If you are just getting started in running, or have done a little bit of running inconsistently for a while, this article is for you. Anytime someone starts a journey into an area of life they haven't spent much time in, there are learning curves and implementation challenges. My goal with this article is to simplify things as much as possible so it makes sense. Let us begin!
Step 1: Build a base of strength and running endurance. Irrespective of your main goal, your first step in becoming a runner should be to simultaneously build a running base and strengthen the main muscles needed for running (calves, quads, hamstrings, glutes, core). You don't need to lift a ton of weights for the strength portion - body weight exercises can be just fine - but you absolutely should do work to strengthen muscles. Concurrently (within the same time frame; 3 months for example) you should build a running base. Always start low and build higher over time. Your first run might be 15-20 minutes. That's totally okay! If you stick with running and slowly build your time or distance, after 3 months, you might be running 40 or 50 minutes at a time - it's all dependent on the individual.
Step 2: Determine which specific direction you would like to go with your running (if any). There are 3 major directions to take your run training. One focuses more on speed, one focuses more on distance, and the third major category is a sort of hybrid between the two where you just want some of each and don't care to specialize in one or the other.
Step 3: Determine measures of data. That last sentence might sound complicated, but it's not. Just choose if you want to use Distance or Time as a measure of training volume for your running. Choosing one or the other keeps things simple since you are still new to running. If you choose distance, use a GPS tracking device when you run. It can be a GPS watch or a phone with a run tracking app. Whatever works! To measure your effort, simply choose between a Heart Rate Monitor (watch heart rate monitors are typically very inaccurate, so I recommend a forearm or chest heart rate monitor) or running by RPE. RPE stands for Rate of Perceived Exertion. All that means is that you are running at an effort that you feel. It is typically on a scale from 1-10. For example, if you want to go run at an easy pace where you can talk and aren't struggling to catch your breath, that might be a 5/10. 1/10 would be doing almost nothing, 3/10 might be a steady walk, 10/10 would be a max-effort sprint. It does take time to learn how different efforts feel, but once you get a hang of it, it is extremely valuable because you know your body and your effort levels very very well. Just choose baseline measures of data for your length of run (distance or time) and your effort of run (Heart Rate or Rate of Perceived Exertion).
Step 4: Do the work consistently. If you decide you want to run longer distances/times at lower efforts, build up gradually to those distances or times. If you want to be fast over shorter distances, after you have built a base, start working on speed training and eventually add in more strength training and plyometrics to improve your speed.
These 4 steps won't make you an Olympic runner, but you can absolutely become a solid runner with great endurance or speed (or both) if you follow these steps as a beginner. It WILL take time, but the journey is a huge part of what makes it all worth it!