Friday, May 30, 2014

How to Become and Stay a Runner- 4 Easy Tips

You like the idea of running. It seems like a nice easy way to exercise. But how do you get started?

I was looking for an easy way to moderately exercise during my first pregnancy, so I thought how about power walking? I could power walk. So off I began. But then a couple minutes into my mile, I thought to myself, this is taking too long. So I ran for a whopping 10-15 seconds and then walked again, then I ran another 10-15 seconds, then walked and so on. I could barely run, but I would do what I could until I had to stop and take a break. When I finished my mile I felt pretty good, out of shape, but still pretty good.

To my surprise, I kept at it. I kept trying to run a little farther without stopping each time. I had tried running before but would do too much too soon and would quit after a couple of weeks. The difference was this way I was slowly building up my strength and endurance. I remember being able to run with James for .75 of a mile without stopping. I felt like Super Woman! And now I can run 26 miles without stopping.

So how does a person go from one mile to 26 miles?

By simply starting! 

We won't even look at the dreaded 26.2 miles yet, but we will start at just a mile. You probably walk a mile just getting from one end of Walmart to the other. ( Don't you just hate it when you realize you forgot to grab milk and eggs and you're already in the cosmetic section clear across the store?!) 

The Couch to 5K app is a great starting plan for beginners. It is the same basics of what I did on my own. You walk for a couple of minutes and run for 30 seconds then repeat. You slowly build your running time while decreasing your walk time. If you don't have a smart phone then google is your friend. All you need to know about Couch to 5K is online. And who's your best friend? I am-- here's the link: Couch to 5K You're Welcome.

Here are some basic steps to help you get started.

1) Set a goal

     You always want to be working towards something. Sign up for a race that will challenge you. Even if it's just a mile race- a kids fun run with your niece, sign up and get going! A 5K is a great race to work towards. Sign up, get super nervous, and then train!!

2) Find a training plan. 

     Whether training for a 5K or your first half marathon, you need a good training plan. I didn't even know training plans existed when I ran my first 10K. Training plans help keep you on track and working towards your goal. They also have a Couch to 10K. I like Hal Higdon's training plans for marathon training. And Jeff Galloway also has some good plans as well.

3) Get fitted for the right pair of running shoes. 

     Any running store will get you fitted with the right pair of shoes for your feet. I ran for about 6 months before I got my first pair of running shoes. I didn't want to spend money on something I wasn't sure I would keep up with. I was only running a 1-2 miles a day so my pair of tennis shoes worked just fine. But having the right fit of running shoe makes all the difference especially when you are running distance. And dry wick running socks are a must! I bought mine at Target. I was getting blisters on my feet from my socks and my shoes were too tight which I didn't realize at the time, but I didn't get fitted at a running store. I knew nothing when I began running! So learn from all my mistakes. 

4) Get Started! 

    You don't have to wait until the new year to start something new, start today! Running/Walking a mile will only take you about 15-20 minutes. You roll out of bed, lace up your shoes and get out there. Just start. You can't become a runner if you never start. Every runner had to start somewhere. And don't be discouraged if you're not making as much progress as soon as you would like. Your speed will come in time as you build endurance and strength. Your lungs will become stronger so you can breathe easier as your running. And don't be embarrassed by people seeing you walking as you're trying to run- at least you are out there exercising! I recommend running about 4-5 times a week as you start out. Take a rest day every couple of days, but then get back out there.

I hear many excuses as to why people don't exercise. Which is funny because I never ask people if they do or don't exercise. I think they just feel guilty around the 6 month pregnant woman who ran 10 miles that morning.

I know some have valid excuses, but most do not. Mentally prepare yourself each day to get out there and get going. Take it one day, one mile at a time. You can do one day of running one mile, right? Each day, tell yourself you can do one more day, one more mile. And before you know it, you will have become a runner! And believe it or not you may even come to love it like I do!

So how does one become a runner? By being consistent.

Running a marathon may not be on your list of goals and that's fine. Just get started, set a goal, and work towards that goal. Once you've reached a goal work towards another goal. You alone will be your biggest motivator. Get out there and challenge yourself to do more than you did the day before.

Stay tuned for my next running post on how to add distance to your runs!

And just look at all the places you can go! These are all places I've run and races. One perk about traveling on deputation is all the places I got to see while on my morning runs. 

My sister in law Hannah hitting her first 100 miles run! 

First 10K on St. Pete Beach, Fl

Running in Florida and Somewhere cold maybe Oklahoma

St. Louis, Missouri- Ran my first 10.5 miles

First half marathon in Branson, Missouri

First and last Color Vibe Run in Akron, Ohio

First time running 101 miles in one month in Erie, PA

Running in Jersey City, with the NYC skyline to look at! First time I ran 13 miles! 

Running on the Berlin Trail in Deerfield, OH

First time running in 2 states on one run! Indiana and Kentucky!

Running in the heat in Florida! Jumped in the water to cool off! 

