Just to give you some background, I was never much of a runner. I’ve always considered myself more of a swimmer. I swam competitively through high school.
Last Spring, I ran my first 5K at the LA Race for the Cure with Kristen. When I finished, I was so proud of myself you would have thought I had just run a marathon. My time was 33 minutes. Before that, I probably hadn’t run more than 1 mile consecutively. People laughed when I said I had to train for my upcoming 5K.
My mom does the OC Race for the Cure every year with “Team Taiwan”. I decided to run my second 5K at the OC Race for the Cure with my sister, and we came in at 29 minutes. Being around so many healthy and positive people at the 5Ks I ran last year made me seriously inspired to pick up running.
Running is still painful today, but it has slowly gotten much easier to get outside and start moving. This half marathon training has made me a strong believer in training hard and working towards a goal. Things seem much less daunting when you take it in baby steps.
I thought I’d put together some tips to share with other beginner runners.
1. Set a goal. Create a plan.
I honestly can’t emphasize this enough. Before starting my 12 week half marathon training, I kept telling myself that I needed to start running, and I was having a hard time keeping myself accountable. As scary as it seems, you have to take the leap and sign up for an event. Having something to train for gives you an end goal to work towards.
The next step is creating a plan. There are plenty of free training plans to choose from online. Find the one that works the best for you. I found one that had only running (no scheduled cross training) because being new to running, I felt like the most important thing for me was to get my body used to running and to slowly bump up the mileage. Having something to check off on my training plan is sometimes my single motivator to put on my shoes and go running when I’m exhausted from working all day.
2. Mix it up.
Run with a friend or find somewhere new to run. Use running as a way to explore your neighborhood.
Running can sometimes be a very personal sport, but having a friend to run with every so often helps push you to challenge yourself and keeps running from getting boring. My friend Nikki and I started running together every Wednesday. It helps make the journey to the half-marathon less lonely when you are working towards a goal with a friend.
3. Stop making excuses.
It will never be the perfect conditions to run. It will always be too cold, too hot, too hilly, too dark, etc. You will always be too tired, too sore, too busy, etc. Try to mitigate problems by getting the right equipment. I started buying long sleeved running shirts, so I could run comfortably in the morning and at night. Also, I finally starting liking running when I bought running shoes that worked for my form rather than my style.
4. Stick to it.
There will be days when you won’t be able to run and your training plan will go un-checked for the day. Don’t get discouraged. Don’t let that be the reason you quit. Missing one day will not kill you or ruin your chances of accomplishing the event you were training for.
5. Eventually, running will become cathartic.
It may have once been hard to believe, but running has slowly become a sort of de-stresser for me. Sometimes it is the only way for me to turn off my brain, and no matter how painful the run is, I always come back feeling relaxed and positive.
This one comes with time. First you have to have the patience to continue training past the gasping for oxygen/every part of your body hurts state.