Okay, so you have decided that you want to start running, but you have no idea where to start.
Let me break down all the tips, tricks, and advice that helped me not only start running, but also fall in love with running.
I was never a runner growing up. I honestly hated it. I was around 13 years old when I went on a run with my dad and approximately 1/4 of a mile in I started crying and asked if we could go home.
Now.. I run marathons, I run for my mental health, and I run to survive.
Come to the realization that you CAN run and you CAN become a runner
It is so easy to wave something off because you have not ever given it a real chance. You may claim that you are not a “runner”, but have you ever really given running a chance? No, I mean like really given running a chance.
Running is a form of exercise that requires almost no money or no membership. One of the greatest things about running is that literally any able-bodied person can do it. It does not matter your background, where you come from, or your current fitness level. You will be able to experience and enjoy the many benefits of running from just your first run.
So, what the hell are you waiting for?
First things first – just MOVE
If you are not an avid runner or if you are even a little intimidated by the idea of lacing up your shoes and heading out for a run. Lets get one thing straight, nobody said you have to run a marathon tomorrow, nobody said you have to be able to run 3 miles without stopping, so whatever perception you have about what you have to do – just throw it away now.
I like many other runners started by utilizing the run-walk method. I honestly occasionally still use the run-walk method to this day. I like to think of the run-walk method as just listening to your body. Lets say you are a half a mile into your run and you feel like you are just going to fall apart.. then WALK. There is no shame in slowing down, listening to your body, and walking.
I spent the better of the first part of my running career only doing run-walks. I would just go out run some and walk some. I eventually got to the point where I wanted to press distance with the run-walk method. I would run 1/2 a mile and then walk 1/4 a mile and repeat until I got to the mileage that I wanted.
I found the most joy in hitting longer distances vs. hitting faster speeds. I chased the high that I got from chasing more pavement than chasing pavement at a faster rate. That is why the run-walk method was so beneficial for me.
Change up the scenery
I think one of the biggest motivators in running is finding new areas to run. I am guilty of finding a route that I like and sticking to just doing that run, but then I will eventually get burnt out.
It is when you get to run on new surfaces, see different things, and feel a different rush from simply changing up where you are running that can be such a big motivator.
That being said runners tend to be very passionate about the specific spots that they like running, but I would advise to branch out and find places that you enjoy. Some good options are: your local track, park trails, new roads, around lakes, the gym treadmill, a fancy neighborhood (looking at big homes is such a distraction), and the list goes on.
Do not give up
You are capable of hard things. You are stronger than your fears. You can hit your running goals. Be patient, give yourself grace, and do not give up.
When things are not going how you planned it can be really tempting to give up, we have all been there. If you are setting goals and finding them harder to hit than expected it can be really discouraging.
Remember why you started running. Why did you choose this? Who are you doing this for? What have you loved thus far from running? There is a reason that you made this choice and you got out there in the first place, so remember it.
Bad runs exist, we all have them, and they are not going anywhere. Focus on the good runs, on the runs that made you feel something incredible, and on the runs that made you believe in waking up to go for another one. One bad run does not define you or your running career.
I have constantly had to find new tricks and tools to keep myself inspired to wake up day after day and go for a run.
I have found that changing up my music/what I am listening to helps immensely. Even during my runs I will switch from music to a podcast. Or switch up from running to Taylor Swift to Lil’ Wayne. It sounds crazy, but I would not have made it through so many 15+ mile runs without doing this.
I started out by only running alone and the thought of running with anyone else sounded awful. Once I started running with a friend every so often, I found that I thought about the actual action of running less and it was such a good distraction, and it is an awesome bond builder.
It is no surprise that having good running gear can help one stay inspired to keep running. I highly recommend going to your local running store and having them evaluate your feet to help you pick out some good shoes that will only help you be successful. Stock up on good socks, comfy running clothes, and anything else that will help you stay inspired.
Lastly, remember that you have the ability to be a runner. The key to being a runner is lacing up your shoes and showing up for your run.