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NEW RUNNERS - How do I get started?

Congratulations and welcome! Running will reward you with a sense of accomplishment and amazing stories. Maybe you see this new activity has a replacement for something else, a stress reliever, a way to mark the new you, or a host of other motivations. No matter, you are here now, be proud.

I am a runner, just like you. Over time running has become part of my routine, but we all start from the beginning at this. I could not be happier to help set you off on the right foot. To that end, highlighted below are answers to the top 5 questions I hear from fellow beginner runners.

What do I need to get?

The only piece of equipment that is especially important is a good pair of running shoes. Resist the temptation to bring back to life those old sneakers at the back of your closet!  We want shoes that are running specific. There is an almost endless list of brands and models of running shoes to serve an almost endless list of runners’ preferences. Some tips to guide you through:

  • Find a store with runners on staff, they will be able to provide good advice.
  • Try many pairs and take the time to feel the differences from one shoe to another before buying.
  • The right shoes will feel like home right away, tightness or rubbing will not work itself out.

We all love online shopping but this one is better tackled in a brick and mortar store. Repeat purchases can be done online of course.

You can also read about what other runners like in a shoe. The yearly running shoe review from the Impact magazine, as an independent editorial content magazine, would be my first stop for shoe reviews. Impact Magazine Running Shoe Review

For the ladies, a running specific (or high impact) sport bra is also a good investment. Running stores, department stores as well as some lingerie stores carry them. Fitting tips:

  • The band does most of the work, it should be snug around your rib cage.
  • Up/down movement is reduced by the straps, we are looking for minimal stretch there.
  • Be mindful of material in relation to your skin. Sweat and movement will heighten any sensitivities.
  • Jumping up and down in the change room is the ultimate test, do it!

Where should I run? How do I stay safe?

Basically, you can run everywhere you walk, but some places are better than others for enjoyment and safety. Pathways are a great option; they often take you on the scenic route and by design will minimize your interactions with cars. Maps of pathways and bike paths are often published on cities’ websites.

You enjoy running to your favorite playlist? Fantastic! With that, it is also important to remain aware of your surroundings. Because you move and change direction faster running than walking, being able to hear cars, bikes, and people behind you is important.

If you run when it is dark, reflective material on your clothing and a headlamp will go a long way to help make you visible.

If you already frequent a gym, you may think of using a treadmill. Good idea, it is a safe and controlled environment for sure. Sometimes mother nature sends us all to the treadmill. If you feel your runs are becoming a little bland, the problem may be the treadmill rather than the running. Go let your hair down outside and feel the wind on your cheeks!

How long do I go for? Do I have to run the whole time, or can I walk?

Of course, you can walk. In fact, if you are just starting out you can alternate running and walking. For example, 1 minute running followed by 2 minute walking etc., or the opposite 2/1, or 1 song running/1 song walking. Why not? Mix it up!

In terms of how long you should go for, that is a hard question to answer. A good starting point could be 20 minutes of walk/run for one person or the end of the street and back for someone else. It really depends on your current fitness. If unsure, less is more in this case. Go with what feels good to you and that is likely where you should be. Being consistent in your practice is much more important than where you start from.

How often should I run?

A good rule of thumb would be to run every second day or less. If you are already an active person, be mindful of the total amount of activity you do in a week. You may need to scale back a bit your other activities while you introduce running to your schedule.

Progress and increase level of fitness will happen as you allow your body to adjust to the new demands. That takes weeks and months, gradual is the operative word here. This is not about how much you can do this week or next, but rather developing a habit and a strong body that has the potential to introduce you to a new lifestyle. Doing more is fine when you are ready. A conservative approach would be to increase the time you run by 10% or less. Increases should also be spaced by consolidation (same frequency/volume as the previous week).

What time of day is best to run?

The time you can consistently leave your world behind and head out the door. Some prefer the morning before anything can put an unexpected demand on them. Others enjoy lunch time runs to break up the day and get re-energized for the afternoon. There is also the evening crowd who likes to end a day well lived (or a though one) with a run. The time of day that suits your schedule and body rhythm is the one for you.

We hope this helped and wish you an uplifting start.


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Stay tune for our next article on winter running.