How To Start Running

Well, ya’ll. Tomorrow’s a big day.

how to start running

Yes, it is Thanksgiving, and yes, I plan on stuffing myself with yummy food and enjoying time with my family, but there’s something else very exciting happening.

I’m running my first 12k! (The 8-mile Turkey Trot in Dallas.)

Actually, I’m running my first run really….ever.

Here’s the quick backstory: For the past three years, my family has traveled to Dallas to spend Thanksgiving with family. In addition to this new tradition, we’ve been participating in downtown Dallas’ Turkey Trot each Thanksgiving morning. There’s a 3 mile run and an 8 mile run. For the past two years, I’ve run/walked the 3-miler with my youngest sister. Neither of us have ever really been up to run 8 miles like the rest of my sisters and parents, so we go slow, pet a lot of dogs, and have fun.

My new year’s resolution for 2016 was to run more. Previously, Thanksgiving morning was the only time I’d ever run. And since all Clara and I really did was run to catch up to cute dogs, it wasn’t exactly full on running. 

Around May, I started going for runs 2-3 times a week. After a couple weeks, I got this crazy idea in my head that I would work up to being able to run the 8 miles for the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving.

Well, ya’ll. Here I am. I’m running 8 miles tomorrow, and 7 months ago, I’d never run more than a mile in my entire life.

Trust me, my first thought was HOW THE HECK AM I GOING TO DO THIS.

Well, it’s not as hard as it looks, folks. So today, my tips for you on this fine, Thanksgiving day are all about how to start running. It may be your New Years resolution soon or maybe you just want a good way to enjoy the cool air and work off the pumpkin pie.

I’ve got you covered.

Step 1: Gain inspiration

If you’re just running because you feel like you should, you won’t run. You need something to push you! You can do as I did and schedule a run for a few months out. This is highly, highly effective. I knew that I had to keep pushing because I didn’t want people scooping up my body from the Dallas streets at mile 2. Maybe your inspiration is new Lulu Lemon running tights. You can buy yourself a pair, wrap them up in a box, and not let yourself open them until you’ve reached a goal like “run twice every week for three months”.

Find your inspiration.

Step 2: Get the necessary supplies

I didn’t really need to buy any new shoes or workout gear for running because I’d already been working out for several years. I rounded up my favorite pair of Nike LunarGlides, Nike leggings, and Lulu lemon running top. That, plenty of water, my headphones, and a good Spotify playlist were all I needed.

Step 3: Find your running happy place

Most of you will start out in your neighborhood or near your campus/apartment and that’s a great start. Trying going for a walk with a friend and finding a good route for you to do. I recommend something that loops, so that you can easily add on the loops to create a longer distance.

You may be someone who really needs to be distracted by your surroundings and other people working out around you. Try searching for parks or running trails near you. I found a great one about 10 minutes from me, and it’s a 3-mile loop, so most weeks, I go and do 2 loops for a nice, long run.

Step 4: Start small

If the first day you go out you only run a mile or you only run down to the next stoplight past the intersection your apartment is at, that’s totally fine. You have to start somewhere. Plus, you’re working out! You’re moving your body and giving it oxygen and love. Take note of how far you’ve run (I like to use the Map My Run app) and just aim for even .2 miles longer the next time.

Step 5: Create a schedule to meet your goal

I knew I wanted to run 7 miles by November. That meant, each month prior, I needed to add another mile to my personal best distance. When I started out in May, I could run 2 miles pretty easily. June, I did 3. July I did 4. Finally, in August, I hit 5 and was ecstatic! Later that month, I could do 6 (ahead of schedule). The longest I’ve ever done is a 7.4 last month in October.

Your goals will be different. That’s ok!

I switch it up, too. It’s not like each time I go out there now I need to do 7. Some days I run 3 and then a few days later, I’ll try to do a 5 or a 6. In between days I run, I go to the gym and walk on the treadmill, do simple ab workouts, and do yoga videos from Yoga With Adrienne.

Step 6: Hold yourself accountable

This was the hardest part for me. Especially when school gets busy, I find it hard to take the hour or so that I need to drive to my running trail, run for an entire hour, come home, shower, eat, etc. I’m always glad I did it though when I do. So, for me, that’s my push. I know I’ll feel great after and I’ll feel even better throughout my day.

I set alarms for myself to remind myself to go, and I definitely don’t get any rewards or treats if I don’t go, haha. An example of a reward is a coffee from Starbucks or maybe a new book. (I know, I’m a nerd.)

Find your accountability system, whether it’s notes you leave for yourself or a running buddy.

You can do it! What are your tips to start running? Or will you try any of these tips to get started?