I started running during my first year of college. I used to run 10K races (6.2 miles) here and there just for fun because my friends were doing it. To be honest I didn’t enjoy the act of running itself very much but it felt good to be part of a group of people who gathered early on any given Sunday to run through the streets of Caracas (plus any excuse to hang out with my friends was good with me)
It wasn’t until I moved to the U.S. in 2010 that I took running seriously. I always played sports back home but here I couldn’t find anything I was interested in so I decided to sign up for my first marathon. A few months later I ran the Chicago Marathon and the feeling of accomplishment was so big that I decided to run another marathon, and another one, and another one. Flash forward to 6 years later and I’ve ran 10 marathons, 13 half marathons and 2 Ironman 70.3.
But I’m no expert. I just enjoy pushing my body to its limits. After you participate in your first race or cover a distance that you’ve never ran before you’ll get such a big feeling of accomplishment that it’ll have you coming back for more… At least that’s what happened to me.
If you want to take up the sport but don’t know where to start, here are some tips that may help you:
1. Start running by feeling: set mini goals such as running for a minute and walking for 3 minutes for an hour, or running to that school that’s down the road from your house and walking back. Don’t worry about how fast or far you are going. Just start moving!
2. Make space on your calendar to go running and make it a priority: time should never be an excuse. Wake up an hour earlier, take your kids with you on a stroller or go at night when your family is already asleep. If you really want to do it, you’ll have to make time for it.
3. Cross-train: some people get so excited about running at the beginning that they overdo it and then get injured. This can be frustrating and can affect your long term goals. Cross-training will help you avoid injuries and also will get different muscles of your body moving. Try swimming, biking, yoga, weight lifting, barre or anything else you enjoy.
4. Start by running 3 times a week: do one easy run, one speed/interval session and one long run. Increase your distance by 10% every week.
5. Join a local run club: running with people will give you a boost! It’s great to surround yourself with others that share your same interests. You’ll make new friends and will probably push a bit harder… Motivation!
6. Sign up for a race: another great way to get motivated. Join a local 5k or 10k and train for it. There’re many plans online that you can try and that will keep you on track.
If you try running for a few months and come to the conclusion that you don’t like it, it’s ok. Let it go and find another sport!
The speed or distance doesn’t matter, just lace up your shoes and put one foot in front of the other!