*From Jane: 12 years ago when I met my husband, Erik, if you had told me that he would convert me into a runner 11 years later, I would have laughed at you. I used to HATE running. Then we had kids, I started this business and he became a certified running coach. Running became a place where I found relief, a clear mind and a healthy body. I run slowly. I am not a racer. I have no desire to ever be *good* at running. I run for me and only me. Erik has been behind me 100% in my business and my running, so I asked him to write a post for this blog to help those of you who keep saying “I want to…but I don’t know how to!” Try running, it might make you happy, just as it has for me.*
P.S. You can find Erik’s blog on running over on Running Moose and some of his writing over on Active.com!
So, you want to start running. Congrats! The wanting to run is huge. You have the desire to start, but where do you start? How do I start? When do I find the time? I’ve gone through this process off starting and I’m hoping to be able to answer some of your questions.
If you’re coming from the couch, make sure you take it slow. Start with a walk/run program:
Walk five minutes, run two minutes, walk five, run two, etc. You may need to walk more or run less and that’s fine. You are running FOR YOU!
Follow this cycle for three to four days a week
The following week, continue with the same lengths or, if you feel you are ready, increase the amount of run time and/or decrease the amount of walk time
For every three to four weeks you build up, take one week and cut back a bit to give your body time to recover and adjust to it’s new lifestyle. Then, continue back to your new regular running routine!
For some this walk/run will be fine, for others, you may be able to have less walking in between runs or you may be able to run for longer than the two minutes. But, I’m thinking about the new runners who have sat on the couch for a very long time, like I did a bit over three years ago, and running even a half-mile was be HARD!
After some time (or right from the start) you may be ready to run without any walk breaks. If you are, go for it! If, during your run, you feel the need to walk, do it! Listen to your body. If you hit a point where you feel like your body won’t do what you want it to do, that means it’s time for a break. Slow your pace, walk, or stop and drink some water and take some deep breaths. During my longer runs I will take walking breaks so that I will be able to continue. During long runs on the trails hills are basically a walking break! When you walk, you use some slightly different muscles than when running, so it will give your legs a bit of a break.
One thing to help you get into and maintain that routine is to find a friend who is ready to do the same. Get them out the door with you. Having someone else (besides YOU) to be accountable to can be a huge motivator! On days when you may not feel like getting out the door having a friend knocking on your door, ready to go or texting you to get moving is a huge help. Likewise, you will be able to do the same for them.
Sign-up for a race! Look for that first 5k to sign up for. Find one that is about 3 months away (or less), sign-up, and put it on your fridge, put the date on your phone, make the race flyer the background for your screen. Place it everywhere you will see it to keep you motivated to getting out the door.
Another suggestion to help motivate you is to go out and get a good pair of running shoes! Head to your local running store, tell them your goals. Be prepared to run- they’ll probably ask to see you run to help find the right shoe for you!
Time. When do you run? How do I find the time? I’ve found the easiest thing for me was to run at night, after the kids are in bed or about to go to bed and the kitchen is cleaned up. I do this three days a week. On the weekends, I run longer and need more time. I’ll head out when Jane is home, or, if she’s gone all day, I’ll enlist the aid of grandparents to baby sit. For some weekend runs I’ve needed to wake-up earlier than I do when I go to work. So, what will work best for you? Here are some thoughts:
When your kids are at school or daycare
Some gyms have daycare offered for when you go to workout there and you can hit the treadmill
Put the kids in a stroller and take them with you! I read a few mom bloggers that have run 15-20 miles with a jogging stroller with up to three kids in it!
Wake up extra early or get out at night (I recommend reflective gear and lights for both as well as a partner if you can!!)
If your kids are old enough, have them walk/run/bike/trike/bigwheel/etc… with you! What’s better than a family exercising together!!
Remember to take it easy on your body. If you try to go out and run 2-3 miles (and you may be able to fight through that) a couple days a week, you risk very early burn out from the hard efforts and also from feeling like crap after each run (and during!!). You also risk injury! Your body isn’t used to the shock of running, so you need to take it easy on your body and gradually build your endurance and muscle strength.
Take it easy on yourself mentally as well. Be proud that you have gotten off the couch and are up and moving! Think of the positives while you run to make the runs enjoyable despite how hard it may feel!
Take that first step! Get out the door!