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How To Start Running + Keep Running (Coaches Corner)


How can you not only start running but learn to love running and keep running? It isn’t as hard as you think–find out how to make a start that sticks with Running Coaches Corner!

If you are new to running, starting can seem both the most simple and yet most complicated enterprise of all time. Trust me.  Many of us have been working out for years, but we all had to start somewhere! 

Last year, I contributed to a similar article for Thrillist, but this post is all me!

How to Start Running and Keep Running

How to Start Running, Love Running, and Keep Running. Stop struggling with running and learn to love it with these tips! @Suzlyfe

There are two approaches to starting to run regularly: one is to just lace up and go, and the other is find a way to sustainably integrate running into your life. I am a fan of the latter, as it will ultimately lead to the former becoming your reality.

1) Find Your Why

Your Why is the reason that you are going to get up out of that comfy, sumptuous bed. Why you are going to strap on trainers, shove you bits into spandex and then a bajillion layers, head to the gym or out into the day/morning/night, and fight for each and every step. It is the reason that you are going to make yourself miserable (and, ironically, learn to love the misery). 

Each person has a “why,” and it is more powerful than any other driving force in your life. There are superficial why’s (because I want to eat a cookie or I want to look awesome at my reunion) and there are deep, meaningful why’s (I want to set a good example for my kids, I want to lower my blood pressure and not succumb to heart disease). But that why is going to keep you going. So whether it is a cookie or reinventing yourself after a divorce, figure out what is going to get you going and repeat it to yourself every morning before you get out of bed.

2) Walk, then Run. Then Walk again.

If you are a brand new runner, you might want to consider a run/walk strategy where you run for 2 minutes and walk for 3 minutes (and repeat). Try for 20 minutes the first week that you go out, and then try to increase the length of your overall session. Then extend the length of your running interval (first aim for even work/rest, then try to get your work interval longer than your rest interval)  before ultimately decreasing your walking interval. This will help you gradually and safely increase your endurance and strength. Gradual, not all at once!

pace yourself shirt

Why focus on gradual or incremental change rather than going out and blasting about? A) you are going to avoid the potentially morale-crushing moment of nearly dying on the side of the road and then realizing you only made it so far (I also covered run walk for newbies in my Holiday Race post), b) you are going to be able to accomplish so much more and be working for an even longer amount of time by incorporating intervals, and c) you are going to avoid injury. 

Think about how lifters build strength: they incorporate sets and rests, building number of reps, sets, and weight. They don’t just go for broke the first time out there and expect the world. Or maybe they do, but I hope that they have a spotter.

3) If You Don’t Ask, You’ll Never Know

Running isn’t rocket science, but it can be quite complicated, especially if you have a finicky body (raises hand). Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Runners love to talk about running, and you would be surprised how many runners there are out there! All runners have a different perspective on running–it means something different to each of us, and we have reached the stage in our running through our own unique avenues.

smitha erica susie phoenix marathon after

Ask around for advice, encouragement, motivation–we are happy to help! It is easy to get overwhelmed, but surrounding yourself with seasoned runners, you will find that you don’t necessarily need to feel that way. Just makes sure that you ask the right people, who can speak your (less experienced) language, not just talk about lactate thresholds and such. 

4) Surround Yourself with Excellent Support

Hire a running coach, or consider joining a running group (there are many beginner running groups that leave from running and sports stores), going to online forums to find running partners, or at the very least, make sure that you are surrounded by people who help you succeed by believing in you and your mission. See if you can recruit others! The accountability of having others involved will encourage you every time that you step outside!

I loved running Ragnar with a group!

5) Shoes

First and foremost, go to a running specialty store and get properly fitted for running shoes. A proper shoe assessment will involve you standing in barefeet, walking, and running in both your current shoes as well as the shoes that are chosen for you. It might even involve video analysis!

Don’t be afraid to invest in your new kicks: the store should have a good return policy that allows you to try out the shoes for at least a month so that you can make sure that you are happy with the product. Above all, properly fitting shoes can help prevent injury, increase comfort, improve running mechanics, and even help you get faster!

Bonus: Learn Runner’s Amnesia

Learn “runner’s amnesia.” Runner’s amnesia means that you try to learn from each lesson and mistake, but you also learn to conveniently forget how awful certain runs were in the past. There will be days when you do everything correctly and yet nothing goes right–acknowledge those runs and then release them, just as you would with less than optimal days in your life. In fact, you will learn that running has many parallels to life! You know better than to get me started on that…

With these tips, anyone can start and keep running! #running #coachescorner Click To Tweet

At the end of the day, don’t over think it. There are layers, but like healthy eating, you just need the basics to get started, then play around with it and see what works for you! Have fun and happy running!

What has been the most impactful piece of advice you have received with regards to maintaining your running?

I am linking up with myself, Rachel, Lora, and Debbie for Running Coaches CornerPatty, Erika, and Marcia for Tuesdays on the Run, Nicole, Annmarie, Michelle, and Jen for Wild Workout Wednesday, and Ilka and Angela for Food and Fitness Sunday. 


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