Ultimate How To Start Freerunning Guide

Through all the endless resources out on the web right now it can be hard to filter out what’s good or bad information on beginning your freerunning journey. I’ve read quite a few in my day and I thought I’d do the filtering process for you so you won’t have to. Although there are many different approaches on how to start training. I’ve complied the ‘essentials’ you’ll find throughout the majority of articles, videos, websites, etc. Here’s my ultimate guide to starting your freerunning journey!


My Story


I started back in August of 2005 after watching the documentary ‘Jump Britain’. Although the moves being thrown back then were not as impressive as the skills being thrown now, I was instantly hooked. Right away I started searching the web for more information after the conclusion of the doc and there was very little information around back then. The only websites that you could learn from were urbanfreeflow.com as well as parkour.net ( Both of which have changed drastically since launch. ). Not only that, the only tutorials we had were displayed frame by frame with little detail on what was actually happening. You couldn’t find video instruction or in-depth tutorials back then. A lot of it was just going out and actively trying to emulate the more experienced runners we found on youtube.

As you probably guess it was a pretty difficult start back then. Not only that I only had a few friends that would train with me, but we knew of no one personally that had been doing it long than we had. We never thought to go to a local gym back then and when we did we couldn’t afford to go much so we were left with the outdoors. Sand pits, grass fields, and wood chips became our crash mats. We had a few injuries but nothing serious. Only scrapes and bruises, however I was very eager to keep going despite the defeats. My friends on the other hand, well they trained less and less each week until finally I was left alone.

Without anyone to train with, guide me, or spot me on my attempts to learn flips I was able to still progress consistently. I still researched as much as I could on freerunning and watched video religiously. No matter what the circumstanced I was going to become good at this even if I did lack the privilege many others did.

I say this on to remind you that no matter you an become good at anything you set you mind to. You don’t need other runners, a local gym, or friends to keep you going. Dedication and perseverance comes from within and no one can take that spirit away from you. I’ve finally after 10 years gotten to a place where I feel happy with my skill, but I’m still training and progressing everyday with no end in sight.

With that being said… Let’s DO THIS!

 


Clothing:


Now you don’t need expensive clothing or much equipment. That’s what so great about freerunning! You can start with the clothes on your back , the shoes you already have and be just fine. There is however key elements that make your training experience a little more pleasurable.

Shirts, Pants, etc:

For the most part I’d advice you to wear fairly loose fitting clothing. With all the jump, flipping, and spinning you’ll be doing it’ll help to have clothes that do restrict your full range of motion. I tend to wear just a tee shirt and sweats on most occasions, but also things like shorts, tanks, hats, and wristbands are find as long as you feel comfortable. You can even buy freerunning apparel from the many companies and teams scattered throught the web. Companies and teams like Take Flight, Farang, Storror, and WFPF are the biggest around right now. These guys make clothing with the thought of you training in mind so it may be worth check out if you have the coin. This of course is NOT mandatory. You can still train and wear the clothes you have and rock the brands you love!

Shoes:

This is something I highly recommend when you start training. Your shoes are going to take quite a beating when you constantly freerun and it’s important to take into consideration what you wear on your feet. One of the biggest things to consider is have good grip on the sole of the shoes, but you’ll also want decent shock absorption and light weighted sneakers. You’ll want to stick to cross trainers, or sneakers that share the same aspects I discussed above. Again, you can also find shoes created by freerunner that you can by to ensure you have exactly what you need to begin training. Check out the Take Flight 1.0s, OLLOS, WFPF KOs, and Feiyues if you’re interested.

As you continue your journey in freerunning you’ll come across all types of shoes. With experience on do’s and don’t to finding a trainer you’ll be able to go out and find the shoe that works for you. Everyone is different and therefor not everybody will have the same pair of shoes to train in. However, take notes on trends and suggestions you hear about through other practitioners to find some guidance in the proper direction. Start there and with time you’ll be confidently picking out your own pair of sneaks someday.

