My Running Journey: From 1 minute To 10 Miles

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on August 20, 2009

This email comes from Katrin:

Hey Angela!

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?


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{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

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Susan August 20, 2009 at 5:15 pm

Your tips are spot on Angela!! I always wished I was a runner, but even after a couple years of doing it on and off, I could still only run for 5-7 minutes at a time. Then I did the Couch to 5k program (found here: By following that, I got up to 5k in 9 weeks and just kept going!! I recommend that program to anyone who wants to learn to run but doesn’t know where to start.

Oh, and I also always tell people to SLOW DOWN. Most people start by running too fast, and feel like they’re dying after a couple minutes. When you start out, it should feel more like a comfortable jog. The speed comes eventually :)


Jenn Eats Nutritiously Now August 20, 2009 at 8:17 pm

I’d love to be able to run, but I really think I need to lose more weight before I try hardcore. It’s just not easy running with so much extra weight on you.


Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) August 20, 2009 at 8:32 pm

Great tips for new runners to live by, and for seasoned runners to remember to keep doing. As the 43rd comment, I don’t think there’s anything new to be said other than to finish up your running with some stretching and yoga.

I’ve always been a runner, my husband wasn’t, and 9 years ago I entered us in a 5k and told him, ok you’re going to learn to run now. He ran in horrible form (we still laugh and call it high steppin’, he was like the preview to Baywatch running down the beach..hilarious) and ran all of about a quarter mile before he thought he was going to die. Needless to say, he survived, we both became better runners, and we do about 30 miles a week together with our 2.5 yr old in the jogging stroller.

Question for Angela? What is your go-to running outfit? We all have that fave sports bra and shorts. What’s yours? Mine is a beat up nike bra with BOA brand shorts.



Madelin @ What is for Breakfast August 20, 2009 at 9:57 pm

That is how I started running! I used the Couch to 5k interval programme and it worked really well for me.


Kelly August 20, 2009 at 10:31 pm

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for this, Angela. This post could not have come at a more opportune time for me. I’ve been seriously contemplating starting running but was really unsure how to begin; Google led me to so many conflicting possibilities and my secret negativity led me think I would just not be able to do it. But hearing that you started running such a relatively short time ago and in such a manageable way makes it seem so much more attainable for me. Thanks again!


Oxidaisy August 21, 2009 at 3:48 am

It is so good to hear that there are others who though that they were just not ‘runners’ who now run marathons and loving it!
I started a while ago on what I think is similar to the ‘couch to 5k’ program, only that it is in Dutch. I am about the leave the door to go do lesson 10 of 27! And thanks to you, Angela, I want to sign up for a 5k race after that. And hearing your story and those in the comment section made me confident that I might even continue to run after that! Thanks!


Katrin August 21, 2009 at 5:31 am

Thank you so much for answering my question and even making an post out of it! :)

I tried the 1 minute running, 1 minute walking this morning and felt really good afterwards. This slow pace was exactly the right amount, because I didn’t feel as dead as I did before and I felt so strong because I was able to do it for 20 Minutes.

And guess what, afterwards, walking the stairs up to my apartment, I had a HUGE grin on my face :)

So THANK YOU again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


allijag August 21, 2009 at 10:59 am

I know I’m a day late – but thanks for the “about me” post yesterday – I loved reading more about you! I copied and pasted it to my blog as well and everyone loved it! (don’t worry – I gave you props!) :D Thanks again!!!


Angela (Oh She Glows) August 21, 2009 at 11:09 am

I LOVED reading everyones story! wow!

Julie- When I say run, I basically mean to run at a comfortable pace for yourself. It will vary for everyone! Only you can be the judge. Remember- you want to keep it FUN so you dont always have to go ‘all out’ and sprint at all.

Averie- My go to running outfit is Lululemon apparel. I love their stuff and it lasts FOREVER. Ive had stuff for like 5 years now and still wear it. I wear black cropped pants or shorts with a lulu tank w/ built in sports bra.


Courtney L August 21, 2009 at 11:36 am

I started with a run/walk program, but after a couple months, I felt like I wasn’t really getting anywhere (I was improving, but I felt like it was pointless). It wasn’t until I decided to train for a 5k that the passion really stuck. I have been using Hal Higdon’s training programs and I have never been so dedicated to anything. This girl is waking up at 6am tomorrow (Saturday) to run 6 miles and that is something I never would have dreamed possible.


lyss October 21, 2009 at 6:28 pm

Thank you for this! I just started up a blog to document my journey from non-runner to runner, and this gave me TOTAL inspiration! I only have a stop watch and can’t yet run for much more than 1 mile without stopping, but I’m not giving up! I WILL run my first race in April! Thanks Angela!


