I shied away from running for a long time. Why? It was hard. It didn’t come naturally to me like many other activities. Plain and simply, I feared not doing well. I allowed myself to believe that if I couldn’t run marathons or do a super speedy 7:00 minute mile, then it was a waste. I didn’t want to venture into running because I wondered if it would make me feel less worthy in my fitness. Oh, how silly.
Once I began reading blogs, I noticed how many other women out there loved the sport. They didn’t all have to compete in races to enjoy it. They weren’t all super speedsters. They were real women doing an activity they truly loved and learning more about themselves along the way. Seeing the personal side of running made it more intriguing to me. I decided to give running a more serious try and, as the saying goes, the rest is history.
Quite frankly, running kicks asphalt and I don’t want the same fear of running failure to hold anyone else back like it did to me for so long. So, here’s some ways I took those first steps to tackling runs and making the journey work for me.
10 First Steps To Running Success
Remember you don’t have to be great. It may surprise you that when you take the pressure off running, you enjoy it a lot more than anticipated.
Follow a realistic, steady plan. I cannot recommend the Couch to 5K program enough for starting out. It gradually builds up runs with walking and running intervals, which you can adapt to YOUR body and abilities.
Continue making small changes. After I reached the point I could run the 5K distance with the Couch to 5K, I would try to increase my mileage just .2 or .3 miles one or two runs a week. That built up gradually until I reached 5 miles at a time. Then, I started adding around half a mile a week to my longer runs, while keeping other runs in the 3-4 mile range. Before I knew it, I was cranking out 8-9 mile runs on long run Saturday.
Don’t try to do it all. I run 2 or 3 times a week. I pick one thing to focus on during each of my runs. A bit longer distance? Then, I keep it slower to focus on achieving that new distance. More speed? I will do a shorter run to be able to push the pace. A mental break? I just go out and go with the flow without any set plan. Decide what you want from each workout and be reasonable.
Stretch! Stretch! Stretch! The foam roller is my best friend after runs. I don’t want any injuries if I can avoid them. I have learned from other runners that flexibility plays a huge role in that. Also, ice baths. They bite monkey butt but they work.
Get Good Running Shoes. You want your feet, knees, hips, etc to survive. Invest in some shoes that will provide the support right for you.
Cross and Strength Train. I give a LOT of credit to strength training, cycling classes, and plyometric drills for improving my overall fitness which, in turn, improves my running speed and endurance. My muscles get stronger and my cardiovascular efficiency improves with each of those workouts. It shows up in running.
Find inspiration and insight from others. Learn all you can from others on how to make the most of your training. Bloggers are a fabulous resource!
Sign up for a race. Once you get to a certain comfort level with running, pick an event to motivate you. I know it gives me something to look forward to and feel excited about.
Never forget why you run. Why do you want to run? It should be for the personal challenge. The thrill of achieving new things. Having fun!
So, give it a shot if you haven’t already. You just may fall in love.
- Seasoned runner? What tips would you give?
- What is the last thing that a fear of failure has kept you from doing?
Please keep in mind I am not a professional and these are tips solely based on personal experience and research. Thanks!