How I got started with running
Once upon a time, I wasn’t a runner. Here’s the little story of how I got started with running, what motivated me to try, and why I think you can be a runner too! If you’re just getting started with running, it’s easier than you think. I never imagined that I would be able to run marathons when I first started, but once you set your mind to it, you will be amazed at what you can achieve. Here’s how I got started…
I don’t believe that I used a Couch to 5K program. I know they’re popular, but I personally think they’re kind of challenging for beginner runners. You know like those ever-popular do 100 pushups programs? I have tried multiple times with multiple strategies, and they never worked for me. In my opinion, they move too quickly and don’t give you options when you can’t move forward.
If I write a Couch to 5K program for this site, which I may do, it will be a little more fluid. It will give you the option of repeating steps until you are ready to move forward. The Couch to 5K programs that I found online, just weren’t a good fit for me.
If you want to use a Couch to 5K program, that’s okay too. Just don’t feel like you have to follow one to get started running. Here are a couple of links to programs that I like.
Running for Beginners 5K training plan and Runners World Beginner 5K training plan
Just check out the two and you’ll see the huge variances in time walking/time running which is why I’m comfortable with doing your own thing too. Search online. There are tons to choose from.
Tip 1: It’s okay to skip the couch to 5k.
It’s not necessary to follow a formal couch to 5K program! If it stresses you out and stops you from trying, just use a watch and set some goals.
My first start at running
I still remember the first time I took myself for a “run” outside and kind of remember why I did it. I can’t remember the order of everything because I’ve been running for so long now. I did not run when I was younger. I did not run in high school. I was never athletic. In fact, I find this hysterical now. I flunked the last PRT I had in the Navy because I couldn’t complete a mile and a half in 16 minutes and 45 seconds. I was 22 or 23 years old at the time!
After working on shedding the massive amounts of weight I gained with kid #6, I had just reached my “goal weight”. It was time to take on a new challenge, something new to work towards, so I chose running.
Tip 2: Set some goals!
It’s okay to keep your goals simple, but if you’re considering becoming a runner, setting goals will help you motivate yourself and keep you on track. Perhaps you track the minutes you run, or maybe you track the miles you run. You could sign up for a race like a 5k or another race distance.
Running a mile
When I started running, I simply ran for as long as I could and then walked and ran some more until I reached a mile. I remember being so excited about running a whole mile! It’s funny now, but you should be just as excited as I was! Seriously, that’s how you start! At the time, I did not know much about races or whether I wanted to compete at all.
Tip 3: Get excited!
Be proud of any accomplishment you make! Seriously. You “ran” 5 minutes! I say YAY! Good for you! For the record, I call anything that’s not walking, running! So should you.
In those days, forums were the thing. Facebook didn’t exist at that time, and I was a stay-at-home mom. I did not know any other runners. I had started a weight loss blog and was networking with other bloggers then. (I had to do some digging to find it, but it still exists mama wants a six pack if you’d like to read more about it). Anyway, I followed one blogger that lost 100 pounds and was training for a marathon at that time. I. So I thought, “Well if he can do it, why can’t I?”
And that’s where my marathoning started.
I joined a forum, Running Times, which is no longer in existence but was filled with fast and experienced runners. The running community is awesome. They just take people in and teach you if you’re willing to learn. I met my first coach there and still love him. He’s phenomenal and taught me almost everything I know about running. He’s the bomb for real, even though I don’t talk to him much anymore.
Most of my running friends online are the very same ones I consulted for advice years ago. I still can count on them for running advice.
Tip 4: Make some running friends
Get to know other runners! Join a running group. Find other runners to run with even if you’re brand new and don’t think you’re a runner. I promise you; the running community is the best! You can count on them to support you. If you decide to train for a race, they will encourage and motivate you.
Check out Strava, either the app or the web version. It’s great for goal setting and making friends.
Having run for years, I know how easy it is to start again. I don’t stress about starting back up. I just start where I start and move forward. Since I’m injured and can’t run right now, it is difficult for me. When I’m cleared to run again, I know I have to start from scratch.
Due to the fact that I’m getting older, as well as the fact that I tend to get injured more frequently as I age, I plan to incorporate more cross-training into my routine in order to maintain my current level of fitness, stay healthy and reduce my chances of re-injury in the future. (You might also like my article on preventing running injuries.)
Now I’m setting swimming and biking goals, using the same keep-it-simple approach.
Tip 5: Add in some cross training
Just run, but…
I firmly believe that if you want to be a runner, run. However, I can’t help but change my stance on cross-training. This will help prevent injuries and give you something to fall back on when you can’t run.
Thank you so much to my regular fan club and to any new readers of my blog. The fact that I am unable to run at the moment has made telling my story cathartic for me. I hope that by sharing it, somebody will be inspired to get up and get started being active. Just maybe it will motivate you to get off the couch and go for it!
2 thoughts on “Getting Started with Running”
Hi Teresa, I’m new to your blog, and a new runner. Thanks for some very good advice on getting started with running! I started in September, mostly to see if I could do it! I was never able to run in the past but now after 8 months of strength training, I felt my fitness level was so much improved, and I wanted to give it a try. it went quite well, and I loved running! Sadly, I soon got a knee injury. In November I got started again, and in mid-January I got a foot injury. I think I’ve been too ambitious both times and increased my training too fast. Now I’m almost ready to try again, and will be very careful! I’ll probably use some kind of modified “Couch to 5k” program.
Well, I’m about to start running again soon, hopefully. I was thinking today that no matter how good I think I feel I am not running further than 3 miles for 6 months. It’s hard to real it in when you feel strong. Good luck to you starting back and definitely give yourself time to adapt to the added miles. Thank you so much for stopping by today.