So you want to be a runner? Whether it is for fitness, fun, or because you want to become competitive everybody has to start somewhere.
First thing to do is get yourself a good pair of running shoes. You maythink “oh i'll just run down to my local big chain sporting goodsstore they will know what I need” but for the most part you arewrong. You need to go to your Local Running Store (Running Center,Fleet Feet, A Snails Pace) and have somebody in the running shoebusiness who is most likely a runner tell you what kind of shoe youneed. Shoes will be your biggest expense but it is worth it to avoidinjuries. At your Local Running Store an employee will watch you runusually on a treadmill, a lot of stores will now video tape the wayyour feet land so they can see and show you how your feet land. Yourfeet will land either rolling in (very common), neutral (common) androlling out (uncommon). They will also show you where your feetstrike the ground, they will land forefoot, mid, and heel. Heelstriking is the most common yet relatively inefficient foot strike.The sales associate will find a few pairs of shoes for you to try onand you will be allowed to walk and run around the store or on thetreadmill with them on. It is up to you to pick the pair that fitsbest and is comfortable. (For those on a tight budget if you arefitted for a pair of shoes that are very expensive you don't have tobuy the shoes from the running store try and look online and atprevious models of the shoe as they are cheaper and virtually thesame thing)[/spoiler]
Now to the actual running. For this guide I am assuming you are unable torun 30 minutes at a steady pace. There is a very successful and FREEtraining program to get you from 0 to 30 minutes of steady pacerunning in 9 weeks. Although that may seem very slow to a lot of youbut it will prevent you from getting injured from starting up toquickly. It is called the Couch to 5k program from coolrunning.comhttp://www.coolrunning.com/engine/2/2_3/181.shtml. This program has been used by hundreds of thousands of people. Itis designed for the beginning runner of any weight, shape, or size toget from 0 to about 30 minutes of running. Follow the plan and youwill be able to run 30 minutes without much of a problem or setback.
What to do next? After this9 weeks of building up to 30 minutes you will want to be able tomaintain it for another 2-4 weeks and then start building up, gettingfaster, or even stay at the 30 minutes for some general fitness. Forthose wanting to build up to 60 minute runs and beyond try playingaround with some schedules for how much you want to run. 4-6 days aweek allow for runners to get in good runs with enough rest. The ruleof thumb is to increase each week by 10% and take every 3rdor 4th week as a “cutback” week. For the cutback weekyou would go back and repeat the schedule you did from 2 weeks beforeand then build up 10% again. For those who want to get faster buildup to 60 minutes and pick up a running book, Daniels running formulais one of the best books to pick up no matter what stage of runningyou are at. This book has training schedules and also gives the whyand how to the workouts.
Shoe companies and running store employees will tell you to replace your shoes every 300-400 miles this is a good way to prevent injuries. As you become more experienced in running you will find that you can get 600+ miles on a pair of shoes without a problem.
My knowledge comes from my 4 years of High School cross country, 3 years of high school track, and my continuation of running past high school.
If you have any questions or would like a schedule example or help building a schedule either pm me here or join the Runnersworld online forums. They are a great community and I wouldn't know much of anything without them.
If there is anything else you would like in this guide or would like to make a correction please pm me.
A good way to keep motivation up is to put your runs/workouts in a log. You can either do a written log or an online log. I use the online log at (you need an account to see links) but if you want a more social aspect there is (you need an account to see links)
This is posted at DZ, HB, and Here. This is my guide and have given credit where credit is due.