Eliana >^..^ November 29, 2009 at 9:29 pm

I love this post! It answer a lot of my questions I had for you. ;O)

I started running a week ago, and I already can run 1 mile without stopping but nothing more. I really thing that signing up for a 5K or any race is the best way to motivate you. My first 5K will be in February. :O)

Thanks for the tips.


ashley October 20, 2010 at 6:32 pm

I’m glad you linked back to this! As an avid runner in high school that’s trying to get back into it, it’s so nice to read that you didn’t just magically start out as an amazing runner. Great tips!


Jen October 21, 2010 at 9:40 am

Hi Angela-

I’m new to blogging and to working out. I just wanted to let you know that you’ve helped to inspire me to live a healthier lifestyle! Thanks so much for the running tips, I’ve always wanted to become a runner but gave up several times because it’s so difficult. I’m going to try try again!



Ali October 27, 2010 at 12:58 pm

Running terrifies me, but I’d really like to try it. I have horrible stamina despite how much cardio I do in other forms. I think I’ll try 1:1 and build from there…if I even get that far! Do you think it’s okay to start on a treadmill?


Heather July 6, 2012 at 10:02 pm

I have never had any real desire to run, until recently. The thing is, I SUCK at it! I run like Phoebe from Friends. Has anyone else overcome the problem of looking stupid while running? Is it something that wears off in time, or do I just have to deal with it? It’s embarrassing…


Sarah July 24, 2012 at 4:45 pm

You are my absolute HERO! I found your blog about a year ago I think while browsing through and have been completely enamored since! I’ve flirted with vegan eating for a very long time but considering I live with my parents still, I haven’t really had a chance to really grow into the curiosity. However, I just found this post and i can not wait to start following your advice for running! I am joining the army and am horrendous at running so have been fervently been avoiding it but with your easy (and very kind!) advice (instructions) I feel encouraged to do my best… hopefully I’ll be able to grow without being too hard on myself thanks to your guidance.


Angela (Oh She Glows) July 25, 2012 at 3:30 pm

Hey Sarah! Aw thank you, I’m so happy you enjoy the blog so much! Goodluck with your running training. Just take it slow and don’t be afraid to take walking breaks as you need them.


Marissa (WY) August 24, 2012 at 8:19 pm

Today I ran my first 10K and finished strong. I’m glad I wasn’t the last to the finish line, I was too worried about not being the last but I actually had fun. My husband (Military) currently TDY was not there to cheer for me. My daughter came in the morning before she go to work just for support but I had nobody waiting for me in the finish line. Kind of sad but it’s so worth it. I will train for my first half marathon and hopefully for my first full marathon. I used to hate running but for some reason it relieves a lot of stressed off my head so I will continue on. Wish me luck with my running journey! And I wish everybody luck as well with yours.


Kimberly October 29, 2012 at 2:40 pm

I too suffered from an eating disorder and ironically it was running that changed me and my life around! I began to love running so much that I realized I had to eat well in order to continue to do what I love! Here is an excerpt from my page

I am a runner. I love to run and for awhile now it’s been a big part of defining who I am. A new talent and passion that was unexpectedly discovered during a very difficult time in my life, running became, and still is, my gateway, my avenue, my place to go to when I need strength. When I run, I run through my stress, my frustrations, my anger, my worries and my fears, clearing my head to make room for happiness, for thoughts of what’s possible and to daydream of the impossible. All allowing my mind to wonder to it’s own special world where nobody can reach me or touch me, running leaves me with a greater emotional strength than where I started. It’s running that motivates me for everything else the day holds. Whether I’m out on an everyday run or in a race, in that moment, life is about being the best I can be and nothing else matters. It’s about choosing between settling for average or being a superhero version of yourself. And there’s nothing like the feeling of crossing a finish line of a race, knowing that you gave it your all, ran your hardest and fought through the physical pain in exchange for that feeling of strength, confidence, joy, and greatness. That feeling that you can’t help but smile. Running is me, it’s a place I love to be, and the only place where I can feel absolute freedom. I love running for everything that it is and for everything that it’s given me.


