Running can seem very intimidating to beginners, I’d know I was one once. I completely understand when someone says that they couldn’t run a mile if their life depended on I, but honestly, that just isn’t true. After going from someone who could barely finish a 2 minute jog, to running half marathons in under 2 hours, I truly believe that anyone can become a runner. The hard part is getting started, getting your mind to accept that your body is capable of running whatever distance you train it to. Most people quit before they even begin. They get on a treadmill and run for a couple of minutes, lose their breath, hit the stop button, and claim it just isn’t for them. Yes, beginning is difficult and discouraging, but I am here to help. Here are my top tips and tricks for going from a walker to a good runner.
1. Start Slow
Beginning your runs at a pace you can’t keep will set you up for failure. A slow jog is as much a run as a 6 minute mile, so start slow. I promise you will feel much more successful and encouraged when you run a longer distance at a slower speed than a short distance at a faster speed. Also, speed is something that you can build later, so just put it out of your mind, and run at a pace that allows you to take deep breaths.
2. Get the Right Shoes
I value my running shoes more than any other footwear I own… that’s how important proper running shoes are. Having shoes that don’t fit correctly or do not give enough support can lead to blisters, foot pain, and even shin splints. If you are serious about wanting to improve your running games, take the time to find good shoes. Also, remember that everyone’s feet are different, so what works for me may not for you, or vice versa, so you do you.
3. Go it Alone
The strange thing about running is that while it can be done in groups or with a partner, it is an individual game. If you are just starting out, I would actually advise against going jogging or to the gym with someone. You need to focus on your own abilities, find out where your body is at, before letting someone’s abilities influence you. There’s nothing more discouraging than going for a run with someone who can literally run circles around you, so until you have built your own confidence and set your own goals run by yourself.
4. Build Your Distance
It is very hard to jump from being able to jog half a mile without stopping to running 3 miles continuously… in fact, it’s pretty much impossible. Unless you have a strong sports background, you won’t be able to add on a couple extra miles without building up to it. I highly recommend building your distance a mile or a half mile at a time. If you can run ½ mile without stopping, make it your goal to get to one mile, then run that mile over and over until it feels easy, that’s when you add another half. This may not be as satisfying as going from one to three miles, but it is much more sustainable, and will set you up for success.
5. Have a Killer Playlist
My running ability lives and dies with my music playlist. Having music that not only distracts you, but downright pumps you up, can be the difference between stopping short of and blowing past your running goals. Build a playlist that you love and it will transform your running game.
6. Set Achievable Goals
Please don’t set yourself up for failure by saying you are going to run a marathon in 3 months. Make your goals achievable for your body. Have a goal of running 5 miles a week for a month or 2 miles twice a week. You’ll become a good runner in no time!
Running shoes are not the only piece of gear you have, and having a sports bra that doesn’t do the job can be painful and will slow you down. Make sure you have gear that helps you rather than hurts you.
8. Don’t Compare
There is always going to be someone faster than you and someone slower than you. Say that to yourself every time you see someone pass you on the trail or run faster or longer than you at the gym. Your run is only about you, and the only person you should try and beat is yourself.
9. Focus on Breath
Work on proper breathing from the very beginning. It will feel strange and backwards, but having a slow steady breath while running will keep you from getting side cramps. It’s not impossible to become a good runner.
I am not saying you need to run with a water bottle… I don’t, but you do need more water in your system than ever before. You will be sweaty it out, so make sure you are putting it back in.