The Rundown on Becoming a Runner!

Maybe your exercise routine needs invigorating or your body is ready for a little more intensity. Whatever the case, if you’re ready to make the change from walker to jogger, we’ve got recommendations to help you make the leap successfully and safely. Here are our top 10 tips to jump from a walker to being a runner:

  • Check with your primary care physician. As with any fitness program, it is important to get clearance before starting, especially if you are older than 40 or have a history of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, or osteoarthritis.
  • Buy the right equipment. Your shoes are the most important piece of equipment for jogging. Wearing the wrong shoe can cause injuries not only in the foot but in the knees, hips, and shoulders. To find the best jogging shoe for you, visit a specialty fitness store that offers gait analyzation to find the right shoe for you. In addition, women will want to invest in a high-quality sports bra. When jogging, you impact the ground with three times your body weight. More impact means you will need more support.
  • Start slowly. One of the easiest ways to start is to add short bursts of running into your walking routine. This popular walk-jog style actually has a name: Wogging! This method reduces your injury risk while slowly helping your body adapt to running. Your cardiovascular and respiratory systems, muscles, joints, connective tissue, and diaphragm all need to adapt to the demands of running. A good starting place is to warm-up with a walk for 5-10 minutes and then alternate 30 seconds of running with 3-4 minutes of walking. As you get more comfortable, you can increase your running segments and decrease your walking segments.
  • Develop a plan. Just as you plan your weekly grocery trip, take time at the beginning of the week to plan your runs. What time you will head out, where you will run, etc. 
  • Keep a journal. Tracking your workouts and progress can help keep you motivated. Maybe you can run 2 miles now or you are running four days a week instead of one. Take the time to celebrate your growth.
  • Join the club. Many communities have running clubs. This is an easy way to meet like-minded people and stay committed to your running routine. Visit the Road Runners Club of America at or visit a local running store to find groups in your area.
  • Alternate walking and running. When you first start training, it is important to start slowly. An effective training technique is to alternate running for one to two minutes with walking for two to three minutes. As your endurance level increases, you can start to increase your running time and decrease your walking time.
  • Pace yourself. It is important to start off slowly so that you have the energy to finish every run, especially the long ones. At the end of the run, you should feel tired but still be able to finish.
  • Cross train. Swimming, biking, using an elliptical machine, or taking group fitness classes are low-impact ways to increase your endurance and stamina. Running too many days in a row can lead to injury. Give your body the time it needs to adapt to increased exercise and the intensity of running.
  • Stay hydrated. It is important to stay hydrated before, during, and after a workout. Try to drink at least 4 to 6 oz of water for every 15 to 20 minutes of running. There are several belts and bottles you can purchase to easily wear your water while you run.

Find more fitness advice and exercise tips on the Signature Patient Website today!