Ali’s tips for runner’s looking to get started…

What I want to talk about is how hard it is to start running. I know there is SOOO much information out there for plans to start running and people are always encouraging you to try it and those that already have that running bug inside them seem so happy but the fact is – learning to run is hard work and learning to love running is even HARDER!

If you keep running you can look this happy too! [from the post “Running /w Cousin & Lunch /w Grandma“]

I sometimes think back to the Ali I once knew, the girl that was SEMI-interested in exercise and organized team sports but hated running. When I say HATED I mean I’d rather ride my bike, walk, jump rope ANYTHING except running.

One thing I’d always wonder is HOW and WHY are these people running? I know I’ve mentioned this before but when I first decided to run I couldn’t even run longer than 1 min before I had to walk! Crazy eh? now it’s been 6 months and if I slow my pace down enough I’m convinced I could probably run forever :)

look at that beer gut! but note the thumbs up will never leave me :)
Me finishing my first ever 5k race – read the recap

So how do you get from there to here?

Well I think it starts with the DESIRE you have to want it. It’s just like anything else, you have to accept the fact that when you go outside in your runners for the first time it’s going to be hard, you ARE going to suck at it and just leave it at that.

I assure you no one mowing their lawn, driving by you in their car, smoking on their porch is judging you or how you look. They are all thinking exactly what we all thought before we made the decision to start running – “man, I wish I could be them” “I wonder if I could do that?” “I wish I had the DESIRE to do that” – you have to want it or it won’t work!

So now we know we want to be a runner. What comes next?

Well I kinda briefly mentioned it already – full acceptance. You have to accept everything I mentioned in the above paragraph and just do it anyway!

You have to be aware that you will try to talk yourself out of it on some days, it will be hard and you you will hate it before you love it. The beauty of running is it’s always difficult. The irony is this – that’s the reason you will eventually love it and they very same reason you will hate it when you start!

So how do we push past the hate?

Baby steps. No one learns how to be a pro in ANYTHING overnight. So let’s examine the key components needed to set us up for success….

runner’s can eat amazing treats!

I tried really hard to write these tips from my own experience – I am an ex smoker, ex party-animal and I can run pretty decent now. It was hard for me to make all these changes and keep it up, but here I am now – a running addict. I can now eat almost whatever I want and my weight stays the same b/c of running. It’s heaven.

So let’s start getting to know our inner runner!

**I recommend writing the following points down on a piece of paper to better figure out how YOU will succeed.**

a) will I run better by myself? or by joining and committing to a group and/or coach? I actually prefer running alone b/c I’m a mother and a wife and I don’t get much ME time, so it works great for me. Some people need a friend, their partner or a trainer to help push them and hold them accountable. Ask yourself, can I do this alone? – if your initial response is no, find a running group or convert a friend, or take your dog!

b) what are the reasons I want to run? do you have a goal in mind? – I wanted to be able to run 5k continuously /w no walking breaks. Now that that goal is completed more goals blossomed from the original. It’s called planting the seed – plant what you want to grow inside you. Maybe you’d like to lose weight by running. Maybe you’re trying to quit an addiction, maybe you just want to improve your health and overall cardio. Pick a goal – write it down and stick to it! – Make sure to plaster that goal everywhere!

using dailymile to track workouts is a great tool and it’s free!

c) Tell as many people as possible about what your goals are – why? well b/c people are fueled by validation and support. We are a “pack animal” and communal creature and that is another reason why I began this blog – community and support. It does hold me accountable and as an added bonus I get to share my story /w you. I also had tons of family, friends and a great husband who would help encourage me. **If you live /w someone tell them “I want to run and some days I may make an excuse but please push me to do it anyway” -believe me you will thank them :)

d) when you are at the place where you don’t want to run – do it anywayΒ OR if you don’t want to do some cross-training. Just make sure you do something more than remain on the couch! So if you’d rather ride a bike or walk than do those things instead. One method that really helped me was that I’d only run for 5-10 mins before and after my other workouts and it was short enough that I could get through it. If it’s hard for you to commit to it keep the running parts short! you can get through 5 mins! – if not 5 then 2.5 before, 2.5 after!

e) DON’T think you have to always run in order to be a runner. WALK when you need to. Some runners don’t ever take a walk break (myself included) but the odd time even stopping for a min or two of walking will allow my body to do wonders! So do a walk/run/walk/run combo at whatever speed you’re comfortable with. That’s how I started and I couldn’t believe what a great foundation it gave me. Your dog will love it too!

Rex loves to run and I love him!

f) Track your distance and times. WRITE IT DOWN. just like a weight loss journal – fitness logs are amazing motivators. If you can SEE that you just beat your last weeks millage or time…or BOTH you are going to feel good about yourself… and thus the changes you’re making and even more so, you will WANT to continue running.Β dailymile and fitpal are also great places to log your workouts and document eating and accomplishments.

Finally I will leave you /w this. The final ingredient in the recipe for running is this – HONESTY!

