We’ve all started at the beginning. Every single one of us runners, from the most seasoned marathoners, to the 100 mile racers, to the accomplished 10kmers. We all had to take that first step. We all struggled. So for everyone out there at the beginning of their running journey, this is for you!
1. Remember: It takes at least 30 days to make a new habit! If you are just starting, set a schedule and don’t give yourself a choice! Stick to it no matter what. Don’t let yourself make excuses. Keep it comfortable and enjoyable so that you want to stick with it. Push yourself but not too hard so that you can at least walk the day after a run.
2. Don’t focus on speed or miles, it is time on your feet that matters. Just get out there and move. Maybe don’t bring a watch or a GPS for your first runs so you don’t focus on the numbers. Just focus on how your body feels.
3. Listen to your body: Walk breaks are totally acceptable and part of the process!! Start with run/walk intervals. Start with 1-2 minutes of running with 1-2 minutes of walking and work up from there. If you need to walk, do it, and don’t be hard on yourself for doing so. Just keep those feet moving! I found that looking at landmarks really helpful. For example tell yourself you are going to run until the telephone pole ahead and then you will take a walk break. And then tell yourself at that red mailbox I will start running again. This keeps your focused and motivated to make it to each landmark.
4. Make a playlist: Running is the best time to listen to music! Pick some songs that really motivates you or inspires you or that amps you up! I found that when I first started running I picked a song that was 8 minutes long (Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin) and I started every run to it. It was my goal to make it through the whole song before taking a walk break.
5. Find some friends to run with who are at your level. This will hold you accountable and to make the miles more fun. Start planning your weekends around runs. Pick new routes that you’ve never done, and plan to have coffee or brunch after!
6. Ask others for advice: Try everything and anything to find what really works best for you. Get the right shoes, the right gear. Try different training plans, different trails, different routes. Switch it up and keep it interesting. Link up with a running store like The Running Room that does specific race and distance training. Link up with a local group in your area that runs weekly! (Facebook is a great resource for this!)
7. Register for a race: Having a race in mind is an awesome goal and a great way to stay motivated and dedicated to running. Pick a local 5km or a 10km for a good cause. Get some friends to sign up to. If you have something to work towards and an event you are excited about, you will be less likely to jump off the running bandwagon, especially if your friends are going! (Hello FOMO!)
Running is a relationship so take it slow and don’t be hard on yourself. First learn to become friends first and then I promise you’ll fall in love!