Until a little over a year ago I never thought I could run. It seemed intimidating, miserable and almost a little scary. In the past year I’ve gotten much better and more comfortable with running and I’d love to share some of my tips and experiences with you all. I am certainly not an expert and not even that great, but I am proud and glad that I can now work running into my weekly exercise routine and not feel scared to do so.
Start with a mix of walking and running: My boyfriend was one of the main reasons I started running and he got me to give it a try it with a mixture of walking and running. Here’s what I did at my very beginning stages:
0 -.25 miles at 3.5 mph
.25 miles - .5 miles at 5 mph
.5 miles - .75 miles at 3.5 mph
.75 - 1 mile at 5.5 mph
1 - 1.25 miles at 3.5 mph
1.25 - 1.5 miles at 6 mph
1.5 - 1.75 miles at 3.5 mph
1.75 - 2 miles at 6.5 mph
2- 2.25 miles at 3.5 mph
2.25 - 2.5 miles at 6 mph
2.5 - 2.75 miles at 3.5 mph
2.75 - 3 miles at 5.5 mph
3- 3.25 miles walk to recover/ cool down
You can obviously play around with these speeds and increase them as you get better. I found that once I nailed this I was able to run a 1-1.5 miles straight through with little to no walking in between. And then it only got better from there.
Distance and speed don’t have to both happen at once: The better I have gotten at running the longer I can go and the faster I can go; however, I don’t feel like I can necessarily do both at the same time. On some runs I make it a goal to run longer and on shorter runs I make it a goal to run faster. They say when setting goals, you shouldn't overwhelm yourself, so this helps me push myself in a way that feels attainable.
Experiment with different environments: You may not like running in certain spots and some may be a better fit for you, so it’s good to try out different environments. Some environments I like most are: running lanes in the suburbs or down at the beach, along the river in NYC, and on the elliptical at one of my favorite workout classes, Mile High Run Club. One that I don’t like is on the sidewalks of NYC (too many people to dodge). I’m also someone who prefers running with someone outside and alone inside, so you can experiment with that as well.
Listen to Music: This one is pretty obvious, but it makes a huge impact. If I’m walking or doing the elliptical I will sometimes watch a show, but when I am running, I prefer music. I find that up-tempo music gives me that extra motivation, while also still allowing me to focus on my posture and breathing- which is super important when running and especially important for beginners like me.
Using running apps: Setting goals and tracking those goals can definitely help motivate you to run more and better and there are so many apps out there that can help you to do so. Nike Run Club allows you to track how many miles you’ve run and at what pace and stores that data for you to reference in the future. I also did a free month trial of the app Aaptiv and really enjoyed it, but I haven’t committed to the $9.99 per month or $49.99 per year subscription fee. During my trial, what I loved about it is trainers guide you throughout your run and tell you exactly what to do and when. They give you inspiration and motivation as they tell you how fast to run and what incline. There are tons of choices for any level and you have the ability to choose the runs based on the length of the run, type of music and whether you’re running outside or on the treadmill.
I am just beginning my running journey, but am already so proud of the progress I’ve made in just a year or so. I’m aiming to run my first organized race this fall and will keep you all posted on how that goes.
How do you feel about running and what has helped you most?