Getting New Shoes ROCKS!

so many times I would try to start running, read about starting – pages similar to this and think it seemed easy. Only to do it for a few weeks, stop for one day, then another, then a week would go by, a month, more….if you are doing this it should be b/c it’s what YOU want. Otherwise it won’t work. So be honest with what you deep down really want and I promise if you stick to my tips you will succeed :)

You can also contact me and ask for any motivators, tips, help, or just support in general!

So go to your nearest running store, get fitted for a pair of shoes, write down your goals, make sure you can accept yourself and stay honest and GO….just run.

I promise that you will love it…when your run is over πŸ˜‰

1. any tips you’d like to share /w people looking to start running?
– I know we touched on this briefly before but any struggle stories for inspiration??

2. why do YOU run?Β 
I run b/c it gives me a feeling of freedom unlike anything else I’ve ever experienced. It connects me to my body and gets me out of my head :)


14 thoughts on “Ali’s tips for runner’s looking to get started…

  1. ahhhhhhh!!!! I LOVE this post. simply awesome. so honest and true and helpful! i think you hit it perfectly for me with "acceptance"…when i started running I had to accept where I was right then in order to be able to move forward. otherwise i just got more frustrated than needed.

    I run because it is the perfect start to my dad. wakes me up and i feel accomplished. plus it just feels good to feel like i am doing something healthy for myself!

  2. Great post! Personally I hated running. I didn't understand why people did it. Then a friend got me hooked. We trained a whole summer to run a 10k and i felt so amazing. I developed a love/hate with running after this until training for my first half. Now all I think about is running (and baking).

    Running is a journey that will bring you down many different paths (literally and figuratively) so you just have to enjoy the ride.

  3. This is so great Ali! I hated it, and couldn't understand why anyone would get on a treadmill for 10 minutes, let alone hours!

    This is such a helpful post, and I hope many find it when they are starting their running journey!

  4. Great post!

    My tip would definitely include having short term goals and remembering that everyone had to start from somewhere.

    I run b/c it clears my mind from stress and anxiety.

  5. @Julia – thanks Julia! I love your reasons and I feel great as a runner too! great job @ the ragnar in vegas!!!

    @Heather – Awesome quote Heather – consider it stolen! and I love running and baking I think it's an awesome combo! you'll have to send me a recipe one day….PS: do you have a blog?? I can never find one on your profile :(

    @DEM – ya I completely agree it's so strange when you look back. I have some newbie readers so I hope they find it helpful too!

    @Min Grange Great! I'm glad Min….go get running πŸ˜› lol

    @thisgirlcanrun – short term goals are definitely a must! good add on and great reason for running!!!

  6. These are great tips, Ali! You nailed it! I would add – BUY THE RIGHT SHOES! I made this mistake at the beginning and it almost cost me a DNS at my first marathon!

  7. i had a blog post about this weeks ago but i think the biggest thing is that dont force yourself to be a runner unless you learn to really truly enjoy it…some people despise running and try and run and then they are miserable…if you are miserable doing something, there is no way you are gonna stick to it!

    I run for so many reasons…obviously for weight maintenance but also to help in my struggles with depression…it works better then any therapy i couldve asked for :)

  8. Your blog reminded me of this post from the runner's resource that I read this morning! (Though yours is much more personal and motivating, and it has better pics too)
    I still struggle with motivation, but there's nothing like reaching the finish line and knowing you worked hard.

  9. @Christina @ The Athletarian I agree, I put my old reebox on a few days ago and couldn't BELIEVE I could run in them. They were so bad! I am glad I got awesome runners and I think it's a great point Christina!

    @Theresa – I'll have to go creep you but I always want wings whenever I come visit πŸ˜› lol I agree, but kinda disagree….I don't know. I used to despise running but now I don't….so I'd say sign up for a 5k if you hate it after that stop and ride a bike instead πŸ˜› lol

    @Lsquared great article Lyndz. I thought that was more informative, but kinda different too…..I was just trying to get a post out there that was more realistic b/c I found all the pro running talks to be all the same. I couldn't agree more πŸ˜€

    @Heather @ Just a Colorado Gal Heather your comment made my day b/c if you ask anyone who knew me in person that's exactly what they would say "blunt, refreshingly honest and tell it like it is!" so it's really nice to know that comes across online too :) YAY!!!

  10. I love this post :-)
    I can't run now, and unfortunately it's probably something I will never be able to do.
    However I think this post applies to more than just running, I think a lot of your tips can be applied to any form of exercise, starting an exercise routine is always hard and everything you said is relevant!
    You have such a positive and determined attitude :-)

  11. Running isn't for everyone. I started running by accident and I loved it from the start. Why do I run? Because I can (well, usually, not right now due to injury – BOO.) And I run because it makes me feel like nothing else in the world.

  12. I dig this post…maybe because your past life sounds so much like mine? ex-smoker, etc…

    I go through waves of being ultra-motivated, and then having to be dragged to go outside.

    Why isn't there a motivation pill?

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