 


Finding Instruction


 

Locals

Of course the best place to learn freerunning is through local runners in your area. What’s great about the sport and how it has grown is that you can find locals all around the globe. You would literally have to live in the middle of nowhere to not find a single practitioner in your area. For starters before going any further take a moment and google, “(Your State, Country, etc) freerunning”. That’ll bring up a plethora of resources you can start to begin the hunt to find others. Dig for websites, YouTubes, and other social media platforms to connect with people in your area. Freerunners all have a code to be nice and inviting towards one another. Therefor you’ll have no problem meeting up with them whenever the decide to train again. Just bring a willingness to learn and friendly vibes and you’ll fit right in.

Parkour/Freerunning Gyms

If you are one of the lucky few you may have a actually freerunning facility in your region. Again, take the time to google it based on your location. If you find one you are in luck for sure. Not only will you find locals, but also instructors, and a safe environment to learn specific to the sport. This is a perfect one stop shop and if you are near one I strongly urge you to attend either a class or open gym and connect with as many people as you can there.

Gymnastic Centers

Nearby gymnastic centers are a great place to begin practicing in a safe enviroment. Most gyms have a open gym of sorts and you should call and ask before attending at random. It’ll be rare to find other freerunners these locations however it’s not impossible. I’ve randomly run into other practitioners before by simply attending a open gym sesh. Also the coaches there have years of experience with both flipping and spinning so it’ll translate well picking at there brains while you can. I use to save money from taking classes by attending open gym and asking for advice on my flips. It’s a idea worth trying for sure!

Online Tutorials and Articles

Now if you can’t find a local facility, gymnastics gyms, or local freerunners near you its still possible to learn with the thousands of different online resources you can find. There are loads of free resource hubs ( such as this one ) that are geared towards teaching you in the comfort of your own home. People such as the Tapp Brothers, Jessie LaFlair, and myself come to mind when I think  of quality online instruction. However you should do your own independent research because every teacher has a different style of teaching and you should pick someone that suits yours. It also helps to get different perspective on certain movements to gain more knowledge of the technique for yourself.

 


Training Spots


“I don’t have local spots in my area!”

I don’t care where you live. You can be out in the middle of fields and I can guarantee you if you look hard enough you’ll find training spots. Those spots might not be as great as the one you see on YouTube, but you have to make due with what you have. Either that or book the next ticket and move out into a more urban area.

For those of us that actually do live in the city there are a few place to look for whenever you go searching for spots. These spots aren’t necessary going to always be the best areas to train, but from what I’ve seen they seem to be where to go when you are looking for place to great some good training in.

Downtown Areas:

If you live in a highly populated city I’m sure you have a downtown metropolis of sorts. These sites are usually perfect for training considering the structure of the buildings are compact and dense. It won’t take long for you to find some sweet training areas, but the down side of cities is the security and police. Most of these urban areas are highly populated with people and businesses and therefor the presence of authority is bound to be greater than average. If you find yourself approached by a cop please save yourself the time and just leave the area if asked. I’ve tried to argue and settle with them, but there is no use. Although not every cop is a bad one there are still quite a few in the bunch. Don’t land yourself in jail or fined over something you could avoid just by swallowing your pride and leaving.

High School and College Campuses

Schools are probably the next best place to look in search for freerunning areas. From what I’ve seen as long as class is not in session you won’t be bother too much at schools. You may even be able to get away with training during class at a local college or university. It’ll be especially easier if you appear to be the age of a student attending or if you are a alum. People will just figure you attend school and are just exercising between classes. Use this to your advantage.

Public Parks

Not as great as far as spots are concerned, but they can be found everywhere and you shouldn’t be hassled by anyone. It is however possible and I speak from personal experience. Be sure you don’t damage property and watch out for kids running around. Breaking something and jumping onto a child is a for sure way to get yourself banned from a park. Trust me, it’s not cool.