Almost everyone can start a running program. The exceptions are: persons with a family history of heart problems, obese persons, persons who have been physically inactive for five or more years (this includes ‘weekend warriors’) and anyone older than 40. It would be wise for this group to obtain a complete physical examination before venturing out on the roads.
Preparation and critical thinking are paramount in the beginning of a runner's program. One should keep a record of their morning pulse upon wakening. Remain in bed and take your pulse. As your program increases, it will become slower and within a few months it should plateau. If the rate should increase 10 or more beats higher, you have not recovered from your previous day's training, race or stress. Your body is telling you to take a day or so off until this vital sign returns to normal.