How to Start Running in 4 Easy Steps

Have you ever thought, “I’d really like to run, but there’s no way I can run __ miles.” OR “I used to run all the time! But I haven’t in forever.”?

Fear not, I’m here for ya. Solidarity.

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When I started running my longest distance was a 5k obstacle race that I basically walked with my kind, patient runner roommate back in college, and that was a good four years before I decided to lace up with effort. In high school, I was a baton twirler who avoided running like the plague, so you get my drift. Not. A. Runner. SO from a non-runner turned runner, the BEST advice I can give to someone who wants to start running for fun, for distance, for whatever your motivation is:

1. Start running, and run outside. Find a little neighborhood that you wish was yours if you’re like me and you live in the scary as shit inner city. Find a park, run around the street, go to an old high school track and run bleachers. Wherever makes you a happy, go there and put one foot in front of the other, but DO NOT run on a treadmill if you hate treadmills. Get outside, friend.

2. Set attainable goals, especially with running. Don’t lace up and expect to be the next Usain Bolt, and don’t lace up on your very first run thinking, “Five miles, baby. No stopping.”
NO, SILLY!
Setting distance goals are AMBITIOUS AND WONDERFUL, but start small and work from there. Don’t hurt yourself-that will NOT help you learn to love running! If you’re running and you find yourself struggling to keep moving, set an even smaller, realistic goal like “I’m going to make it to the sign by that tree, and then I’ll walk for one minute.” Next time you run that route, I’ll bet you make it past the sign by the tree.

3. Probably most importantly, FIND GOOD RUNNING SHOES (and socks when you go longer). When I started running, I knew nothing. TMI, but my toenails soon turned black and were threatening to fall off, because apparently my hot pink Asics were too small. Oops. Evidently it’s not good to run in the same size shoe you normally wear for fashion. Go to a running specialty shop and ask to be fitted; you won’t regret it. (Favorites in Texas: Luke’s Locker)

4. Be kind to yourself, and be patient for results. Some runs are going to suck, and others you’ll feel the full effects of the “runner’s high”. Sometimes you’ll probably hate running, but I promise if you stick with it, you will learn to appreciate what your body can do with just a little bit of time and consistency.

P.S. If you can find a community or friends to run with, it is SO.MUCH.EASIER. to not give up. If not, invite your friends to support you at the finish line after your training has paid off 🙂

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^ View from my run on Sunday’s “fall” Houston weather. No Garmin, no gadgets, and no headphones for this one. Just me, my two feet, and a beautiful afternoon = bliss.

Keep moving forward!

-Stacey

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Running for cures; for fun; for breakfast tacos | 20something living in OKC with my dog | Dietetics and Nutrition Student | Learning, living, and writing about it all

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