Growing up we would have to run the mile in school. As I spun around the track my legs would feel heavy and my lungs would burn. Enviously I watched my classmates tear off while I couldn’t keep up. I hated running.
In my 20s I decided to shed my self professed label of being a bad runner. I would set out determined to prove to myself that I was actually capable of running. It took a few stops and starts, but I can safely say that in my 30s I discovered a love of running.
For anyone that is trying to find a love of running as an adult it won’t always be easy. If you persevere it will be worth it. Here are the pieces of advice that helped me stick with it and discover my inner runner.
- Visit a reputable running store to get fitted for shoes. Please do not buy shoes because they were on sale at the factory outlet or because you liked the colours. An ill fitting pair of shoes will be one of the first things that will derail your attempt to find run love.
- It is okay to take walk breaks. I can credit Jeff Galloway‘s run/walk methodology with being the number one reason I was able to build running endurance. You can download a simple interval timer app to your phone so that you can start out with run 0:30/walk 0:30 and begin to build from there.
- Do not compare yourself to others. Your running journey is yours alone. Don’t feel that you should be running as fast as or as long as someone else.
- Do not downplay your accomplishments or try to qualify them with “I’m slow but…” Be proud, but also be mindful that your version of slow may be someone else’s version of fast that they are aspiring to.
- It is normal for your muscles to feel sore the day after a run. Pain in your joints or swelling is not normal.
- If you run with music always be aware of your surroundings. Watch for cars before you step off a curb. Shoulder check if you are on a shared pathway with bikes.
- When I was in high school I thought sports bras were made out of cotton and that underwire was a-ok. Ladies, I would suggest springing for an actual sports bra. Target, Old Navy and Gap offer some reasonably priced gear if you don’t want to spend too much. Make sure to look for their high impact options.
- Body Glide will become your best friend. This stick of awesomeness will help to prevent chaffing and blisters.
- Consider joining a learn to run clinic. Signing up for a clinic can keep you accountable as you look to build a new habit. It is also a great way to meet new people!
My final piece of advice for new runners is to sign up for your first 5K or 10K. I found that having a goal race on the calendar gave me something to work towards. I found a beginner plan online and began building a consistent habit (check out Couch to 5K or Jeff Galloway). Being consistent is what helped me to move past the “ugh, this feels terrible” phase to the “oh, I think I get it” phase.
New runners, feel free to ask any question in the comments! If you’ve been running for a while please share one piece of advice you wish you had known when you started running.