Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.
NCAA runner turned high school coach Hillary Kigar has an answer for all things training–including tips for runners new to the sport.
Running feels so hard whenever I try to do it for a couple miles. Is this normal when you first start out? Is it supposed to be painful?
If you are very new to running be sure to pace yourself and relax. Oftentimes new runners are so excited that the first few minutes of their run are almost a sprint, leaving them out of breath and tired after barely half a mile. If you aren’t quite ready to run a couple of miles without stopping, break up the distance into time intervals—3-minute jog, 1-minute walk, repeat. Each day try to increase the number of minutes spent running until you have progressed to a couple miles. Once this begins to feel more comfortable, then you can focus on increasing your pace. While running, focus on feeling like you are in control, yet slightly uncomfortable. Be gentle with yourself; this is a transition process and it takes your body some time to get used to running regularly. Continue to stretch frequently and incorporate a few warm-up drills into your normal routine to help you feel less stiff in the beginning. Stay positive—it will get easier!