Feeling Fit is Feeling Good: How to Start Running

ej5k
Me after a 5k run in San Antonio wearing my fancy (and old in age but not in mileage) Brooks Glycerin 9 shoes.

Another strange admission from me: I am enjoying being fit. I can now do things I could never do before like run in and out of a store without breaking a sweat or even getting out of breath, climb (more like run up) stairs in a football stadium or at work without even raising my heart rate, or chase the dog around the house (his favorite game) without getting tired or winded.

Losing weight opened up so many possibilities for me, the last of which I expected to be feeling good when getting fit. As I am working toward getting more fit, I actually like the improvements and how my body feels. I miss it when I skip a day of running. My legs actually ache more when I don’t run than when I do. And when I increase the distance I run? I actually feel better.

Weird.

If you’re not a runner and you’re still reading this, I applaud you. It’s because you’re either curious, not believing what I’m saying (because you’ve heard me say time and time again how much I hate running) or because you want to try it yourself. If it’s the first two, I’ve got nothing. But if it’s the last reason, I’m happy to say that it’s possible for you to enjoy running to!

Here is what I recommend when getting started.

  1. Get good shoes. This is super important. Your feet are your vehicles, and they need to be protected as best as possible. If you can, go somewhere that fits shoes individually. It’ll cost a bit more than Payless or even Academy, but your feet are worth it. This is your most important investment.
  2. Start with a plan to run a short distance. If you can’t run more than, say, 100 yards without stopping, make a goal of running a quarter of a mile, or half a mile without stopping. The way you do this is to keep your pace, but chop your steps. Turn it into a jog. It’ll take longer, but you’re building the stamina.
  3. Don’t push too hard, too soon, and don’t expect immediate gains. This is going to take some time. Be okay with that up front. You’re not in a race here. Take it slow and easy.
  4. Increase your distance as you feel comfortable. If you make no distance improvements after some time, that’s okay too. Just increase only when you feel ready. Trust me; when your body is ready, it’ll WANT to run farther.
  5. Fake it ’til you make it. Hate running? I did too! What changed? I told myself that I have to like this. I need to run, and I need to do so at least 4-5 times a week. Why do something you hate? That’s one of the hardest things to do. I figured that I might as well enjoy running since I’ll be doing it so much, and guess what? I actually DO enjoy it now. It’s something I look forward to, and while I’m doing it, I feel myself being active and making progress toward being a more fit person.

There are so many more tips I can give for running, but I don’t want to overwhelm you. Start with those five and then come back for more tips. I’ll have some posted soon!

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