Getting started: 4 simple steps for beginning runners

Running is a simple and cost-effective way to get fit and stay in shape. Getting started is often half the battle. To help you along, our OHSU Sports Medicine physicians have compiled some guidelines for taking your running or walking to a new level:

1.  Begin with a warm up

Develop a dynamic series of stretches to increase blood flow to the working muscles and increase the functional range of motion around the major joints. Click here for a great list of warm-up stretches from Runner’s World.

2.  Use the talk test

A common training error in those revisiting their running program is to start out simply running too quickly.  Endurance is the main training goal, and it’s best achieved by training at a moderate intensity level.  How do you know if you’re running too fast? The simple test is to see if you can talk. If you’re unable to hold a casual conversation while running, you are likely going too fast.

3.  Stay healthy

Injuries are an unfortunate but common part of running. If you have a history of joint injury or develop injuries while running, be sure to get evaluated quickly. Many runners will push through pain and ignore important signs from their body.

OHSU Sports Medicine specialists can help address problem areas and come up with recovery programs that will get you back to running quickly and safely.

4.  Make a training plan

Flying by the seat of your pants can make for an interesting life, but it isn’t a good approach to a training program for runners and walkers. Find the best fit for you, but consider that you need to accurately evaluate your current fitness and strive for a conservative increase in weekly mileage.

Want to learn more? Take a look at a few of our favorite resources below:



Ryan Petering. M.D. specializes in Sports Medicine and Family Medicine. He also has special interest in Pediatric Care, Primary Care Sports Medicine, Recreational Athletes, and Wilderness Medicine.


One response to “Getting started: 4 simple steps for beginning runners

  1. Dr. Petering.

    I appreciate these very practical tips – now I have no excuses and must keep my New Years resolution to complete the Shamrock run…..

    Thank you

    Dr. Crawford

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