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Much like with any other hobby, running involves a learning curve that you’ll need to adjust to. Be ready to have questions and to ask seasoned runners for answers. Before you lace on those shoes, though, take a quick jog through our quick and easy beginner’s guide to running. With regular practice and a positive outlook, your new hobby can keep you in shape and give you goals to strive for.

Walk First

Ease gently into your new routine by setting aside 30 minutes a day to walk. Get your body used to exercising at the same time every day. Once you’re comfortable in your routine, gently push yourself to walk a little farther or break into a light jog. Even after you’ve trained to run longer distances, intersperse bouts of running with a few walking breaks.

Dress Your Feet Well

Foot health is more important than ever when you start putting extra pressure on them every day. Get to know your feet—do you have high arches or fallen ones?—and shop for running shoes that suit your individual needs. Think about where you’ll be running, too. Asphalt requires different cushioning than an indoor track.

Mind Your Breath

If you’re a first-time runner, expect a certain amount of huffing and puffing in the beginning. Don’t push yourself too hard right away; if you feel too wheezy or out of breath, slow to a walk to let your breath catch up. After a few months, your breathing should feel stronger. If it doesn’t, talk to your doctor about getting tested for asthma. It won’t stop you from running altogether, but you’ll need a little medical help.

Pick a Race

A prize or end goal is the perfect motivation for the novice runner. Look up races in your area, and start training for a 5K! A race on the calendar keeps you enthusiastic about training and proud of your new hobby. Get a few 5K races under your belt, then start thinking bigger. Training for a half-marathon or full marathon will keep you on that track.

As you begin your running career, get off to a strong start. Train without overwhelming yourself, and treat yourself to a pair of shoes that will keep your soles and ankles healthy. This quick and easy beginner’s guide to running will help you tackle your new hobby with enthusiasm.

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