So, you wanna be a runner?
- Firstly, I need to slap a disclaimer all over this post about how I’m probably the world’s most unauthorized person (ever!) to give any type of running advice, but as this is one of the most popular questions I receive, I’ll try my best to answer. Just please keep in mind, these tips are simply from a tubby girl’s experience, a tubby girl who seriously never thought she’d run a marathon, let alone marathons (as in plural!).
You don’t have to run a marathon, umm wha?!
- The biggest thing I’d emphasize is start small. I know when you sign onto tumblr, create a fitblr (<— hate that word, don’t know why) blog, or read lots of health blogs, people tend to get super motivated “to run a marathon.” I NEVER had, ‘run a marathon,’ as a goal; I think I would have crashed and burned if I had. I signed up for a 5k race (which was a huge deal!), then 10k, 15k, 20k, ½ marathon, 30k and so on. So ya, to be a runner you really, really don’t have to run marathons! Hell, running a mile straight I still find impressive, as it’s actually pretty far. So take it one day at a time, and set small goals, and then who knows? Maybe one day we can run a marathon together! But if not, know you‘re still a runner if you’re getting out there and simply trying.
Walking is not failing
- Walking is o.k.! In fact, it’s great! It’s proven that if you run for 10 minutes, walk for 1, and so on, you’ll actually finish faster than someone, with the same age/stats, that runs the same distance continuously. I can’t stress this enough; walking is not failing!! Just make sure you keep moving. I still run 10 minutes, walk 1, and despite lots of people thinking ‘walking = fail,’ I still consider myself a ‘runner.’ 10 minutes is also a bloody long time to run when you’re starting out, so start with, “run 3, walk 1” or something, and build your way up.
Join a running group
- This is pretty much how I ran my marathons. I had an amazing (amazing!) support group (besides the tumblr one, obs). If you live in the land of free health care, tundra and polar bears, such as I do, it’s super easy! I’m the Running Room’s #1 advocate – it’s seriously AMAZING! Their programs range from learn-to-run,- 5k, 10k, and ½ to full marathons. 99% of running will then simply be showing up. However, if you’re elsewhere in the world? sadly I can’t give you specific advice, but use your bff, Google, and look for one. It’s so worth it, you’ll meet fabulous people (I’m convinced runners are just happier people) and you won’t regret it. Don’t be worried about being the last one in the pack, I was for months, and months (and then even more months), but everyone was so nice, and people would wait (despite me shooing them on), but it forced me not to be lazy, and keep trying. And who cares if you’re slow? Being last didn’t kill me, and it won’t you (promise)!
Listen to your body.
- Not everyone is meant to run. Running, especially long distances, is quite an unnatural thing, so your legs, and body are bound to suffer. Don’t be stupid; pain is your warning. At the beginning of 2010, I took nearly two months off for knee issues. Every day off was worth it. Rest days are just as important as running days.
Sign up for a race!
- This may be the most important one. Sign up for a race (active.com or runningroom.com) And then tell people! Facebook status it (be that person!), tweet it, send a blimp up into the air with it. This is probably my biggest motivation to run, “shoot… I have to, the race is in 3 weeks, and everyone is expecting me to run it.” This? this works.
Spend the money
- Running is a pretty cheap activity (exception: shoes and races), but if you’re like me, and are shallow, and wants needs to look decent while running (because omigod the people in the cars will see me), I allowed myself to buy flattering, cute tops/clothes. It helped get my ass out there. (side note: the people in the cars? Ya… they really, really don’t care about you, and if they do? They’re impressed.)
You don’t have to run as often as you think
- For reals. Two days off a week min. When training for my full there were weeks where I only ran 4 times. Personally, I always thought to run races I’d have to run every day, but that’s not the case. Your body’s muscle memory is awesome-awesome, and 3 or 4 times a week is enough. Don’t set goals of ‘running everyday’ as you’re not a machine, and will thus crash and burn.
Push through your comfort zone
- This point? This point I’ve only recently actually understood. So I’ll let you in on a secret; long distance, slow ‘n steady running? Ya… that type of running will NOT make the pounds fall off (BOOO!). BUT, fast, SHORT, sweaty, omigod-I’m-about-to-die runs? Ya… they will. You HAVE to push through your comfort zone. I suck at this, but it really is the only weigh (tehehehe) to lose weight from running. Learned this one the hard way.
If it was easy, everybody would do it
- Running is hard. The actual act of running is not soothing to the soul (at least for me), or anything like that. It’s hard, uncomfortable, and the opposite of lying in bed, and as that’s a favourite past time of mine? Running doesn’t bode well with my soul, BUT it’s more worth it than words can describe. The feeling of accomplishment after a run, or crossing a finish line (especially if you’ve ever been a lazy-(chubby)-ass, such as myself) is indescribable. You don’t need to run for hours, or even an hour, but just get out there, and do something. And despite how awesome or crappy your run is, go again, and again, and again, and I promise you, your body won’t defy the laws of being human, and then little, by little, it’ll get easier, and easier, and I have no doubt you’ll be astonished at where your feet can take you.
Good luck, and happy running!