Every morning in Africa a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle or it will starve. It doesn't matter whether you're a lion or a gazelle-when the sun comes up, you'd better be running.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

How to Start Running

The miracle isn't that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.

The most frequently asked question I get is "How do I start running? I have never run before in my life!" Well have no fear, everyone started out as a non-runner at one point in their lives!
  1. Start out slow: If you have never run a single step in your life and you have not been exercising, you need to take things slow. You're not going to magically be able to run a 5k (3.1miles) your first time ever. A good way to get started is to run for 1 minute, then walk for 1 minute. Do this for 20-30 minutes. When you are able to do this easily then bump up the time. Run for 2 minutes, walk for 2 minutes, etc. You can customize this strategy to however your body feels. When you get up to 5 minutes, start decreasing your rest time. Pretty soon you'll be running ten minutes straight with no breaks!
  2. Don't be afraid/embarrassed: Remember, everyone started out the same as you at one point. Don't get stuck in the idea that everyone thinks you are so slow, or you're too fat to do this, or too old.
  3. Don't be afraid of the gym: Don't fall into the myth that everyone at the gym is in shape. The gym is a place for people to get in shape, not just for those who already are. No one is going to think you are lame if you run a little and walk a little
  4. Get some decent running shoes: I can't tell you which ones are best for you, a good running store can help you with that. But I can tell you DO NOT run in your Converse, or your skater shoes or whatever your normal tennis shoes are. You will get injured so fast that you will hate running. You don't have to get the most expensive shoes on the market, but at least get a pair that you know are made for running.
  5. Don't get discouraged: Remember, running is hard. I never said it was easy, only that it can be fun! So make running enjoyable for yourself. If you don't want to go by minutes, look for landmarks around you. Say "I will run to that next lamppost and then I will walk to the mailbox". This makes running so much easier because you are giving yourself a goal that you can see.
  6. Train for something: Getting your butt out the door to start a run is much easier if you know in __ # of months you will be running a 5k/10k/Half-marathon/etc. Find a race that sounds fun and put it on your calender so you can be motivated for something. It also is fun to see the results of all your hard work.
  7. Last but not least-HAVE FUN: Running is fun!! I promise! It may be hard, and you will get sore, but find something about running that you like. Think of all the things you notice around you that you pass by in your car. Find a close running trail. Listen to your iPod. Enjoy the feeling when you're done. Whatever it is, you must find something that you like about running. 
I also recommend these three books for further enlightenment. There's even one just for women! Have fun running!
I also find this video pretty inspiring. From alcoholic to marathon runner, this is Brian Campo's story.
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