Running, more than a fashion

Tips on how to start running

Health Sport

The benefits of running go much further than being in good physical shape. As it is an individual sport, it makes you a stronger person and improves your self-confidence. However, knowing how to start running is just as important as having the will to do it. Here are the top tips to get you started in this sport.

Woman running
Running is a globally widespread exercise with significant benefits for our physical and mental well-being.

Running is one of the most popular sports worldwide. It is easy to do, relatively inexpensive and can be easily adapted to one's own pace and level. Although the idea of putting on your trainers and setting out to run kilometres has become increasingly popular in recent years – physical activity itself is nothing new.

Since the earliest days of mankind, humans have had to run to survive. It was an essential skill for hunting animals or escaping from predators, and those who were fast and hardy were more likely to survive. This led to the evolution of legs and feet to better run long distances. 

Running developed different purposes over time. For instance, in ancient Greece competitions were held as part of the Olympic Games; during the Middle Ages, running races were used to settle disputes between rivals or as entertainment for royal families; and in the 1960s, the idea of jogging, as a non-competitive sporting activity, became known in New Zealand.

Women in Athletics

Records of women in running began to be written in 1967. That year, American Katherine Switzer finished the 42-kilometre Boston Marathon, disproving the belief that women were not capable of running more than 2 kilometres. Switzer had to register with her initials, without giving her full name, as only men were allowed to participate. 

More than half a century later, parity seems to have arrived in the sport of running. According to the most recent studies on the state of running around the world, there are more female than male runners. 

Benefits of running

Running is one of the most popular activities for combating the sedentary behaviour of our modern lifestyle, in which most of our activities are done sitting down. Here are some of the benefits associated with this sport:

Improves the cardiorespiratory system

Running increases blood volume and the heart pumps with less effort. It also allows the lungs to oxygenate more easily.

Strengthens bones and muscles

With continued practice, the bones become stronger and are even able to accumulate more calcium. On a muscular level, the lower body becomes stronger.

Prevents cardiovascular diseases or risks

Obesity, hypertension, diabetes or high cholesterol levels can be controlled by running. It also strengthens the immune system.

Contributes to weight loss

Running is a sport that burns a lot of calories per unit of time, although it must be accompanied by a good diet in order to lose weight.

Reduces stress, combats anxiety and depression

Running increases levels of noradrenaline, a substance involved in the body's response to stress, and serotonin, which helps to improve depressive symptoms and reduce anxiety. In addition, running facilitates rest thanks to the secretion of endorphins.

First steps to start running

Running is a simple, inexpensive physical activity, easy to adapt to each person's physical condition. However, there are some tips to take into account in order to prevent injuries and to get the most out of it. Take note!

How to run properly?

  • Keep your head up and gaze straight ahead.
  • Keep your shoulders relaxed.
  • Keep your wrists straight and hands open, but relaxed.
  • Keep your knees slightly bent.
  • Abdomen and hips straight and forward.
  • Maintain your body upright and slightly inclined forward.
  • Regular and periodic breathing.
  • Keep your arms at a 90° angle to the body, with a backward-forward swing.
  • On impact with the ground, land with the midfoot and then roll forward.

What else do I need to consider?

  • Warm up well before training and stretch at the end of training.
  • Wear comfortable, light and breathable clothing.
  • Wear appropriate footwear.
  • Hydration before, during and after.
  • Don't forget sunscreen, sunglasses and a cap.
  • Maintain a healthy and balanced diet.
  • Respect rest days.
  • Find your running rhythm.

 SEE INFOGRAPHIC: First steps to start running [PDF]

Keys to become a good runner

If you want to start running or incorporate running into your weekly routine, there are a few key principles to make a success of it.


Consistency helps to overcome one's own limits and can be trained; we can learn to follow a set of goals and routines to improve one's fitness and performance. 

However, one of the most common mistakes among new runners is that they try to rush progress quickly. Increasing distance or speed without control or consistency can lead to muscle overload or various post-training injuries.

That is why many professional athletes emphasise patience and discipline as the keys to success. This is exemplified by Usain Bolt, the former Jamaican athlete considered the best sprinter in history: "I trained for four years to run nine seconds and people give up when they don't see results in two months. Without the effort and every training session, improvement is not feasible.

Running does not take up much time: just running at a comfortable pace ("conversation pace" in runner-speak) for 45 minutes between two and four days a week is enough. But in order to improve, you can think about something a bit more full-on

There are training plans on the internet but be very careful about them because they are not customised to your physical condition or level of fitness. The most recommended option is to sign up (for about EUR 25 or 35 a month) to a running club with supervised training.


Work, family, travel, cold, rain... It is not always easy to train. That's why it is important to be motivated. Make the most of training as an escape route for stress or sign up for a run to get back into it.

Sometimes, if we share our sport with more people, it is much less difficult to go out and train. Allyson Felix, American athlete and the most decorated female athlete of all time, points out her strategy to keep her spirits up: "What motivates me the most is running with a group of friends. Sometimes it's hard to get going on your own, but if you have a plan and a meeting time, you know that the race will happen for sure.”

In addition, in order not to lose motivation, it is key to set achievable goals and strive to reach them. 


If you notice any bother, slow down your training pace a little for a few days if necessary and see a doctor if it continues. Remember that rest is part of your training and is essential for your body to be able to take on the work without overloading or injuring it.

Running is a chance to find yourself. Leave your headphones at home once in a while and concentrate on your breathing, on what you are feeling: it is almost a moment of meditation. You will gradually come to know yourself better, you will measure your strength and you will reach the finishing line with reserve energy for the final sprint. You will be a more all-round runner.

From the couch to the tarmac

If you are not a very active person and you have decided to make the leap from the sofa to running, start by getting your body used to walking. Do it several times a week. How about changing part of your journey to work by car or bus to a good walk? Gradually increase the distance and the pace.

When you get used to long walks at a good pace, put on some sports shoes and try to alternate eight minutes walking and two running slowly for half an hour, three or four times a week. Week by week, increase the running by two minutes and reduce the walking by two minutes. You'll soon be able to run your first 5 km fun run or beat your personal speed and distance challenges. Go for it!

Promoting gender equality in athletics

One of our core values at Iberdrola is to serve as an inclusive force, with a key objective: to foster diversity and combat social inequalities. In 2016, we initiated for the first time our support for women's sport as a way to improve women’s recognition and promote their empowerment and autonomy.

In line with this commitment to equality, we promote women's athletics and support organisations and competitions for its promotion. In this regard, in Spain —where Iberdrola is the pioneer in supporting women in sport— we work together with the Royal Spanish Athletics Federation (RFEA using its Spanish abbreviation) and sponsor Iberdrola Athletics League.