Do you want to start running?

Well, the good news is YOU CAN!  How do I know this?  Because for years I sat back wondering if I could, but really thinking I couldn’t.  Until one day I DID!

I also know how scary it is signing up for your first 5K.  When I first started running, I really had no intention of running…only walking really to lose a few pounds.  But it seemed the more I exercised and the more we walked, the better I felt and the more I wanted to do it.

You can read the full story of me running my first 5K here.

With running it doesn’t matter how slow or fast, or how far you run, you’re still a runner.  It’s something empowering about running.  I feel stronger after every run (even if it’s a bad run, it’s still good run) even if it’s a couple of miles along my dirt road, I always feel like I’ve accomplished a huge feat.  There is no competition with anyone else other than myself.

Even if it’s a bad run, it’s still a good run.

These are 10 tips to help you start running:

Walk first.  Don’t try to step out the front door and hit the pavement in a full force run.  It will only take a few minutes for you to lose your breath, your legs will begin to ache, you’ll stop and walk while saying to yourself, ‘what in the world am I doing, I can’t do this’.  Don’t set yourself up for failure so quickly.  Years ago, that’s what I thought I could do–hit the road and run several miles on my first day!  Boy!  Was I wrong.  I felt like a total failure, walked back home and didn’t try again.

Months before I began running, I started walking…and not necessarily very far.  If all I could do was a mile or less then that’s what I did.  But I did try to walk some everyday.  If all you can do right now is walk from light pole to light pole, then do it.  If all you can do is walk the length of your driveway, then do it.  Start slowly and each week or as you can, walk a little further and a little further until you’re walking the distance you want to reach.

You must have a plan. I found that if I didn’t plan to walk everyday then it was easier for me to talk myself out of going.  Face it, as you start out it’s not going to be fun, but consider why you’re doing this and let that be your motivation.

Surround yourself with pictures or anything that motivates you to encourage you.  When you’re not in the mood (which will probably happen a lot at first), then look back on your motivators and simply suck it up and do it.  There are times when we can’t rely on our emotions in making our decisions or they’ll win out every time.  So mark your calendar, put stickie notes on your fridge or computer and plan on walking today!

Couch to 5K (and other applications). There are dozens of smart phone apps that map out a detailed plan for you that make it stress free and super easy.  If you are the type of person who needs structure and detailed instruction for each day, then by all means, consider a program like this (it’s free, too!).  For me personally, I needed to feel more in control of my own schedule and wanted to go at my own pace.  And really, when we first started walking, I never planned on running.  We simply walked for each others company.

Walk with a partner. This was essential for me.  When I didn’t feel like walking, my husband was there to encourage force me to go.  There’s nothing like a little guilt to get you going!  😉  This was also a time where we could talk about our day or work out teenager issues.  Because we are so busy otherwise, this was a good time we could just simply hang out together.

It’s okay if you skip a day. Yes, there will be times when you’re physically not able to get out the door.  And that’s okay.  Don’t think now that you’ve got to ‘start over’.  How often do we beat ourselves up if we ‘fall off the wagon’ and think  that now we blew it.  No, you didn’t, just plan on going tomorrow.  Just pick back up where you left off.  It’s easy to let self-doubt creep in and tell us that we’re failing if we’re not doing this perfectly.  This will be one of those times when you can’t rely on those emotions.  Look around at your motivators and get out there again when you can.

Run your first 5k with these 10 tips to help you start running.

Do other forms of exercise. I know you’re already walking and I hope that the more you’re going, the better you’re feeling about yourself and your endurance is building.  When and if you can, try to add some other forms of exercise to your schedule.  Again, this doesn’t have to be an hour long extensive workout regime, but really anything you can.  On days that I couldn’t walk (or sometimes I was able to do both), I exercised to the Wii Fit Plus.  I didn’t realize just how beneficial this was at building my endurance and helping me to walk further and eventually start running.

Here is a strength training workout for runners!

Good Running Shoes This is first on my list for a reason.  While the sport of running is less expensive than other sports, spending the money on a good fitting pair of running shoes is essential.  Not all feet are equal and neither are running shoes!  Go to a store that specializes, have your feet accurately measured and fitted for the right kind of shoe for your foot.  Trust me on this…it makes all the difference in the world.

These are my favorite running shoes*!

Clothing A problem excuse I’m hearing too often about not wanting to exercise is that it’s too hot, too cold….blah blah…while I think that a problem could be not wearing the proper clothing for the weather.  For the heat, go with light, lightweight, wicking materials.  For the cold, go with thin, wicking layers next to the body and layer according to the temperature topping with a wind shear top layer if necessary.  In the Winter, the wind can be a killer so be prepared for it and don’t let any of those excuses stop you.

Water Don’t forget to drink up.  Especially in the heat, but even on cold days our body evaporates moisture and can cause dehydration.  This dehyrdation will leave us feeling tired and fatigued causing us to not want to keep going.  I prefer BPA-free water bottles like this Nalgene bottle* without a straw.  The straw tends to get moldy and it’s hard to clean!

When to eat and what to eat This is also something that I’ve had to learn by trial and error.  I’ve learned that I can eat up to about 1-1/2 hours before I head out for a run.  For some that may be 2 hours while others it may be 1/2 hour.  I learned this the hard way by either feeling too fatigued to the point of getting dizzy because I didn’t eat enough or soon enough before exercising or either feeling too full and needing to upchuck (sorry for the TMI) during a run.

You can read my post on What to Eat Before & After a Workout here.

That’s it for now my friends!  Now get your running shoes on and go run!

Do you have any tips for beginners who’d like to start running?

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