In my previous post A Run with a View I talked about how at one point, I had all the “tools” I thought I needed to become a runner. These tools included: living near beautiful trails, running clothes, shoes, motivation, and even TIME (this was before I had kids!) But even though I wanted to become a runner, I didn’t love running. It wasn’t until I moved away from the trails and had way less time, that I actually became a runner.
Here are some tips I think helped me to become a runner and develop a love for running.
1) Start off slow. When I first started running, it was running and walking. The first day, during my two-mile walk, I ran a block. The second day; two blocks. Then a quarter-mile, half mile, etc. Now they have great apps like “Couch to 5K.” Starting off slow is key. Don’t go out and assume that you can run a mile. Maybe you can. But if you start off slow, you are much more likely to stick with it and add a little more every day. Doing this also makes you feel like you are achieving something with every new distance!
3) Have a goal. I wanted to run a half marathon. I knew in order to train I needed to build up to comfortably running 3 miles. Like I said, it started with one block and months later I built up to 3 miles. Many months later I ran my first half marathon. Everyone’s distance goal will be different. Mine was 3 miles and then a half marathon. I actually felt much more of an achievement for completing my training, than I did from running the race.
4) Make it work with your schedule. I had to plan out when I could run. I had a baby. I live where it’s very hot during the day. I would either go early with my jogging stroller or go early enough that I could run before my husband went to work. I know everyone’s situation is different, but the beauty of running is you can get a great calorie burning workout in, in 30 minutes or so. Find a time in your day to make it work.
5) Make a plan. If I knew I was getting up to run at 6am, I would set all my clothes out the night before. Shoes, sports bra, shorts, shirt, socks, ear buds, pepper spray, anything I needed. The same can be said if you are going to the gym. Don’t wait until it’s time to go to get your stuff ready. Have it ready so you have one less excuse and it’s easy.
6) JUST DO IT! I am actually more of an Adidas fan but what an awesome slogan. At 6am my alarm would go off. I may have gotten up with my baby three times in the middle of the night but when my alarm went off, I got up and got ready to go. I would say to myself “JUST DO IT” as I imagined hitting snooze, “JUST DO IT” as I got out of bed and realized how easy it would be to skip a day, and “JUST DO IT” as any number of excuses came to mind. Getting out of bed and getting dressed is literally the hardest part of going running.
7) Make it a habit. I know there are a certain number of days that people say it takes to form a habit. I don’t know what the number is. All I know is, if you do something long enough, it does become a habit. Training for my first half marathon was hard. I didn’t realize how much time it would take and how long I would be out running many mornings. When I ran my first half marathon (Rock N’ Roll Seattle 2009) I was sure I would never run one again. I hit the finish line and I was done. It was hard. It hurt. And I didn’t want to go through that training again. But I had trained for 12 weeks and when it was over, I missed the training. Now I have run six half marathons. In about 3 weeks I will start training for my first full marathon run. Running is a habit. I love it. It is part of who I am now.
8. Find your “why.” Why do you want to run? Most people want to burn calories. And for me it did start with that. But there is so much more to it. As a mom of two small children, I am “needed” 24/7. When I walk out the door, I am off the clock. I love running for having time just for me.
Now your turn. What are some great tips for people who want to get started running?