Five Steps to Start Running

Most of you have made the commitment to getting and staying fit. Now it’s time to take that leap in the right direction, but where’s the best place to start? Jared Beckstrand a Physical Therapist and avid runner breaks down the five steps to help you hit the ground running.

Happy New Year! I’ve always loved New Year’s time; to me it always represents a season of new goals, fresh starts, and new undertakings that were previously just wishful thinking. Somehow among the most common of New Year’s resolutions is always the resolve to “lose weight” or “get in shape”; “start running” or “get healthy”. Unfortunately, somehow the cupcakes usually win over the salad and the couch triumphs over the running shoes. Why is that? In matters of fitness goals, I think a lot of times we can attribute lack of knowledge to the culprit behind unrealized dreams come February. As a physical therapist I frequently hear my patients say things like “I would love to start a more regular exercise program but I don’t know how” or “I have always wanted to start running but am unsure of how to do it”. Don’t let these thoughts get in the way of accomplishing your goals this year! Below are 5 sure-fire tips to get you running and keep you running; achieving your goals from start to finish.

1. Buy the right pair of shoes

– Have you been in to a running or athletic store lately and been overwhelmed by the sheer volume of shoe selection? Where do you start? Which ones are right for you? It’s important to know that not all running shoes are created equally. They are built differently to offer either support or freedom when needed. Many running stores (I frequently refer to New Balance and The Salt Lake Running Company) are very knowledgeable about what type of shoe is best for you and can assist you in proper fitting and finding the right shoe for your running type.

2. Find a running partner

– You will be more successful if you run with someone rather than running alone. Runs will be more entertaining and a partner will heighten your commitment. The snooze button is a much greater force when you don’t have someone expecting you to show up! Find a partner to run with and find successful running!

3. Sign up for a race

– According to there are already 78 races listed over the next couple of months… and the running season hasn’t even officially started yet! Signing up for a race is another great way to heighten your commitment and increase your dedication. All of the sudden there’s a little pressure! Signing up for a race is the quickest way to go from lackadaisical “if-I-get-around-to-it” running to setting apart time and dedication to a serious training schedule. This is a great way to get into a schedule with a goal in sight.

4. Start a running program

– The most common problem I see among new runners is inexperience in proper run progression. Many people attempt to progress to quickly; they run too far too fast and end up getting hurt. The quickest way to sideline your running goal is with an injury, be it overuse, improper technique, etc. My company, Mountain Land Physical Therapy, has come up with a program to guide you in your running progression and ultimately fulfill your goals. In our “Start to Finish” program we take you from no running at all to successfully completing a 5K race in 9 weeks. For a downloadable copy of this program please visit our site at

5. Strength Train

– A vital yet often overlooked part to any running program is strength training. Running is hard! Running requires a lot of strength! Most people who come in to my clinic with a running injury have one thing in common… leg weakness (particularly in the hips). Lack of strength and stability due to muscle weakness results in improper running mechanics and altered stresses on joints. Over time these stresses can lead to irritation, inflammation, pain, and eventually injury. So what’s the solution? If an injury is the quickest way to sideline your running goal then strength training is the quickest way to avoid injury. Unique to the “Start to Finish” program is a detailed strengthening progression during your running experience. Click here for a downloadable copy of pictures/descriptions and progressions of these exercises.

Start to Finish 5K Stretches & Exercises





Starting a new running program does not have to be intimidating. If done correctly it can be both very safe and very effective. Following these tips can enhance your effectiveness and help you to achieve your goals this year!

For more details regarding Mountain Land Physical Therapy’s Running Rehab please visit our website at

Keep going,

Jared Beckstrand, PT, DPT
Mountain Land Physical Therapy
Director, Downtown Outpatient Clinic
508 East South Temple, Salt Lake City, UT 84102
Phone: (801) 521-9222 Fax: (801)521-9333

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