When you first start running, it's important to think of yourself as a tortoise and not a hare, slowly easing yourself into running two to three miles a day, three to five days a week for about two months at a comfortable pace. This way, you can cover a lot of ground yet still build endurance while minimizing injuries. No one wants to get hurt while trying to do something good for themselves — right?
Once you've found your pace, you'll notice that you feel stronger and in better shape. But, to avoid hitting a plateau where you stop progressing, it's a good idea to move out of your now-comfortable cruising pace and push yourself to run faster by doing tempo runs. This type of speedwork challenges you to run beyond of your normal pace for a steady period of time (rather than in short bursts like interval training). To start training with tempo runs, we suggest 10-minute tempo runs for beginners, 20 minutes for intermediate runners, and 40 minutes for advanced athletes. Pushing your pace with a tempo runs makes you run faster but at a speed that you can handle for an extended period of time.
When you do your first tempo run, find that comfortable yet hard pace that will force you to challenge yourself while listening to your body. Experiment until you find a pace you can sustain without beginning to struggle. Help figure the pace out by giving yourself a talk test — asking a question like "Pace OK?" should be possible, but a conversation shouldn't be. You should aim to do a tempo run every seven to 10 days, but as you progress, keep this simple formula and add a couple minutes to the tempo run portion of your workout.
Motivating yourself to get past your comfortable running pace is important, but it's also important to make sure you aren't hurting yourself in the process. Feeling faint, lightheaded, nauseous, or shortness of breath are just a few of the symptoms that could indicate something serious, so it's important to stop running if you experience any of these.