What should I do about hills?
Focus on maintaining an even effort when ascending and descending. If you're gasping for air, slow down or take a walk break.
Can I take walk breaks?
Walk breaks are a good idea for many new runners. They stave off muscle fatigue and delay depletion of glycogen stores, which allows you to go longer. However, you don't have to take walk breaks during every run.
How do I know how far I ran?
Don't worry about miles covered when you're just starting out. The first step is to focus on building overall fitness and making exercise a habit. Plus, the health benefits result from the time you consistently spend elevating your heart rate.
Should I run every day?
Not right away. It's important to give your body time to recover so it can adapt to the training. Aim to work out three to five days a week.
How can I beat mid-run fatigue?
When the effort feels tough, it's common for all runners to tense up. It helps to unknot your brow, unclench your jaw, and keep your hands relaxed. If you're still struggling, back off the pace. (And here's how to avoid other common mid-run mishaps.)
What happens if I miss a run?
Pick up where you left off. If you've missed several, you likely haven't lost as much fitness as you think. Don't let this setback derail you—get back on track with a run.
This article was adapted from The Runner's World Big Book of Running for Beginners, by Jennifer Van Allen, Bart Yasso, and Amby Burfoot (Rodale). For more tips, find our online training program for beginners at runnersworld.com/thestartingline.
About the Experts
Jennifer Van Allen, a USATF-and RRCA-certified running coach, is Runner's World's special projects editor who manages The Starting Line, our online training program developed exclusively for beginners. Bart Yasso, chief running officer at Runner's World, has completed more than 1,000 races on all seven continents and has coached runners of all ages and abilities. Runner's World Editor at Large Amby Burfoot, winner of the 1968 Boston Marathon, has run more than 105,000 lifetime miles and has been writing about running since the mid-1970s.marathon stronger and faster.