Beginner’s Guide to Running Properly

There’s a common perception that running is an inherent skill; after all, you just get out and run, right? Well, while it might seem as straightforward as putting one foot in front of the other, adopting the correct techniques can significantly affect your performance and overall experience. 

This beginner’s guide to running properly will help you navigate your new fitness journey. 

In this article, we will explore:

  1. What is a beginner’s guide to running?
  2. What to expect when you first start running.
  3. What is the proper technique for running?
  4. How to run step-by-step.
  5. How to run properly to lose weight.
  6. How far should you run for beginners?

So read on and learn how to embrace the journey, stay consistent, and enjoy the transformative power of running.

1. What is a beginner’s guide to running?

What is a beginner’s guide to running, you ask? Well, think of it as your friendly roadmap for starting off on a running adventure. 

It’s like having a knowledgeable running buddy right beside you, providing advice and guidance on everything from understanding the significance of correct posture, breathing techniques, foot strike, and even arm movement. 

It’s all about setting you up for success and ultimately ensuring your running journey is not just about moving your feet, but doing so in a way that’s efficient, effective, and enjoyable. So, lace up, follow along, and let’s hit the road together!

For more tips on how to start a running routine, visit that article next.

2. What to expect when you first start running

Jumping into the world of running can be an exhilarating but challenging endeavor. So, what should you expect when you first start running? Let’s break it down:

  • Soreness: When you first start running, it’s common for some people to experience muscle soreness. This is your body’s natural response to unfamiliar exertion, and you’ll likely feel pain as the muscles heal and get stronger. To help manage symptoms, try an active recovery workout, like walking or yoga. iFIT, a paid subscription service platform, offers a wide variety of active recovery workouts to choose from.
  • Fatigue: Feeling tired after your runs, especially in the early days, is normal. Remember, your body is adjusting to a new level of activity. Ensure you’re getting enough sleep to aid recovery and fueling your body with a balanced diet to maintain energy levels.
  • Slow Progress: You might not see immediate improvements in speed or endurance, and that’s okay. Progress in running isn’t linear and varies greatly from person to person. The key is staying committed through consistent, progressive training.
  • Mental Challenges: There will be days when running feels more like a mental challenge than a physical one. You might question why you started or whether you can continue. This is normal, especially for beginners. However, pushing through this mental barrier can lead to a sense of achievement and increased mental resilience. (If you’re struggling with getting motivated to work out, check out the tips in that article when you’re done here.)
  • Setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals: It’s crucial to set S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound) goals for your running journey. This approach will help you remain focused, motivated, and patient as you start noticing improvements over time.

3. What is the proper technique for running?

Firstly, let’s understand why the proper technique for running matters. In its simplest terms, good running form reduces the risk of injury, helps you run more efficiently, and sets you up to run longer distances or increase your speed over time. [1]

Remember, running is not merely a leg exercise; it’s a full-body workout that requires a harmonious blend of different movements. It’s not just about foot strike, but also about keeping your body relaxed and your arms swinging forward, not across your body. [2]

Think about it like driving a well-tuned car; it’s smoother, faster, and less prone to break down.

4. How to run step-by-step

So, you’re ready to embark on your running journey, and you’re wondering, “How do I run properly?” Great question! When it comes to running, good form is crucial for maximizing efficiency and minimizing injury risk. 

Here, we break down the basics of running form to get you started on the right foot — pun intended! Remember, just like any new skill, learning how to run properly requires practice and patience. Let’s dive into the fundamentals:

  • Warm-Up: Start your run by walking at a comfortable pace for 5 minutes. This warm-up phase is crucial to prepare your body and muscles for the workout ahead.
  • Foot Strike: Land mid-sole with your foot directly under your body. Doing so reduces the braking effect that happens when your foot lands in front of you and can lead to a smoother run. [3]
  • Body Posture: Maintain an upright posture, keeping your body relaxed. Try not to lean forward or backward. Your head should be up, looking forward, and your shoulders should be low and loose, not tensed up near your ears. [4]
  • Breathing: Try to establish rhythmic breathing. Breathe deeply from your diaphragm, not shallow breaths from your chest. [5]
  • Arm Movement: Swing your arms forward and backward, not side to side. Keep your hands relaxed. Your arms help balance your body during a run, so use them efficiently. [6]
  • Cool Down: After completing the main part of your run, slow down your pace and walk at a comfortable speed for 5 minutes. This cool-down phase is crucial to allow your heart rate to gradually return to its normal rate and to prevent muscle stiffness.

