Running is hard. It’s nearly impossible to wake up one day and decide to run 10 miles. It takes practice and momentum to get to that point, and the hardest part about running is to start. In fact at the beginning, being able to get off the couch is a win in itself.
As an athlete, I have been running in very small increments my whole life. I would just hop on the treadmill for about 20 minutes and not think much of it. But once I decided that I wanted to run more frequently, the process wasn’t as easy anymore.
Getting yourself to run every day is a feat. It’s one thing to run once in a while on a treadmill, but once you start running daily and tracking miles, the game changes.
When I first started running more seriously about a year ago, I made many mistakes.
Although I wouldn’t call myself a pro runner now by any means, here are some tips that I have learned along my running journey:
1. Start with a body ready to run. I began to run again when I was still getting over an injury — which was idiotic, to say the least. I was bored and antsy during the deepest part of COVID-19 quarantine, and thought running was going to fix all of my problems. That could have been true … if I also wasn’t dealing with a broken foot. Ignoring the fact that I was injured prolonged my recovery, and I totally deserved it. If you take away anything from my tips, let it be this: Don’t run with a broken foot.
2. Now that you have a body that’s ready, start slow. Begin with a long walk or a short jog. If you are like me and literally starting from the couch, your body will thank you for taking this ease — and you will progress faster while still keeping your body active. Once you’re ready for the next step, start running every so
often. A quick jog on your walk is a great way to start. Then, once you get into a running groove, add on miles in 0.5-mile increments. Trust me, you will feel every step when adding on the running distance, so don’t go from a 1-mile run to 5 miles overnight.
3. Find what works for you. Not everyone is a long-distance runner, and that is perfectly fine. It’s important to find your running sweet spot, which can also change over time. Running should be about what makes you feel comfortable. I like to keep my runs under 6 miles. With my bad feet, I can’t go beyond that distance right now. Every runner has different goals, so don’t compare your miles to others.
4. Make sure to stretch, hydrate and do some core exercises throughout the week. If you only run, your stamina will quickly plateau and stop improving. If you want to add some miles to your runs, then you need to strengthen your body. Core exercise will be your saving grace at the end of a long run.
5. Take rest days. A rest day is just as important as the longest run you do in a week. Your body needs time to chill and decompress. A rest day will fuel you to go even farther the next day.
Running is intimidating, but it’s fun. And the post-run feeling is indescribable. Even though Marathon Monday has passed, let’s get off the couch and start running because who knows? Maybe we’ll be cheering you on in a future Marathon Monday.