A Checklist For New Runners – What You Need To Get Started


You don’t need much to start running. It’s a simple sport. It has no up-front cost other than your own desire to accomplish a certain distance. There are only a few things you will need to start running, and only one of them costs money.

Shoes –

You will eventually need a pair of running shoes. You can use any sneaker you currently own, but if you are using hiking shoes or cross trainers, you may end up with shin splints or muscle strain.

However, don’t let lack of running shoes be the barrier between running and not running. Put on whatever you’ve got and get out there.

There was a point in time when what we call running shoes did not exist. Track stars and long-distance guys alike wore Converse. If the marathon legends can run 26.2 in hard, flat-soled, canvas shoes, you can get out there and run a mile in your cross trainers.

Patience –

Pull out your patience. You will need a lot of it. At first, you won’t be able to run as fast, or as far, as you think you can. You will need to take walk breaks, and that is more than okay. You will hurt. You will be out of breath. It will suck.

Be patient with yourself. It takes time to build up endurance. I will impart a little advice that I wish I had known when I first started running, because it would have saved me a lot of false starts. It is this:

Run really slow. Way slower than you think you need to run. The slower you run, the longer you will be able to go at one time, and the faster you will build up your speed and endurance. So many beginners race out the door at a breakneck speed, only to halt in the road – hands on knees, panting, cursing, sweating. It’s hard to believe that running is possible.

It’s not impossible… you just have to slow down and use patience.

Willpower –

You will need willpower to lace up those shoes and keep trying. Even if it’s hard, you still need to try.

Being brave enough to get out the door and try to run is a huge accomplishment. Shaking off the stresses of the day, and leaving it on the road is an amazing feeling. But you have to get out the door first.

You will always feel better after you run than you do before. You will feel fierce and strong. Each run you rack up will give you more and more willpower for the next time you lace up those shoes.

Desire –

Desire is the most important part for beginning runners. You can run because you feel you should, you can run because your mother/husband/sister/brother/friend runs. However, to continue for any length of time as a runner, you need to have the desire yourself to do the work.

If you have that hunger to become a runner, you will persevere. If you yearn to be someone who discusses how many miles they have run that week (FYI – non-runners find this really annoying). The type of person who spends a small fortune on Lycra and race fees. The type of person who tries a million different combinations of food in varying time periods before a run to see which is the best fueling option. With this desire you will become a runner.


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Liz Ward

Liz Ward is a running fanatic, avid reader, and amateur farmer. She lives on the Oregon Coast with her husband, three kids, and a small herd of animals.

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