A run coach says these are the four basic principles everyone should follow if they’re new to running

A woman running outdoors and holding a water bottle
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Have you recently taken up running? You're not alone. From new run clubs popping up on every corner to the huge 'Runtok' community on social media, you don’t have to look far to find someone with a newfound love for running. And with a record number of people signing up for the London Marathon 2025 ballot, it's clear that running is having a moment.

However, with the surge in popularity comes a flood of advice, which can be overwhelming for beginners. To help navigate this sea of information, Fit&Well spoke with Lillie Bleasdale, founder and head coach at PASSA, to find out what new runners should focus on first.

1. Start slow and steady

Slow and steady wins the race; it’s a cliché for a reason. And it’s no different when it comes to running, says Bleasdale. "It’s easy to jump from zero to 100 but the repercussions of doing so will soon become apparent. Make sure to build things up steadily and allow plenty of time for the body to recover along the way."

To help you avoid injury, Bleasdale recommends not increasing your weekly distance by more than 10% each week. And while speed work is useful in the long term, as a beginner you should prioritize increasing distance at an easy pace first. "You don’t want to overwhelm the body with too much change at once," she explains.

2. Invest in the essentials

Running is a wonderfully affordable activity to get involved in. You don’t need lots of fancy gear or equipment to get going. But to avoid any niggles, injuries or discomfort it IS important to buy a few essentials, Bleasdale says.

"Making sure you have a decent pair of trainers that suit your gait and running style is really important. Invest the time in heading to your local running shop to get them to check things out."

And for females, she says, it’s important to make sure you have a supportive and well-fitting sports bra.

Maintain a regular routine

It’s easy to dive headfirst into a new hobby, especially one you enjoy, but Bleasdale warns against overdoing it.

"There's no point running five times per week if you can't also maintain good rest and recovery, ensure life stress doesn't get in the way, and also make sure you're bulletproofing your body with strength training."

Don’t overcomplicate things, she says, nail the basics and the rest will follow. If you're completely new to running, start slow with a Couch to 5K plan.

4. Don’t skip strength training

Strength training is vitally important for runners, and not prioritizing it is one of the biggest mistakes Bleasdale sees.

"Running puts a huge strain on our muscles and joints, and the force from the ground we pound pushes back up through our body. It's key that we build strong joints and muscles to help support this and ensure we don't get injured along the way," she explains.

"Make sure you're strength training from day one. 50% of runners experience an injury every year, don't let that be you!"

Why not try these physio-approved strength exercises for runners for your next workout?

Lois Mackenzie
Fitness Writer

Lois Mackenzie is a Fitness Writer for Fit&Well and its sister site Coach, covering strength training workouts with weights, accessible ways to stay active at home, and training routines for runners. She joined the team from Newsquest Media Group, where she was a senior sports, trends, and lifestyle reporter. She is a dedicated runner, having just completed her first marathon, and an advocate for spending time outdoors, whether on a walk, taking a long run, or swimming in the sea. 

Lois holds a Master's degree in Digital Journalism, and has written for Good Health, Wellbeing & The Great Outdoors, Metro.co.uk, and Newsquest Media Group, where her reporting was published in over 200 local newspapers.