You should've seen the rest of my running outfit. (But I'm not that brave.)

You should’ve seen the rest of my running outfit. (But I’m not that brave.)

Once i made the decision to try the Couch to 5K program on a whim one Sunday morning, it took me 4 days to go to a running store (forgive my lack of knowledge about the proper names for things related to running!) and have someone help me buy proper shoes. I am lucky in that I have a friend, Mike, who works at one.

Then it took me another 3 days or so to put the shoes on and get outside.

I was so afraid of hating it. So I turned to Twitter and Facebook, and I started telling people the plan, hoping they’d tell me it isn’t so bad (which they did).

Tip 1: tell everyone about your goal. If it’s an interesting one, they will ask you about it whenever they see you. This will hold you accountable. Nobody wants to feel like a quitter!

Having told a bunch of people, especially runners who once were novices like me, is the primary motivation for me to continue right now. I have friends who ask me whenever they see me in person or online, “How’s the running going?” They give me tips and encouragement. They’re my fuel when I’m running low on it. I imagine, during the hard part of a run, telling them, awkwardly, that I gave up. I don’t like that conversation one bit. I imagine their reactions. Although it would never happen in real life, in my imagination they taunt me and call me a loser! It’s like boot camp in my brain!

I do not enjoy the actual running part yet. It makes my legs ache for days afterward–or at least that first time out did. Which brings me to tip 2.

Tip 2: ask questions. Like about stretching, warming up, all of it! Runners seem to be a particularly helpful group who wants everyone to join them! They collectively want me (& everyone) to succeed, so they’re forthcoming with advice and lots of “have you tried” doing X, Y, or Z? Just the talking about it, not to mention the learning of new things, is helpful for motivation. Not to mention all the offers to run a 5K with them. I have a list of people willing to help me during my first 5K. It’s nice having people who believe I’ll actually make it that far!

Tip 3: Give it one more day. Don’t ever quit something on a bad day. This is what I learned from breastfeeding. I can’t tell you how many times on a bad day I muttered–or shouted–”I’m done!” And vowed to stop. During my runs so far, I’ve hit a point each time when I told myself I was quitting after that run. And then magically it’s over, and it didn’t feel that bad, so I agree to go out just one more time.

If I know myself, and after 35 years I think I’m getting to, I will “one more day” myself into reaching my goal.

So…runners…what other tips do you have for beginners?

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10 Comments

  1. These are spot on. Great job. Keep up the hard work. It will pay off. (Ps: I hate every second of running, but I do it anyway)
    jana recently posted..Stream of Consciousness Sunday: Journey

  2. After talking about running at book club I downloaded the couch to 5k app. My plan is to start later today. Hopefully I stick to it. We can be beginner running buddies!

  3. Yay you! I would add finding a way to make it fun, so you aren’t fighting yourself every day.
    story recently posted..One month

    • Great suggestion, Story! This reminds me of one little thing I do that’s kinda fun: give myself a challenge. Like this: “If you make it to that bench, you can have a cookie later.” I always make it to the goal when I promise myself a reward, which I promise you is not always food! Sometimes I just say to myself, “Run to that tree and then you can walk to the next tree.” That works, too.

  4. Are you actually following the training portion of the program? How do you time yourself? I am proud of you! I really need to exercise! I know it will make me mentally stronger and help with my depression.

  5. I love this because I HATE running. But I really feel I should run for the health benefits.
    Amber recently posted..The Broken Merida Crown

  6. Best tips I got: Get proper shoes, stretch, get a foam roller for sore muscles, follow a program to ensure you don’t do too much too quickly (number one injury cause for beginners), cross train focusing on your core, and set up a goal race. I still use that goal race one. Helps keep me on track with my training as I’m one of those too cheap to waste my race money. :) Good luck & have fun!
    Kelly recently posted..Half Marathon Buzz

  7. As a totally new(ish) runner I love this. I started C25K last Jan, and got to 7 weeks and stopped. I’m back at it again and on Week 3. I post on FB regularly for support and encouragement for sure.

    And oddly, even though I’m not done yet, I’ve encouraged other people and friends to get on the program. By now they are way ahead of me, but that’s OK, I’m trying!

    Love this!
    Andrea recently posted..Friendship.

  8. I’m at the beginning like you are. I try to remind myself that I can do anything(or almost anything) for a minute or two- and I get through minute by minute.
    Shell recently posted..Waterpark Tips for Families with Young Children

  9. YAY! I love running. Love it. If you don’t immediately, give it time. It’s my me time. The one thing I do for myself. I may fit it in between 80 other things but I do it. Find great music that you love and just go out there. Don’t force yourself to hit crazy goals. Don’t push too hard and burn yourself out.

    Your first tip is a great one. For me I feel like once it’s on the internet, I have to do it! hehe
    Jess recently posted..Goal Update! {and oatmeal recipe}

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