Melanie January 6, 2013 at 10:56 am

Thank you so much for this post. I did some running last year and ran a 5K on July 4th but over did it and haven’t ran since. I realize now I had not trained properly. I am just starting again as I would like to run a couple 5K’s this summer but want to be in better condition than I was last year. This is very helpful to get started again. I like the idea of tracking my progress on a calendar so I can see the results. Thanks again.


Christine February 5, 2014 at 5:37 pm

I have just started really training for long distance runs last Monday. I have never run on a treadmill before this, but I just got my mother’s old treadmill working again and I have been running 4-5 miles a day at a 4.5 mph speed. However, this is the second week I have been using the treadmill, and I physically cannot even run 30 minutes without stopping, because my legs are (not sore), but beyond tired! I am just wondering if anybody else has gone through this phase, and will I soon be able to run 4-5 miles a day without stopping again?


owen April 7, 2014 at 3:17 pm

How long did it take you to run from 1 min to 30 min?
How many days did you run per week?


Jo July 24, 2014 at 11:08 am

I have a question I am 75 yo I run 6 days a week, 6000 to 10000 steps, but I just can run 3 minutes, max 5 and have to rest 2 min, do you think I some day can run from home to where I go and come back running, I dream to do so.I eat the best I can,


Tonya March 15, 2015 at 3:00 pm

I can’t wait to start running this week. Your blog is such an inspiration


Carissa Singson April 24, 2015 at 7:58 pm

Hi! I just started a week ago following Jeff Galloway’s plan. Reading all the comments is such an inspiration since I feel like I am never getting off the 1 min run/1 min walk phase. When I see people being able to run for miles straight after starting with just a minute of running, it encourages me to just keep on going. I am just so out of breath after a minute of running, it feels almost impossible for me to run 5. So thank you for sharing all your wonderful experiences. By the way I am from the Philippines and running in this heat is just crazy! :)


Colleen Woodcock May 18, 2015 at 8:36 pm

I just recently started outside running and have never done it before other then running on a tread mill, what a difference, it takes some getting used to. I am only able to do a 12 min mile it seems, but am glad I can run 4 miles without stopping, trying to work up to 5 and increase my speed. I find that breathing steady and even, really helps me keep going as soon as I find myself breathing erratically, I find my run gets harder and as soon as I even out my breathing its easier yet again!


Lindsay November 8, 2015 at 7:08 pm

Hi Angela, I absolutely love your enthusiasm for running but would love to know what you find so fun about it. I’m in school and I’m naturally quite a good runner but I usually only run when I’m training for cross country or for fitness. I would love to love running but I don’t really know why people are so enthusiastic about it, do you have any suggestions?


Tiffany February 25, 2017 at 11:31 am

I am currently running outdoors more and thought something was wrong because I struggled to run longer than a minute. This post lets me know it is okay and this is normal. I appreciate the tips!


Jen May 25, 2017 at 4:56 pm

Thank you for this post and the comments! I have been running on a treadmill for 2 years, I thought I was doing great! This week I decided to run outdoors, and enjoy the fresh air. I barely could run for 6 mins! I was so disappointed in myself. Today was even worse! Just one block and I couldn’t get myself back to a run, my legs felt like lead, my lungs were so sore. I’m not giving up but I have to say hearing all these positive posts makes me excited to see my progress in a few weeks! Thanks everyone!


SG July 12, 2017 at 6:53 pm

Hey Angela,
Today was my second day of running and it feels amazing. However, currently i am in a same state you were in 2008 XD. Thanks for all the tips and advice. It was a great read; it really helped me to get rid of unnecessary thoughts that i had back of my mind.

Other factors that are currently motivating me to continue running are other fellow Runners.
i just had a random visit to Victoria park and Regent’s park at London today and as it is summer time there were many Runners enjoying their good run and most of them were actually good (Maybe it was flat area like angela said) . Even though they were good runners, many of them weren’t on good shape.

I am 5’7 and weigh around 60-62 kg. i don’t have a good physique but i also believe i am not over weight. Its amazing how the brains work. If you don’t believe you can run or improve; our brains tends to find 100 ways to distract ourselves from achieving even very small goals in life. But today , my brain couldn’t fool me rather it encouraged me to continue. WHY? because I want to improve and one day be able to do at least 10k run like other runners such as angela and other fellow commentators on this blog.

To help me with my running, i use App called Running which is available in ios (i haven’t checked on android). The app is free but need subscription to unlock all the features of app. However, if you’re a beginner like me , you dont need to subscribe. Free features are enough and great to start off but GPS needed for this app to run.


Veronica July 13, 2017 at 11:38 pm

Thank you, this is just what I needed!


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