Runners Guide for a Non-Runner (Like Me!)

I would consider myself a walker. I like walking and this isn't a slow pace either. I was born into a family of long legs and a quick pace so there is no such thing as slow walking. This is a heart rate up, hard to breathe, borderline speed walking kind of walk (haha!). I have to admit, though, that I am probably one of the slower walkers in the family, but I still consider my walks a workout, even if they are a light workout.

That being said, I have been planning on picking up running for years. I grew up with this mindset that running was for crazy people. Might be because my mom HATES running. When I realized, though, that that doesn't necessarily mean I have to hate it, I would randomly pick try it out only to find myself completely winded and with a pounding headache! And running in the heat? Don't even get me started on how miserable that is for me. So, I put running under my hate category as well. That's that, no point fighting it right? Well, the last year or so I started rethinking about my stand on running. I see runners everywhere and I always wondered how they did it. How does one run for more than 5 minutes, no make that 2 minutes, without getting out of breath and feeling like you are going to die?! Well, I decided to find out. So I googled runners guide to a new runner and turns out there are a lot like me interested in giving this running thing a try.

The first problem that leads me to give up on running time and time again is that I never worked up to it. I would just suddenly decide to go run, try it for a few minutes, run out of breath, get a breathing cramp, start walking and feel defeated. Turns out, like with most things, that the best way to start running is to start out small. Run a few minutes, walk a few minutes, and repeat. There are even plans laid out for you to follow down to the second. For beginners, they suggest running for only 10-30 seconds before walking. Guys, I can do that! I have decided to try this running thing again, and this time I will do it correctly. Some suggestions I learned and will be trying are listed below. Please share your running tips below if you have any! I can use all the help I can get.

1. Chose a run-walk method that fits your level of running. I will be starting at the beginners level so that means running up to half a minute before walking a few minutes for a total of 20-30 minutes. I will do this for at least a week and then evaluate how I feel.

2. Create a running schedule. Try to aim for 3 days of running per week. Two days of running 20-30 minutes, and then one day with a longer run, up to 40 minutes to an hour.

3. If you need extra motivation, sign up for a race! Paying for a race and having a set date can keep you focused on training if that is the kind of motivation you need. Pick one that fits your level. As a beginner, I don’t think signing up for a marathon might be the best idea for your first race, but that is totally up to you!

4. Find what makes your runs more enjoyable. I found podcasts to be great for distracting me from how tired I am. Music is nice sometimes, but it doesn’t distract me as much as listening to a podcast. Running for me is still a little terrifying so I need all the distraction I can get until I stop feeling odd running for longer than 2 seconds. For some of you, running with a friend will be the best way to get you out there and moving!

5. Of course, have a good pair of sneakers. Mine are pretty old, but still durable so, for now, I’m sticking with them. If you are new to running, you might not even have a good pair, so go out and get some! Don’t feel like you have to buy expensive ones either. I found a great deal for mine at DSW a few years back.

I am super excited to give this run/walk method a try and hopefully see an improvement in my running. I will never give up my walking, but mixing it up with some heart-pounding running will give me the workout I am looking for. Plus, any excuse to go outside and enjoy this fall weather won't do me any harm, right? If you have been waiting for a time to pick up running, join me! Let me know how the above suggestions helped you or if you added a few in of your own.

I used this link from New York Times as a guide for the run-walk method. If you just google run-walk method, though, you'll find a number of resources to use!

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