3 Essential Tips to Help You Prepare for Your First Run

Woman running in the city

Are you highly motivated to head out for your first run ever? Running expert Sascha Wingenfeld has some useful tips for getting started as a runner. For your very first run it’s vital to start off with a realistic duration goal and a reasonable intensity. If your expectations are set too high, you’ll have a really hard time motivating yourself for further running workouts in the future. “You can always up your pace or increase the duration later on,” Sascha explains.

Woman running on the street

Here are the 3 best tips for a successful start:

Tip #1: How long & how fast should my first run be? Can I take breaks?

“An ideal, and not too overwhelming, duration for a first run is about 30 minutes in total,” explains Sascha. “This also includes the time necessary for a proper warm up.” This ensures your muscles are ready for the run session. “Make sure you run slowly – too slow rather than too fast,” ensures the expert. When you first start running, it’s hard to realistically assess your running speed. We usually tend to start off too fast. After a few runs your body will get a feeling for the right pace and speed. Be sure to track your runs with the Runtastic app so you can get an idea of what your speed is and if you should go slower or can go faster next time.

Doing intervals for your first runs has proven pretty successful. “You can alternate between running and walking periods. This helps you control the overall strain on your body and prevents you from overdoing it,” says Sascha.

Training examples for your first run/runs:

  1. 30 min total: alternate 5 min running + 3 min walking
  2. 30 min total: alternate 5 min running + 2 min walking
  3. 30 min total: alternate 5 min running + 1 min walking
  4. 30 min total: alternate 8 min running + 3 min walking
  5. 30 min total: alternate 8 min running + 2 min walking
  6. 30 min total: alternate 8 min running + 1 min walking
  7. 30 min total: alternate 10 min running + 5 min walking
  8. 35 min total: alternate 15 min running + 2-3 min walking
  9. 1 x 30 min running without breaks
  10. …continue running & have fun!

Man running outdoors

Tip #2: How do I choose the best running shoes?

“The most vital piece of running equipment are your running shoes. They constitute the base for your running performance throughout the next months,” underlines the expert. “Your first running shoes must fit your feet perfectly.” Choose them half a size bigger than usual to prevent your big toe from pressing against the front seam of the shoe when rolling over. This will help you to avoid blue toe nails. “When it comes to buying the right shoe, your body type is a determining factor,” explains Sascha. “Make sure the shoe model fits your body type.” There are three types:

Type I:

If your feet are rather unstable, meaning they turn in (pronation) or outwards (supination) when rolling over, you need a shoe to stabilize your feet in the respective direction.

Type II:

When you have a few extra pounds you want to lose with running, make sure your shoes have a broad sole for added support.

Type III:

You know your feet are stable when rolling over and your weight is in a normal range? Then you can choose a light, neutral and rather narrow shoe.

Rule of thumb:

A simple, light shoe ideally trains your foot muscles while promoting a dynamic running technique. However, this is only true if you’ve a certain base condition, fitness-wise.

Running shoes to optimize your training

Get the gear you need to reach your fitness goals.

Tip #3: How do I choose the right running clothes?

For fitness activities it’s always advisable to wear so-called functional clothes. They help transport humidity from the body towards the outside of the shirt or jacket to keep your body warm and dry. Especially during the winter months, this allows us to work out without going hypothermic. “In general, I’d say you should wear clothes that seem a little too cool. After working out for a while you’ll reach the right temperature, but your body will still get enough air to cool down – without cooling too much,” Sascha explains.

Want more tips? Check out these useful expert running tips for beginners.

Now that you have a bit more information, we hope you are feeling more confident and excited about your first run! It doesn’t matter how far or how fast you go, just enjoy yourself!



Sascha Wingenfeld Sascha, health trainer & active triathlete, has been coaching runners from beginners to professionals for over 10 years. "I love my job and I love running." View all posts by Sascha Wingenfeld