So you wanna start running…

3579018740_b251523263_bI get a lot of questions about running…especially in fall when it isn’t 5000 degrees. How do I do it? Where do I do it? When can I do it? The short answer is that it’s never the same for any one person but I have seen plenty of “I wouldn’t run unless zombies were chasing me” people turn into runners.

For me, running is the best workout.  Not from a sweat and blood mentality, but a time and balance one.  I can fit a run in my day much easier than most workouts. I get time to myself or I can use it to socialize with friends. I get to listen to my music that’s not You Gabba Gabba and most importantly, I feel powerful in all my roles: Woman, Wife, Mama, Working Gal…so here goes nothing.

Find a Friend

I started by walking with a friend who had a new year’s resolution to walk everyday at lunch. That was it. Then once it got to about March, we decided we were walking as fast as we could and wanted to cover more ground. One day, we just ran until we were tired. I lasted about 6 minutes.  In a week, we made it 10. And so on. We slowly worked up and decided to shoot for our company 5K on National Employee Fitness Day in May. My first time was around 38 minutes. I had to walk some hills but I did it. I have never looked back.

Moral of the story here: friends make it easier.

Having a workout partner to be accountable to makes a HUGE difference. Find a friend or even find a group to join. I use to volunteer for a group last fall for women only here in the Triangle (NC). It was a couch to 5K and a lot of cheerleading.  Seeing those women cross the finish line at the end was tear jerking. All sizes and shapes. Moms, grandmas, single ladies: all working together to accomplish a personal goal. We made new friends and reconnected with old. It is the ultimate in a woman community. So look in your area for running groups and if you are shy, look for an all women’s group. A lot of fitness stores have programs throughout the year for training for a 5K, 10K or half marathon. These are great places to meet people to motivate you. No one is there to make you look dumb or make fun of you.  You are all in it together.

Start Slow

I think many people struggle with how to get started and not crash and burn. Of all exercise routines, you can really do that here. Don’t go out your front door day one and say, “I am gonna run a mile.” Then you get six minutes in and start dying, you give up. You say “running isn’t for me.” Incorrect. You just started off too hard.   A tried and true method many beginning groups use is the Galloway Method or any type of intervals. Start off running AND walking. Over time, you run more and walk less. This is actually a great way to burn calories by varying your heart rate and gives you more sense of accomplishment.  Many people run marathons this way. Don’t be shy about it…you aren’t alone :).

Another analogy I love from my super running cheerleader cousin Sarah is being a penguin.  She read this book and was inspired. You don’t have to be the fastest.  You are already doing more than most people…speed doesn’t matter.

Finding Time

The glory of running is being able to fit it in. Also you don’t need to run for an hour.  Running 30 minutes is HUGE and then? You’re done. And then in that 30 minutes, you have burned calories, had time for yourself, talked with a friend or even listened to new music. Here are ways I fit in runs:
  • Get up. It takes getting used to but being up at 5am alone is kind of awesome…once I roll out of bed.
  • If I can carry clothes in my car, I can run at lunch time or right before I leave for the day.
  • If the kids are napping and the husband is home, I can run then.
  • If we are looking for something to do on the weekends, the whole family can head to the local greenway.  The dog and I can run around the lake and dad and kids  visit ducks or go play at the playground.

Other Help and Motivation

While looking around for information for this post, I found some great sites to help get you going and motivated:

So get those running shoes on! Time to get fit!

One Comment

  1. While I can’t say that I can offer any “feel more womanly” advice, I’ve never, ever regretted a run (even crappy runs) . . . and, most anything else, even some workouts, there have been times that “Yeah, I shouldn’t have done that.”

    And yeah, that running at 5am . . . so wonderful, when I actually get myself to roll out of bed.

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