If you had told me ten years ago that I would someday run a half-marathon, I’d have said you were crazy. I was the girl who walked the required mile run in high school and couldn’t relate to people who spent forty minutes or more on a treadmill.
Times have changed.
Six years ago, a friend’s encouragement inspired me to download a Couch to 5K program, and thus began my long journey into running. Since that first jog, I’ve completed a dozen or so 5Ks, two 10Ks, and a half-marathon.
By no means am I an expert on running, but I can give you a few pointers for getting started.
Find a beginners’ training program. I used a Couch to 5K podcast that downloaded directly to my iPod. It included intervals of walking and running. There’s more of the former at first, and then it builds up. This is key – Take each run and don’t look ahead too far. That will only intimidate you. You can do this, but it’s a process.
Choose a race and set a goal. Find a 5K that interests you. Three to four months out should be fine. This gives you a deadline and keeps you motivated to complete your training runs.
Get fitted for good running shoes. Find a fitness store where they will look at your gait and analyze your shoe needs. You don’t have to spend a lot of money, but the proper footwear will prevent injuries.
Have a running or check-in buddy. If you can find someone to run with you, take advantage. They’ll keep you accountable and provide good company. If no one will run with you, find someone you can check in with before and after runs. This is especially important if you run outdoors. I live alone, so I usually text a friend or two and let them know where I’m going and when they should expect to hear from me again. It makes me feel safer and more accountable in my running.
Be patient with yourself and listen to your body. It took me three tries over the course of a year to get through the Couch to 5K program. Don’t give up, and don’t be afraid to repeat a run or even week if you need to.
You might finish all of this and embrace running as a new hobby. You may complete the program and decide you never want to run again. Either way, at least you can say you tried it. Best of luck!