The Expert Advice Every Beginner Runner Needs to Hear

The old Chinese proverb got it right: "The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." Rarely is this truer than when you're first learning to run. The journey might be long and it might be challenging at times. It won't be an instant makeover, or a 10-minute miracle.

But stick with it, and soon you won't have to call yourself a "beginning runner" anymore. You'll be a full-fledged runner, having fun, getting fit, able to achieve whatever goals you choose next.

More: How to Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals

To succeed, you must follow a sensible training plan. Here, you'll find such a plan, plus information to help you get—and stay—motivated.

The rest, however, is up to you. What you need most is a strong mind, and the will to put your body in motion. Yes, it's your legs that will carry you, but only after your brain tells them to do it.

Only you can hitch your mind to a beginning-running plan and resolve to get going, and not to stop until you reach your goal. Start today. You'll never find a better time.

The Easiest Learn-to-Run Plan, Ever

Why Should You Run?

You may start running to slim down, but then you'll find it makes you fitter, healthier, happier, and smarter—really!

Keep Losing

You know that running burns calories, but the effect continues even after you stop. Studies have shown that regular exercise boosts "afterburn" (the number of calories you burn post-exercise). You don't have to be sprinting, either—the afterburn gets triggered when you run just slightly faster than your easy pace.

More: The Science Behind Your Post-Run High

Live Longer

Even if you just meet the minimum amount of physical activity—30 minutes of exercise per day, five days a week—you'll add years to your life. Studies show that when different types of people started exercising, they lived longer. Regular activity even helped smokers and people suffering from conditions like heart disease.

6 Best Exercises For New Runners

Avoid Cancer

Maybe exercise doesn't cure cancer, but there's plenty of evidence that it helps prevent it. A review of 170 studies in the Journal of Nutrition showed that regular exercise is associated with a lower risk of certain cancers, including colon cancer (risk reduced by 40 to 70 percent), breast cancer (30 to 40 percent), and lung cancer (30 to 40 percent).

More: 13.1 Reasons to Run a Half Marathon

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