This email comes from Katrin:
I really adore your blog and read it every single day (even on vacation ;))
But I have a question on running. I never did running for exercising before (only yoga, pilates and dancing for cardio), but I would like to start with it now. I don’t really know how to start (how fast should I go, how long should I run,….) I tried to run around the block this morning and had to stop after being drenched in sweat and having severe pain in my side. Am I going too fast maybe?
So I was wondering, how did you start running and what hints do you have for someone like me?
Thank you so much (for everything you do!)
My Running Journey: From 1 Minute to 10 Miles
When I first started to run longer distances, I hated it.
I used to participate in track and field, but long distance was not what I took part in! I stuck to the short sprinting distances and relay races (think 60 metre sprints). I also did high jump and long jump. I was never a long distance runner and I couldn’t understand how people could be on the cross country team and just run and run for miles!
During the summer of 2008, I decided to give running another shot. At first, I could only run 1 minute at a time.
Only being able to run 1 minute at a time was hard for me to comprehend seeing as I was a cardio junkie. I could do a 1 hour cardio workout no problem, but once I hit the pavement I was huffing and puffing and my legs felt like lead. Suddenly, I felt so out of shape!
This is what I did:
I grabbed my stop watch and timed myself for 1 minute. I promised myself I would run the full minute and then I could walk. And you can bet I was starring at the watch almost the whole time.
I ran 1 minute and then walked 1 minute. Then I clicked the watch and ran another minute. I didn’t pay attention to my speed or have any fancy gadgets. I just did what I could during that minute, knowing that a rest would be coming up soon. My first running interval workouts were about 20 minutes in length.
Gradually, over time I started to run for a longer time. After a week or two of doing the 1:1 intervals, I increased the running for 2 minutes and then I did the 2:1 intervals until I felt comfortable to move up.
My best advice is not to rush it. Give your body enough time to build that running base. I also highly recommend getting some great running shoes. Go into a good sports store and have them watch you run, so they can fit you with a proper pair based on your needs.
I remember feeling so proud of two running accomplishments when I first started:
- Being able to run 5 minutes without stopping
- Being able to run 1 mile without stopping
The great thing about running is that improvements happen quite fast! If you listen to your body, give it proper rest, fuel with food, and do cross-training, your body will respond even better than you would ever imagine.
Here are some of my tips that helped me learn to run:
- Get intervals! If you are just starting out try 1:1 run/walk intervals or even 0.30:1. Gradually build up from there.
- Get a stopwatch. For me, having the distraction of a watch was key for my motivation. You don’t need anything fancy or any special gadgets.
- Get your rest. Always listen to your body. If you are sore (oh, and you will be very sore when you first start out especially!), give your body the rest it needs. Your muscles need time to repair so you can get stronger on your next outing.
- Get flat. Try to run on flat terrain for the first while, so you don’t get discouraged by hills. Baby steps.
- Get comfortable. Invest in some comfortable running shorts, sneakers, and a good sports bra. You don’t want your mind on uncomfortable clothes while you are learning to run.
- Get a calendar. Chart your progress! I wrote down each and every run in my Outlook calendar. You will have a visual to see yourself improving and you will probably be surprised at how fast you improve.
- Get a buddy. I didn’t have a running partner so it was a bit more difficult for me, but if you can find a running buddy it will help you stay committed. Try to find someone at your own level. You can also sign up for a Running clinic for new runners in your area.
- Get block. Exercising outdoors does a whammy on your skin. Protect it each and every time you leave the house.
- Get a 5k race. Had I not been so intimidated by races, I would have signed up for my first 5k race last fall. I was definitely ready for one. My advice to you is not to be scared to run your first race. They are fun, the people are friendly, and you will have a grin on your face for a week (at least!).
Are you interested in starting to run?
Do you have a running story? How did you start out?