Many people have reached out to me with questions, either how to start running, or how to increase their current mileage.
First and foremost, make sure you are healthy enough to begin a workout program. I recommend that everyone get a full physical before beginning any fitness and nutrition routine, but especially if you are overweight, or have known medical conditions.
Once you are cleared to work out, read my previous post about getting running shoes. I seriously cannot stress enough how important proper footwear is to a runner.
I started by using the C25K app on my smart phone. This is a free app that built me up slowly over 9 weeks from literally not having run at all in YEARS, to being able to complete a 5k. You can also find printable information online at www.C25K.com, but I find the app works well as I could listen to music on my phone, and the app tell me when to walk and jog.
There are lots of variations of this app (one of my faves is ZombiesRun!) but C25k is the classic, and I think it works well. Once I completed the C25k app, I did purchase 5k210k, and 10k2HalfMarathon apps to continue my training.
If you don’t use the apps to start running, and even if you do, below are some tips and tricks that should help:
1. I rarely ran 2 days in a row. I would usually run Mondays and Thursdays 3-5 miles each day, then Saturdays were my long run – typically 8-10 miles, then once every month I would do 13. You don’t need to run 13 miles every week in order to do a half marathon. I honestly believe that once you are comfortable with 10 miles, you are good for 13. After all, a half marathon is just a 5k with a ten mile warm up 😉
2. Increase your runs by 10% weekly. It doesn’t seem like much at all – I mean, going from 2 miles a run to 2.2 miles a run seems kind of silly. However, this will build you up slowly without causing too much stress on joints. Muscles can handle it – but joints really feel the impact.
3. Don’t be afraid to power walk. Or just jog. I am NOT fast – I trained to keep a 13-14 minute mile, and I have extremely short legs! Running a race, whether it is a 5k or a half marathon, is an achievement in itself – I don’t need to be first.
4. Bring food with you on long runs. Every 4 miles, I ate something. I don’t do well with the running gels or chews – I got Honey Stinger Organic Cinnamon Waffles from Amazon, and ate one waffle every 4 miles. They were recommended to me by my friend Shannon, who is an incredible runner, and I highly recommend them as well- but find out what works for you.
6. Change up WHERE you run! I am SO lucky to live in an area where we have several running parks, trails, etc. I needed the changes of scenery in order to keep my interest. Note that different terrain will effect you – Just because you can run 6 miles on the road doesn’t mean you should run 6 miles on a trail. I actually got stress fractures in my left leg from doing a trail run 5k. I had only trained on even pavement, and the 5k was through the woods. I should have done a few runs out on the trail to build myself up. I did not do any treadmill training. I hate running on a treadmill, but everyone is different. Just make sure you dress for the weather! Running in 19 degrees is tough, but still fun for me 🙂
7. Get really good wireless running headphones and a great playlist! Music makes me LOVE running even more.
MOST IMPORTANTLY – Have FUN! Find YOUR pace.