Find more expert running tips from iFIT Trainer Knox Robinson by visiting that article when you’re done here.

Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will your running form. Gradual progress is key. Initially, you might not perfect all aspects of the technique, but don’t be too hard on yourself. With consistency and practice, your running style will evolve.

5. How to run properly to lose weight

If you’re running to lose weight, consider incorporating interval training into your routine, as this has been found to increase fat burning. [7]

Keep in mind, though, running is not only about losing weight or setting new records. It’s about fostering a healthy relationship with your body, enjoying the process, and setting realistic and attainable goals.

6. How far should you run as a beginner?

Start with what you’re comfortable with. You might begin with running and walking intervals. For instance, you can run for 1-2 minutes, then walk for a similar amount of time. 

As your fitness improves, gradually increase the running intervals and decrease the walking ones. [8]

A rule of thumb for increasing your running distance is the 10% rule. This means that you should not increase your weekly mileage by more than 10% compared to the previous week. [9]

The bottom line

If you’re a beginner, start running with patience and a focus on proper technique. It’s about running efficiently, not just running for the sake of it. Take your time and be kind to yourself. 

Running is a beautiful way to explore your physical and mental strength, and with the right form, you can avoid common injuries and truly enjoy the experience.

Remember, this is your run, your pace, and your journey. Embrace the process and watch how running transforms not only your body but also your mind. Happy running!

Looking for beginner running workouts? Try these iFIT Series!


  1. Chumanov, E. S., Heiderscheit, B. C., & Thelen, D. G. (2011). The effect of speed and influence of individual muscles on hamstring mechanics during the swing phase of sprinting. Journal of Biomechanics, 44(14), 2739–2745.
  2. Moore, I. S. (2016). Is There an Economical Running Technique? A Review of Modifiable Biomechanical Factors Affecting Running Economy. Sports Medicine, 46(6), 793–807.
  3. Bramah, C., Preece, S. J., Gill, N., & Herrington, L. (2019). Is There a Pathological Gait Associated With Common Soft Tissue Running Injuries? The American Journal of Sports Medicine, 47(6), 1323–1331.
  4. Hreljac, A. (2005). Etiology, prevention, and early intervention of overuse injuries in runners: a biomechanical perspective. Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinics, 16(3), 651–667.
  5. Anderson, L. (2013). The effect of a 4-week core strengthening program on determinants of running performance. International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy, 8(5), 661–667.
  6. Spengler, C. M., Roos, M., Laube, S. M., & Boutellier, U. (1993). Decreased exercise blood lactate concentrations after respiratory endurance training in humans. European Journal of Applied Physiology and Occupational Physiology, 66(4), 363–369.
  7. Boutcher, S. H. (2011). High-Intensity Intermittent Exercise and Fat Loss. Journal of Obesity, 2011.
  8. Galloway, J. (2002). Galloway’s Book on Running. Shelter Publications.
  9. Nielsen, R. O., Parner, E. T., Nohr, E. A., Sørensen, H., Lind, M., & Rasmussen, S. (2014). Excessive Progression in Weekly Running Distance and Risk of Running-Related Injuries: An Association Which Varies According to Type of Injury. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, 44(10), 739–747.

Disclaimer: This blog post is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. The above information should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, sleep methods, daily activity, or fitness routine. iFIT assumes no responsibility for any personal injury or damage sustained by any recommendations, opinions, or advice given in this article. Always follow the safety precautions included in the owner’s manual of your fitness equipment.