Everyone knows how to run. You know how to run towards presents, how to run away from someone who is trying tickle you, and you know how to run from something dangerous. Your body knows how to run without having to think about it thanks to fight or flight. But running a half marathon is very different from running towards presents. I often get asked what advice I would give to new runners.
My biggest accomplishment isn't that I run a marathons, it's that I didn't quit during that first month of running. Falling in love with running wasn't easy for me. I wish I could say it was love at first sight but it was far from it. This is my advice for all new runners:
1. Set A Goal.
Whether your goal is to run a half marathon or to be able to run 3 miles without stopping, you need some sort of finish line to move towards. Unless something is at stake for you, you probably won't stick with it. It's going to be tough and it's going to hurt but by setting a goal you have your Yellow Brick Road. (Want to run a half marathon? Here's a training plan.)
2. Fall In Love With Pain.
It's in pain and discomfort that change lives. I promise there will come a day when you will look forward to feeling sore because it means you're getting stronger. Push through the discomfort and fight through the pain. Pain really is only temporary.
3. One Foot In Front Of The Other.
I mean this both physically and mentally, you have to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Take your training plan and focus on what you can control, the workout at hand. Don't get caught up worrying about your Saturday long run on Monday. Focus on Monday. I can guarantee you are going to encounter some form doubt. "Can I do this?" is going to be a question you will ask yourself far to often. The answer isn't yes, it's merely "I'll never know until I try."
4. Forgive Yourself And Roll With The Punches.
The first time I had run 9 miles I gave up at mile 6. I spent the entire run psyching myself out and at mile 6 I convinced myself that I couldn't do it. It was my first running "A HA" moment. Sometimes you aren't going to complete what you set out to accomplish. That's OK! You simply try again another day. Becoming a runner is terrifying and you have to forgive yourself when you come up short. There's always time to try again.
5. Say Yes To New Things
There are people who love running in groups and there are people who do best when they run alone. I'm a bit of both. It took me over a year to get the courage to run with a group. When it comes to running you can't stop yourself from trying new things. You may love it or you may hate it but you never know what may become your new obsession a little down the road.
6. Don't Compare Yourself To Anyone.
Don't compare your pace, your mileage, your age, your weight, your gender, your ethnicity, or anything else EVER. Don't worry how fast someone else is going. Don't worry how slow they are going. There's no average runner, only individual runners.
7. Take Your Time.
Progress doesn't happen overnight, it takes time. The best way to treat injuries is to prevent them. I made the mistake of increasing my mileage far to quickly and ended up sidelined and injured for over a month when I trained for my first marathon. Take your time and be smart as you train.
8. There Will Always Be Another Race.
This is something that takes a while to understand but sometimes the smartest choice is not to run a race. I know it's soul crushing if you spent months training and then have to make the call to postpone it but there will be other races. There will always be another race.
9. Have Fun.
Unless you are a professional athlete, don't let running run your life. Keep it a huge part of it but don't make it your everything. You need to have fun. Success comes when you are enjoying the journey. TAKE THE TIME TO STOP TO SMELL THE ROSES! If you aren't having fun take a step back and figure out why.
10. Not Everyone Is A Runner.
How do you know if someone has run a marathon? Don't worry, they'll tell you. The second you catch that running bug you will find that you only want to talk about running. But oddly enough, some people actually don't want to run. I know, it's shocking, but make an effort to limit how much running talk you subject your non-running friends to.
11. Share Your Journey
Join the #RunSelfieRepeat movement by sharing your journey and joining our running community. I have been taking runfies since I first started running. It started as a way for me prove that I was doing something with my life. Now it's a way to show people just how much fun and rewarding running can be. By taking a runfie and using the hashtag #RunSelfieRepeat you are becoming a member of a group of people who, like you, are blazing trails and pushing their limits. So preserve your journey and share those photos!
Running may be something everyone knows how to do but falling in love with it is another story. What advice do you have for new runners? Or if you are a new runner, what have you learned? Share in the comments below. Until next time, #RunSelfieRepeat.