6 Ways to Help a New Runner

Get Her Walking

If your newbie is sedentary, encourage her to start with three weeks of walking, four times a week, for 30 minutes. "That will get her in the habit of finding time to exercise and prepare her body for running," says Christine Hinton, an RRCA-certified coach in Crofton, Maryland.

More: Mix Running and Walking at First

And Then Run a Bit

"Start with as little as two minutes of running and four minutes of walking," says Hinton. "And repeat that five times." Keeping 30 minutes as the workout duration, incrementally increase the running time and decrease the walking time.

More: Newbie Runners Guide to Get on the Road

Try for Four

Recommend walk/run sessions four days a week. "Let the running come slowly," says Hinton. "That keeps injuries and frustration at bay."

Go Real Slow

If you run with a beginner, don't plan on it being a workout for you, says Hinton. Instead, do your run first, and then head out with her at her pace.

More: The Power of Pace and Heart Rate Training

Listen to Reasons

Why does your friend want to start running? "If it's for fun or fitness, just getting out there is great," says Stephen Walker, Ph.D., a sports psychologist in Boulder, Colorado. "If it's for a time goal, remind her that she needs to work hard in training."

More: 4 Reasons to Sign Up for a Road Race

Remember to Cheer

"Every athlete wants to quit at some point," says Walker. "The key is to limit the negative self-talk." Help her set doable goals—and applaud her when she reaches them.

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