I’ve already run that long. Surely I can do one minute more!)

    In my opinion, running is 80% mental. I find myself playing mind games to keep myself going! Now, running has become “my time.” I am still very slow. (I have never gotten to 6.5 or 7 for 30 minutes as Lydia suggests… YET!) But that’s okay. Running is about YOU and no one else. Remember, “No matter how slow you go, you are still lapping everyone sitting on the couch!” That includes the times YOU are on the couch. 😉 Just keep up with it and eventually, you’ll see yourself improve and doing something you may have *never* though you’d do. I didn’t!
    Carrie @ Season It Already! recently posted..Weight Loss Rewards and NSVs

  20. I just started running a little over a year ago. And you definitely don’t want to try to do too much, too soon. I thought I was so cool one day because I did about 6 miles … but soon after, I regretted it, because my knee started hurting. Your body needs time to adjust! Take care of it!
    Kristen @ notsodomesticated recently posted..Why didn’t I think of that?

  21. Great tips! I once heard that you are considered a newbie to yoga if you’ve practiced less than 10 years. I think that applies to running too! Every runner learns something new with each run. That’s what makes it so great!
    Angela @ Happy Fit Mama recently posted..We Are All Runners

  22. I started running with c25k. It really works!
    Leonor @FoodFaithFitness recently posted..WIAW- Overnight Staycation

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