Let me start with a little disclaimer – I am not a runner, never have been. Although I have always been pretty active with various group classes, and later – after baby #2 – with Beachbody home workouts, running was just never my thing.  I thought it was kinda boring.  But truth be told, I just couldn’t run for more than a few minutes.  I’d get out of breath, my heart would pound hard and I’d be done at that.

Beginner's guide to running

Photo credit: Cailey Shivers Photography

It all changed a few months ago, on my one year anniversary since I joined the first online challenge group. I started to feel stronger physically, and my cardio endurance level was up. Several rounds of 21 Day Fix, T25 Focus and Core de Force were finally paying off.  I was ready for a challenge. Running a 5K came naturally to mind, since my husband and several friends are vivid runners. Plus, I had some cute workout clothes I just got from Athleta for Christmas. The choice was clear.

So in January I started training for 5K and… quickly got frustrated.  Despite all the workouts, I still couldn’t run for long enough.  I wasn’t even sure how long enough *was* for beginners.  That’s when I knew it was time to look into a professionally designed program.  Couch to 5K came highly recommended, and as funny as it sounds – it worked!!

Couch to 5K takes 8 weeks to gradually ease you into running and increase the time.  For example, in Week 1 you may alternate running for only 1 minute and walking for 1 1/2 minute. Easy, right? But it works! I am celebrating a little milestone today – half way through the program.  Happy to report that I can easily run for 3-5 minute stretches!

The truth is so may people get turned off of running because they try to do too much too fast.  Take your time to let your body get used to training.  It will make it not only more doable but also enjoyable!

Some days are easy, others are hard. But I make it a non-negotiable. Rain or shine, the training happens! The last minute of the 5 minute stretch is usually the hardest, but I know that’s when my effort counts the most.  You’ve got to push yourself a out of a comfort zone to see the results. During weekdays I bring my toddler along and she ends up my biggest supporter occasionally cheering “Go Mom! Go!”.  On the weekends, my 7-year old rides his bike with us.

beginners guide to running


So here are a few tips I’d like to share with newbies like me:

  • Get on with a program.  They are usually slow paced at first. If you’ve never run before, you will appreciate how much you can do for your beginner level and that’ll build up your confidence.
  • Don’t compare yourself to photos of amazingly athletic runners on Facebook or other websites.  Those people probably have been training hard for many many years. You may get there one day, but for now focus on your progress.
  • Make it a non-negotiable. Get in the mindset that your running sessions have to happen.  Make it a priority.  If you think there is no way, make the way.
  • Get comfortable running shoes and clothes (cute stuff is a bonus :)). You will look forward to your runs!
  • Find your reasons “WHY”.  Keep them in mind when you feel unmotivated.
  • Keep going till you reach your goals and have fun!

Hope you feel a little inspired to give it a try (as always, consult your doctor first).  There are so many benefits!  Running is an effective way to lose weight and tone up.  It is a killer leg workout and will get your bottom bikini ready. Also, have you heard about the runner’s high?  I get it now 🙂

Running is a great way to stay active, but it can also be a fantastic supplement to your usual strength and cardio training routine, which is what I do. If you are a busy mom like me – consider combining your training time with a bike or a stroller ride with your kids. Getting them outside and active is obviously a very good thing!  Best way to get kids excited about exercise is to set a good example yourself.

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