How to start running: 10 tips for beginners


3 minutes

04 April 2024

Whether you're looking to lose weight, boost your cardiovascular fitness, or simply get your endorphins pumping, running for as little as 10 minutes per day can improve your health1.

If you’re ready to take the first steps in your running journey, Managing Executive and Physiotherapist at HBF Physio Baldivis, Jordan Duncan, is here to help with his top 10 tips.

Tip 1: Set realistic goals

Before you hit the pavement, it's essential to set achievable goals.

Duncan recommends starting with small, measurable objectives that align with your fitness aspirations.

“For example, aim to run for a specific duration or distance, gradually increasing as your stamina improves. Realistic goals will keep you motivated and focused on your progress.”

Tip 2: Invest in proper running shoes

Your choice of running shoes can significantly impact your comfort and performance. Duncan recommends trying shoes on in person before buying, taking into consideration your foot shape, running style, and preferences.

“Quality running shoes provide adequate support, reduce the risk of injuries, and enhance your overall running experience.”

For more information, check out our blog on How to choose the right running shoes. And remember, HBF members receive 15% off full-priced online purchases at Running Warehouse*.

Tip 3: Warm-up and cool down

Never underestimate the importance of warming up and cooling down. Before your run, engage in dynamic stretches to prepare your muscles for the activity. Afterward, perform static stretches to improve flexibility and prevent stiffness.

As Duncan explains, “A proper warm-up and cool down routine can contribute to injury prevention and overall muscle health.”

Tip 4: Start slow and gradual

Beginners often make the mistake of pushing themselves too hard initially, leading to burnout or injury. Duncan recommends starting with a combination of walking and jogging, gradually increasing your running intervals.

“This approach allows your body to adapt to the new demands and reduces the risk of overuse injuries.”

Tip 5: Establish a consistent routine

Consistency is key when it comes to building a running habit. Schedule your runs at a time that suits your lifestyle, making it easier to stick to your routine. Whether it's early morning, during lunch, or in the evening, find a time that works for you and commit to it regularly.

Tip 6: Listen to your body

Pay attention to your body's signals. If you experience pain that goes beyond typical muscle soreness, consider taking a rest day or engaging in low-impact activities.

Duncan warns that ignoring warning signs can lead to injuries that may derail your progress. “Be mindful of your body and adjust your running routine accordingly.”

Tip 7: Mix up your workouts

Running doesn't have to be monotonous. Incorporate variety into your routine by trying different types of workouts. Include interval training, hill sprints, or cross-training activities like cycling or swimming to challenge your body and prevent boredom.

But, as Duncan points out, safety always comes first, “It's always a good idea to introduce new workouts slowly and focus on consistency to avoid injury.”

Tip 8: Stay hydrated and nourished

Proper hydration and nutrition are crucial for optimal performance and recovery. Drink water throughout the day, especially before and after your runs.

Plus, Duncan emphasises the importance of fuelling your body with a balanced diet rich in carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats to support your energy levels and muscle recovery.

Tip 9: Join a running community

Running with others can be motivating and enjoyable. Consider joining a local running group or an online community where you can connect with fellow beginners, share experiences, and receive valuable tips. The sense of camaraderie can make your running journey more fulfilling.

Or, why not join Perth's biggest annual fitness fundraising challenge – HBF Run for a Reason! There are three distances to choose from and countless life-changing charities to support, including Cancer Council WA, Diabetes WA, Lifeline WA and The Heart Foundation. Enter now for Sunday 19 May.

Tip 10: Celebrate your achievements

Celebrate every milestone, no matter how small. Whether you've completed your first 5K or ran for an extra five minutes, acknowledge your accomplishments.

As Duncan explains, “Recognising your progress will boost your confidence and inspire you to keep pushing towards new goals.”

By setting realistic goals, investing in proper gear, adopting a consistent routine, and listening to your body, you can build a strong foundation for a lifelong love of running.

Remember, it's not about the destination but the journey itself – enjoy the process, stay committed, and embrace the positive changes that running brings to your life.


1Health Direct - Running tips for beginners


*Terms and conditions apply. Excludes electronics and already reduced items.

You should consult a doctor before starting an exercise program.

This article contains general information only and does not take into account the health, personal situation or needs of any person. In conjunction with your GP or treating health care professional, please consider whether the information is suitable for you and your personal circumstances.