One of the BEST gifts you can give yourself today is to start running.
There...I said it! I know lots of people that say running isn't for them, and I totally respect that. But also....are you a little scared? Because I also get that too.
When I first started running 20 years ago, I was terrified, mortified and also slightly excited. But honestly, I would only run after dark, and with a baseball cap pulled down over my face, because I was TERRIFIED of someone seeing me!
And yes, in the beginning it often sucks. But believe me when I tell you, it truly does get better, and it truly is worth it.
And honestly....it has truly been a much needed lifeline for so many moms I know this year. It is the gift of alone time, it is the gift of self-care and it is the gift of endorphins galore.
So how do you get started?!
1. Invest in the right pair of running shoes - in fact, go to a running store to get fitted (as long as it's safe obviously) - believe me, you will potentially save thousands in physical therapy bills in the years to come!
2. Protect your girls and get a good sports bra. This will make all the difference between hating and loving running. And make sure you get the right fit for the size of your ladies :)
3. Join a running group. Even a virtual one. Accountability and camaraderie are AMAZING reasons for lacing up and getting out the door, even when you don’t want to. I have a wonderfully supportive running group on Facebook, feel free to request to join here
4. Focus on time over distance. It does not matter a jot how fast you are running or how far in the beginning - forward is a pace! Slow it down and be patient.
5. In the first month or so embrace the run-walk method. For example, running for 3 minutes and walking for 1 minute right from the start of the run can improve your energy and endurance over the entire run. Run by run, week by week you can increase the run times and decrease the walk breaks, and before you know it, you’ll be running 5k without stopping.
6. Just accept that the first 3 weeks are going to be shit. They just are. It will feel like hell, you won’t be able to breathe, it will seem like an eternity. And then little by little, you start to actually enjoy it. And before long, you realize you’re actually addicted! You can’t see it now, but believe me, it will happen!
7. Take time to intentionally focus on your breathing while running. The best way is to inhale and exhale using both your nose and mouth combined - this will keep your breathing steady and engage your diaphragm for maximum oxygen intake. Also try counting your breaths in and out - in for 2, out for 2, so that you can intentionally try to slow that breathing down.
8. And while we’re talking about counting - if you’re having a tough run, or just can’t stop thinking about stopping, try counting. I often count to 100 over and over during a run. It focuses my mind, stops me going down a negative rabbit hole, and sets a good rhythm.
9. Remember that rest days are training days, too. If you want to build muscle AND avoid injury, respect the rest day!
10. Of course, cross training on rest days is acceptable and actually complimentary to your running! To get cross training tips & advice, email #motherrunner Louise Parker (7 time marathon runner and Boston qualifier) at firstname.lastname@example.org
11. Make running a habit. Plan ahead of time when you will run, and how many times per week. Write it down in your calendar, tell your spouse, and plan to run with your friends. When you start to think “when will I run this week?” instead of “should I run this week?” your whole mindset changes.
12. Keep a training log. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, it can just be a little journal - but documenting mileage, pace, how you felt and how much stronger you’re becoming helps you to objectively see your progress.
13. Set small, achievable goals. Getting wins every week helps you to feel like a freaking running rockstar! Make sure you’re feeling that success every week!
14. Increase mileage gradually to avoid injury. The general rule is to add no more than 10 percent per week to your total weekly mileage. So if you run 10 miles your first week, add 1 mile the next week.
15. And last but by no means least….remember that YOU ARE A RUNNER! Whether you are a fast runner or a slow runner, a new runner or an experienced runner….if you are here you are a runner. There is no such thing as a fake runner!