This question has come up a few times at work so I thought I would address it here. I think I get asked how to start running for these reasons,
- It is obvious running is important to me
- I do not look like a runner or an athlete.
- I run often and have sometimes run far, but I am not fast and I do not win.
It is clear I am not great at running, I do not get any obvious reward from running and I do not have a body made for running, yet I run and often proclaim to love running.
Maybe, there is more to it… so I get asked,
‘Stacey, how can I start running?’
Some truths about what I know about starting running.
1. Starting running is uncomfortable.
Running makes you out of breath, your lungs hurt! Who knew lungs could hurt?! I remember thinking my legs would hurt before my lungs would!
Running can make you feel self conscious. I still feel self conscious sometimes running, like should I be thinner if I am a runner? or faster? Should my face be this red or sweating? Are these shorts too short? Is my top too pink?
There is mental discomfort, a running mind commentary that won’t shut up! How far? how long? how much more?
All these things can happen. Stick it out.
- it is ok to walk when the running gets too hard, recover and start running again (but still push yourself to get out of breath and break a sweat!)
- have music to shut up negative mind speech.
- For the women invest in a high impact sports bra, I like shock abosrber.
- Run with a friend.
- Have a loop door to door to keep things simple.
- Do a bit of strength work to help prevent injury (try the 7 min work out app or just do some squats and some clamshell exercise)
Be prepared for discomfort IF it does arrive. Discomfort is ok.
The discomfort will normally leave after 10 – 15 mins of running. Push through it.
After 3 weeks of running, discomfort will leave. But be prepared, if you miss 3 weeks of running to start those 3 weeks of discomfort again.
2. Starting running gives a sense of freedom
A run commute with work clothes in a back pack or a post work jog even though it is dark and raining out. Doing not what you would normally expect of yourself.
When you let go of the worries, the expectations, accept the sweating, the out of breath and the discomfort, it is freeing.
3. Starting running gives you strength
Both body and mind will get stronger. Your lungs and heart will be stronger. Your determination will be stronger. Your legs, stomach, shoulders, ankles will be stronger.
Running gives you time to think, or for some, time to stop thinking. The opposite of stress is awe. Running gets you outdoors, under beautiful changing skies and light. In fields, trees or just running round your neighbourhood. Be awed by your surroundings, by running you are a part of them.
How can I start running?
You can start running, by putting on trainers (and for females a sports bra) and anything comfortable, by opening the door and just try running until you can’t bare the discomfort anymore. Then walk some. Once comfortable enough to run again, run again.
Keep going, don’t stop and give it time.
Three weeks. Keep going.
Explore. Commute. Race. parkrun. Or just keep running that loop round the block by your home.
And if you stop. Start again.