How Do You Become A Runner? By Starting…

Ready to take on the running thing? Or at least give it a try? I know what you are thinking: “I am not a runner, I can’t be a runner, I can’t even run 1 mile non-stop” If this is your answer, then yes! you are ready! It is perfectly normal to feel that way, I’ve been there, many runners have been there. Unless you are extremely genetically gifted, nobody just wakes up one day and is able to run multiple miles non-stop.

As I was working on this post I came across Nichole’s post “Running Flashback: Where Were You One Year Ago?”, and even though I had this poster in already, I wasn’t thinking about sharing my story, but it made me realize how crazy that it was just one year ago that I was still disliking running and I could not run more than 1 mile non-stop.  Fast forward to today and a couple of races later {including 2 half marathons}… it is obvious I have caught the running bug.  I have also caught the blogging bug and I am loving the amazing community I’ve been able to connect with.  I have taken on the challenge of sharing what I’ve learned and hopefully be able to inspire others to “live fitter”. So with the 5K challenge group {of about 30 now} in full throttle, I want to start by taking it back to basics and talk about some things I wished I knew when I started… and keep working with constantly.

1. Know your limits: this is particularly important with running because running is a sport that requires patience. Many think that because everyone can run, everyone can be a runner, and this could not be further from the truth. Running is just like any other sport, it requires practice, technique and building up to higher levels. To prevent injuries you should always be aware of your limits based on your training history and physical readiness. Now, don’t get me wrong I am by no means telling you to hold back, but always work towards building up those limits in a structured way, with a training plan.

2. Training plan: pre-defined training plans are specially good when starting.

I highly recommend the “Couch to 5K” program for beginners: http://www.coolrunning.com/engine/2/2_3/181.shtml

There is also a treadmill version: http://www.c25k.com/c25k_treadmill.html
And of course, there is an app for that:
There is also numerous apps to help you keep a log of your runs.  It is recommended that you log and note your runs, which can be useful when creating more advanced training plans in the future; thru your logs you might be able to identify certain patterns you wouldn’t notice otherwise.
Also make sure to incorporate stretching in your plan, whether before & after your runs, or fitting in a yoga class during the week, stretching is key for helping your muscles transition.

To be able to keep up with a training plan that will challenge you to get to the next level, is very important to not forget about properly getting the body ready for it with good nutrition.

3. Proper nutrition: many people think that because they are burning all these calories thru running that they have a free pass to eat pretty much anything, but if the ultimate goal is to live a healthier life and have the energy to take on bigger challenges, then proper nutrition should be part of your wellness plan. “You are what you eat”. Unhealthy nutrition can affect you physically and create hormonal imbalances that can force certain muscles to work extra hard leading to exhaustion, injury, muscle damage and/or sickness. Not providing the body with nutrition that balances your training will have the same consequences whether you are exercising or not. When exercising, your body is using up a lot of fuel that it wouldn’t otherwise use and you have to make sure to replenish, because sometimes is impossible to replenish with just foods, taking natural nutritional supplements will help you fuel the body more efficiently.

4. Nutritional supplements: vitamins, amino acids, omegas, superfoods like: chia, flaxseed, chlorella, etc. Supplements can be a little controversial, it has become a huge market in our society that can sometimes be steered in the wrong direction. My humble opinion: stick to “natural” supplements that would be found in “real” foods. I just have never been a fan of giving my body anything but the very best, it seems contradicting for someone to be exercising and then go and get stuffed with all these “chemicals”, that certainly does not represent a healthy wellness plan. Not all supplements are created equal, do your research and make sure you are not counteracting the benefits of your hard work. Make sure they are natural, preferably organic, additive-free, stimulant-free, dye-free, no artificial sweeteners, etc.

And with all the right tools the only thing that is left is your attitude and your determination…
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5. Keep positive: taking onto something new is always hard. Making the decision, changing your current routines, letting go of what you are used to and stepping into an unknown zone is not easy. There will be ups and downs. There will always be doubts: Am I doing the right thing? Am I doing this the right way? There will always be criticism: “All that running is bad for your body” “Running makes you too skinny” There will always be a fear of failure: What if I get hurt? What if I can’t never reach a steady non-stop pace? What if I am not fast enough? SHUT THEM ALL DOWN!! This is your time and the beginning of the rest of your life. You are in the right place at the right time. Always have positive affirmations, think it, say it: I am a bad a$$! I will dominate! I am unstoppable!  Have positive visualizations, see it, do it: running 3 miles non-stop, keeping your sprint pace for 1 minute. A healthier, happier you is just a win/win whichever way you look at it. Keep focus but…

6. Don’t be too hard on yourself and always have fun: I will say it again: becoming a runner takes patience. You have to be conscious that there will be days where you feel like running a marathon and days where you will want to stop 20 times to catch your breath or give that aching leg a break. Is all part of the process, always listen to your body and remember that every mile worked out is better than none. Like with any other sport, running can get some in a competitive mood, which can come in very handy when looking for that adrenaline to reach higher levels. But please, do not let this competitive edge dominate your running. Yes, it is important to have goals, expectations, higher levels to look up to, but you should never let them get in the way of enjoying the process, or let them shadow the real reasons that made you start and keep you running.

Oh yeah one last thing, get some good music! Besides the good mood power that your favorite working out music can have, it is important to keep distracted from: 1. Your heartbeat which gets louder as it gets faster AND 2. Your inside voice saying: you are tired and you are crazy! If you still hear it just shout back: Sane is boring!!

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4 responses to “How Do You Become A Runner? By Starting…

  1. LOVE this! I actually wrote something similar today. I really think keeping positve is one of the most important things. For me, once I got over the whole “I can’t do this” mentality, I finally started making progress.

  2. Woop! This is amazeballs. You hit SO many important points, nutrition is still a biggie for me to work on.

    It’s all about making the first steps. I love the brain quote, it is the toughest muscle.

    great, great post!

    • Thanks! Yes! Proper nutrition is actually what made me able to finaly become a runner… With a little help… As you can see around my blog, for the most part Isagenix products are my go-to for on-the-go nutritional support… Allowing me more freedom to enjoy the foodie side of myself 😉

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