I meet a lot of people who tell me they want to start running. Oddly enough running has become kind of “trendy” and I think a lot of people want to be a part of the running community. Running is an amazing thing and is beneficial for not only your health, but your mental and spiritual well being!
However, running may be one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Running is a lot of work. It takes dedication, patience, pushing through pain, mental toughness, discipline, self-motivation, and a whole lot of working out. Often times I see people get really into running and then bail after a couple of weeks.
I have been a part of running for over 10 years. I began running in junior high, competed all throughout high school, went on to run for 5 years at UVU, and spent 2 years post-collegiately training and competing. Currently I’m coaching at my old high school. I only say this so you know that as I give you this advice, I promise I’m not leading you astray. Running is hard, but here’s a few ways to truly, truly become a runner.
Decide you are going to do it!
If you’re reading this you might have already decided you want to run. ANYONE can be a runner. Literally anyone. Don’t let the fear of your weight, athletic ability, past experiences, or anything else stand in the way. When I say anyone can be a runner, I mean it. If you have the desire, no matter your ability or disability, there is a way to be involved in this sport. Even just a few weeks ago at our region championships an awesome boy from Orem High pushed his teammate that had cerebral palsy in a wheelchair for the entire race. Talk about inspiring! So no matter where you are, the running community truly is for everyone.
Get the Right Gear
One of the greatest things about running is you really only need an outfit [I’m talking as simple as a t-shirt and basketball shorts…] to workout in and a pair of shoes.
I’ll do a post later on running shoes, but you don’t need to spend $150 on shoes… I don’t. Because of the way they fit, my personal favorite brands are New Balance, Saucony, and Asics. However I have a lot of other running friends that run in Nike, Altra’s, and Adidas. Steer clear of the Walmart, Target, or Shopko specials. You will want a decent brand but look for sales. You can generally find a pair under $70 that depending on how many miles you are running can last 4-6 months.
Ok, now this is the #1 place that I see people make mistakes. They bought their totes adorbs new shoes, they made a goal, they pinned 1,000,000 pictures on pinterest, and they are “now a runner”. Then after about 4 days, they give up.
YOU HAVE TO START SLOWLY. AND IT’S GOING TO HURT!!!!!
I have done my fair share of getting back into shape. Currently, due to some health challenges, I took 6 months off of basically any exercise. I just started getting back into shape and guess what?! IT STINKS!! It’s hard. I’m tired. I feel out of shape. I sometimes want to quit. BUT. I know that once I get past these first few weeks and even months, it will get better.
Don’t try to do everything in one week or one workout. Be realistic with yourself. If you’ve never ran before, you’ll want to start by run/walking. You may even want to start with working out for just 15-20 minutes and running as much of that time as you can. If you want a 3 month training plan, see this post here. Technically the plans have dates from January to March but you can apply it to any month. Check back soon for more advanced training plans and half marathon plans.
This one is really hard. True health and fitness comes over a long period of time. You are not going to be able to magically run a 17:00 5k in 3 weeks. But, over months [and years] of training consistently, you will be able to do YOUR best and will see improvement. Don’t give up if you’re sore after a week, two weeks, or two months. Don’t give up if you aren’t enjoying it as much as you thought you would. Don’t give up if it’s hard. Don’t give up if you ache, hurt, and feel like just napping instead of running. These are totally normal feelings. Push through them, keep trying, and I PROMISE, eventually, this running thing will start to bring you a lot of joy [and health!!].
Don’t Compare Yourself
Another one of the catastrophic mistakes I see, particularly amongst women, is comparison. Look, true health and fitness cannot be achieved in a weekend or even a month. It takes months and even years to achieve. The great part about running is that the only comparison that matters is your own! See if you are running better, more often, or feeling better. Compare your overall lifestyle to the past, to your past times, your past athletic ability. That’s the comparison that matters. There will always be someone more fit, faster, or more toned. There will always be someone slower, fatter, etc., you might just not see them out there. Really neither of those things matter, what matter’s if you’re doing your best and improving.
Last of all, have fun! Training and running can be challenging both mentally and physically. But it can also be a blast! Find a friend to train with or a run that you love! Enjoy what you do and enjoy the journey! If you have any questions feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org