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?