Running in Maine 

Running in Brooklyn, OH

Running in Russia!

Trails in Russia


  1. Your comment about just running today and doing it is where I'm at right now. :) I've upped my mileage lately to 6 miles each time I go out, and I don't let myself get discouraged thinking about whether I'll be able to do it next time, I just tell myself to get out there today and do it. :) 5 months preggo and still going, although not as much distance as you. ;) Good job! Isn't running such a great thing?! ~Sarah

    1. Hey Sarah!

      That's great to meet another running preggo! Haha. This week I'm 26 weeks along, and I feel like I'm starting to push myself too much. My body has energy as I go then I wear out early in the evenings. And if I do a speed run or long distance, I can barely run the next day. Which is so strange for me. So I've just been listening to my body and taking a rest day in between the harder workouts. Resting is hard for a runner but necessary! And upping to 6 miles a day is great!! You should train for a half or full after you give birth. I'm sure you would do great! How long have you been running? Keep up the good work! Running for two is the greatest! :) And yes, running is the greatest! I'm a little moody on days I rest thanks to my pregnancy hormones lol. I need the run or to stay busy! But I'm still able to hit between 30-40 miles a week. We shall see if it continues. :) Happy trails!!

  2. Just wondering, what do you wear when you run? I will not run in a skirt or culottes, so that leaves tight and immodest pants or shorts, which I don't wear either. Therefore, I exercise at home where no one can see. I would love to run, but the clothing is the issue for me. If I ever find an outfit that will work, I'll be using your tips! I am currently an avid aerobics lover. :)

    1. Hey Valerie!

      I run in a skirt with leggings or shorts underneath depending on the weather. When I started off, I wore a pair of long athletic woman's capri's that were loose and very modest. But then the Lord laid on my heart to wear a skirt while I run. My husband and I were on deputation and I didn't want to offend anyone with my running clothes. At first I thought it was a silly thing to do. But I found several knee length jersey knit skirts at Old Navy and Walmart sells them in the summer time too. It's a simple black skirt that has some flow to it and it looks cute too. As soon as I started I loved it. The skirt is much cooler on the hot summer days and easy to layer warm leggings underneath during the winter. ( I went to HBBC in OKC and my brother and his wife live in Weatherford, OK (Corleys), so I know how hot and yucky Oklahoma gets! And then throw in the hot wind!). I don't prefer culottes either, and it's impossible to find modest athletic wear for women. I suggest giving it a try. Who know's you may just like it! But staying active at home is great too! I just love the outdoors and the alone time I get with the Lord. It's just me and the open road!

    2. Thank you replying! I'll have to keep my eyes open next time I'm shopping. I haven't met the Corleys, but I do "know" Charity via a Baptist ladies online group. Perhaps I'll meet her in person sometime, and you, too! Thanks again.

    3. Yes she said she "knew" you too and that you were a writer and I found your blog. I "know" lots of missionary women all around the world that I've never met. Technology is nice like that! :)

    4. Just letting you know that I completed day one of the couch to 5K today! My husband had been doing it for a while (easing into it), so he went with me. I wear my workout pants and a 2x large tee shirt that we had by mistake. It's perfect! It comes way down and covers my hips, but gives me freedom of movement. I was surprised at the different muscles I worked today! It was great. Thanks for the encouragement. Oh, and my husband said he will probably get fitted with shoes after I shared your tip with him. He's been having feet problems and now he thinks that's why - wrong kind of foot-wear. Thanks, again!

    5. Hey Valerie! Thank you for the update on your running adventures! That makes me really excited for you! Stretching helps those sore muscles after a run too. Yes, having the right shoes and socks makes all the difference. I'm more of a cheap skate so I waited awhile before I invested money into running. Anyways, now I wish I would have had the right gear to start with, it would have helped avoid injuries. You two should sign up for a race together! Nothing says romance like training and running a race together! :)

  3. What a great blog post and just what I needed. I had started running before on a treadmill and was managing a mile a day but then my eating plan fell apart and so did my running. Since then I'm back down 25 lbs and ready to give it another try. I really want to be a runner, since hubby's getting into running also but the whole idea of running outside is a little scary.
    Anyhow, I'm so glad I read your post today, I'm planning on starting. I'll put on the Couch25k and give it a try. I appreciate the effort in his post and you sharing your knowledge on the subject. Hopefully not long from now I'll also be running but I'll be doing it down here in Croatia.

    1. Hey Tori!

      Let me first say, don't be afraid of running outside! I know it depends on your area but really not too many crazies are out first thing in the morning looking for joggers. haha I ran everywhere on deputation and never felt unsafe. Not sure how safe Croatia is but if it's like Russia, you should be okay. They may look at you funny for running outside but hey that's okay. I got lots of looks during the winter as I ran outside in the village, and a lot of people asked if I needed a ride. :) Happy running to you! Don't be discouraged if it's hard at first, it does get easier! :)