So You Want to Be a Runner

So You Want to Be a Runner? It's hard work but follow these 8 tips and you'll be running before you know it. | happyfitmama.com

I’d love to be a runner but I hate running.

I’d love to be a runner, but I don’t have time.

I’d love to be a runner, but it’s boring.

I’d love to be a runner, but I don’t like to sweat.

I’d love to be a runner, but it’s too hard.

If you are a runner, you’ve probably heard this line a million times from others who want to run.

So you want to be a runner.

The truth is, running is hard work. There’s no doubt about it. But just like anything, the more you do it, your body gets accustomed to the impact, the straining and the hard work. It does become easier BUT still hard all at the same time. It doesn’t make sense but trust me, you’ll understand once you get to that point. It becomes a different kind of hard.

I’d love to say that every single run I’ve ever done was pure bliss. Hardly. I’ve had some serious suck-tastic runs where I wanted to throw away my running shoes and say “I’m never running again. EVER!”

But I haven’t. And I won’t because I love it. Even the suck-tastic runs are good. You have to enjoy running to do it regularly and you have to run regularly to be fit enough to enjoy running. So the key is sticking with it.

Run because you enjoy it.

Go for a run in a place that makes you happy. Love the water? Run by it. Love the trails? Get dirty! Love to watch trashy TV? Catch up on it while you are on the treadmill. Find a running group and make it your social hour.  Running by the water will always make a run 100% more enjoyable for me.

Hawaii Run | happyfitmama.com

Go at your own pace

Don’t feel like you need to keep up with others. Find your own pace. When you first get started, you may need to try a run/walk combo. Running 5 minutes, walking 1 minute is a great way to get started to build up your endurance. As your build up your tolerance you’ll be able to extend your run/walk ratio. Eventually you will be running without breaks. Some people even find that a run/walk combo suites them just fine and continue on with that method for ever. It’s your own pace so stick to it!

Breathe

One of the hardest thing to get down when you first start running is how to breathe. Your lungs will burn. You may get side stitches because you are taking too much air in. Slow your pace down or walk if you need to. Shallow, fast breaths are not what brings oxygen to your hard working muscles. You want deep, controlled breaths.

trail running | happyfitmama.com

Find your motivation

What’s your motivation to lace up your running shoes? Want to lose weight? Want to run a 5K? Stress relief? Find what motivates you to get out there and get it done.

Cross train

A runner can’t live on running alone. At least a runner who doesn’t want to get injured. Cycling and swimming are great options for cross training activities. You’ll still be working hard but it will be a different action than running. Gym equipment such as the elliptical or Arc trainer are great too. Of course, strength and balance training are also essential.

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Dress the part starting at your feet up

Start with shoes and work your way up. For me, shoes are the key to having an enjoyable run. If your shoes aren’t working for you, then you’ll be uncomfortable, in pain or worse yet, injured. Once you’ve got that covered, then you can get the good tech gear that will wick away sweat and keep you (hopefully) chafe free.

Running shoes | happyfitmama.com

Never trust a run based on the first mile (or two or three)

The first 10 minutes of any run are going to feel tough. You’ll likely feel stiff, achy, tired and ticked off. Some days it feels like everything is loose in my skull and it’s bouncing around. That’s completely normal and part of transitioning from being sedentary to being in motion. If you keep pushing your body forward — even if you’re walking — your weariness will soon evolve into “Ok, I can do this”. I promise. Just commit to 10 minutes of movement.  You can do anything for 10 minutes. But more often than not, your muscles will feel warmed up, your heart rate will be elevated and you’ll start to feel energized, even excited to run.

Snowy trail run | happyfitmama.com

You don’t have to run a half marathon, marathon or even race

Not all runners, race. My dad has always been a runner but has never done one single race. It’s not his thing. And if it’s not your thing, don’t do it because you think you’ll get kicked out of the Runner’s Club. If you run, you are a runner. Plain and simple.

 If you are a runner, what are your tips for sticking with it?

23 comments on “So You Want to Be a Runner

  1. All great tips. I tell new runners to start out slow, and to take walk breaks while they condition themselves. This time of year, I see a lot of kids in the clinic for “trouble breathing” while the gym teachers make them run the mile, and while I give them inhalers, I really believe they are running too fast for their current level of conditioning. I wish the teachers would let them pace themselves better. I bet more of them would become runners…
    Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home recently posted..CautiousMy Profile

  2. I always tell people that ANYONE can be a runner. But I also think that there’s not point in forcing it if it’s not your thing (and there are those people out there!). I try to help new runners understand the importance of taking it nice and easy for literally months on end. I think too many want to go out and run all the miles and all the speed and wind up injured or discouraged.
    misszippy1 recently posted..My podcast is live!My Profile

    1. Exactly! Not everyone is a runner. If you really don’t like it, don’t do it. Finding something you enjoy will make it a lifetime habit rather than a right now habit.

  3. I love this! People always tell me how they hate running and I always say, “I know. It sucks. But it’s awesome!” It’s a weird dynamic…I was just telling my husband yesterday how I feel like my 4th mile is really where I start to feel good and I sail after that…it’s just the first 3 that I have to get through! It’s tough but so worth it in the end! 🙂
    Kelly @ Laughter, Strength, and Food recently posted..Last Glimpse of VacationMy Profile

  4. I love this! My husband wants to start running but it’s really tough for him because he doesn’t want to race, run around other people, or push really hard. I think that the hardest part is going out for that first run! Once you start doing it regularly it becomes so much easier and a lot more fun.
    Kristen recently posted..Race Recap: Klondike Road RelayMy Profile

  5. Excellent point about being comfortable with your own pace, and the hard parts about learning to run. I did Couch to 5k three years ago, and it was incredibly helpful to start with a walk/run program. Every time I’d tried to take up running previously, I would just try to run continuously and get so frustrated within half a mile and head home! I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me to take a walking break or recover, and then keep going.

    I think it’s important to choose goals that motivate you and you enjoy, and regularly re-evaluate what makes you the happiest runner. Sometimes I’m training for a half marathon, sometimes I’m just running a few days a week and checking out new exercise classes. I always stay a runner, but my running ebbs and flows and I love that.
    Kelly Caiazzo recently posted..Would you like to become a runner?My Profile

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