I’m still a running beginner, and I’m sure some of you are too. I don’t think I’ll ever call myself a “runner,” even if I end up becoming someone who runs three times a week for the rest of my able-bodied life. It just doesn’t seem to fit, at least not yet.

As a beginner to running, these are some tips I either wish I had known, or have been thankful to have been made aware. To all of our seasoned runners, bear with me, and please feel free to add some tips of your own!

1. Avoid bad sneakers. I think it’s hard to realize, when first starting out, what a bad sneaker feels like. It’s silly to run out and buy new sneakers for your first-ever run, but if you start running for a few weeks and you are wondering why you have odd pains that are more than sore muscles, I’d suggest heading out to the store to pick up some fresh kicks. The difference in feel and in injury prevention is incredible! And hey, it’s the holidays, maybe ask Santa for some vibrams!

2. Start out slow. At my first attempt to run, Jon would always yell at me and say I was going too fast. Too fast, not in real terms, like a 6-minute mile or anything, but too fast for my heart and lungs that weren’t used to intense cardio. I would sprint for three blocks and when I was out of breath, I would just quit. I think a good way to start out is to alternate intervals of running with walking, until your heart and lungs catch up to your legs!

3. Don’t try to do too much, too soon. You might be really amped about getting out there and becoming a RUNNER!, but honestly, don’t try to run every day, and don’t try to run five miles on your first jog. That’s a great way to get injured, and an even better way to get disheartened. Slow and steady may not win the race, but if you train slowly and consistently, you might just turn into a big fat running nerd (I have yet to find out).

To those of you who are reading this, and have yet to make the leap to exercising consistently, just know that I understand all of the reasons why not to get out there, and I let them excuse me for way too long! Tell yourself you can do it, and push your butt out the door, because you can!