What to Expect When You Start Running

"But I hate running." I know, I get it. Want to know the top three questions I get asked:

  1. "How do you not get bored?"
  2. "Why would you pay money to run that far?"
  3. "I hate running, how do I not hate running?

ALL WONDERFUL QUESTIONS. We are all on the same page because once upon a two years ago I hated running with every fiber of my being.

I like to say I was just desperate enough the day I decided to go for a run. It was Thanksgiving day and the gym was closed for the holiday. I didn't sleep the night before because I was being swallowed alive by grief. As the sun was rising I felt like I just needed to go so, out of desperation, I put on my shoes and went for a run. I literally didn't make it to the end of my block when I had to stop to catch my breath.

The first month of running is THE WORST. It's really, really, really tough. But want to know what flies by really quickly? THAT FIRST MONTH. And if you can hop that small hurdle you're good as gold. If you aren't a runner and want to become one (I highly recommend it but I'm biased) I say try to couch to 5k challenge. But how do you get there? Well here is what you can expect when you first start running.

1. Pain: You are going to be so incredibly sore. But you know the phrase, "It hurts so good?" Just keep moving. The best way to relieve sore muscles is more physical activity!

2. Your pride will die a little. Want to know what isn't fun? Not being able to run a mile without stopping. I was there, I couldn't even run .2 miles without stopping when I first started. It's mind over matter. Just because you feel like you are going to pass out doesn't mean you are going to pass out. Slow your roll and run .25 or .5 miles. Then walk for 2 minutes and repeat. Do that for 3 miles. Run until you don't think you could run another step, walk for 2 minutes, and run some more. (It get's better I PROMISE!) Download RunKeeper! This app will ask you what you want to accomplish and then get you there. A mile? A 5k? A half? Full Marathon? RunKeeper not only got me running but trained me to go from couch to 26.2 in 6 months.

3. DON'T QUIT! Fun is not going to be a word you use to describe running in the beginning. In fact you may want to use some explicit language to describe your new hobby. It's going to be hard and you may be tempted to just cut your losses. DON'T YOU DARE! I promise you it will get better. It's just going to be tough while you build your base. Just keep telling yourself, "I AM A WARRIOR. I AM AMAZING. I CAN DO THIS BECAUSE I AM A BAD ASS. JUST KEEP SWIMMING, JUST KEEP SWIMMING, JUST KEEP SWIMMING."

4. Make time. Look, I get it. You have a life. You probably have a family, friends, a job, pets, commitments, and a social life. I always love talking to Mom's who run because they always tell me, it's the only hour I get to myself. My social life gets body slammed when I train for a marathon. I am always telling people, "I can't I have to run in the morning." But guess what rocks when you get invited to something you don't want to go to? Or when you're invited to something that is going to cost a lot of money you don't have? Being able to say, "I can't I have to run in the morning." #GetOutOfJailFreeCard. You're welcome.

5. You will be slow. 10, 11, 12 minute miles here you come! But guess what a 6 minute mile and a 12 minute mile have in common? Someone who ran them. You have to start somewhere and running a 12 minute mile is NOTHING to be ashamed of. So instead of focusing on how slow you are, focus on how awesome you are for doing it. Because it's awesome. Honestly. You go Glen Coco.

6. There will be runs that suck. There are great runs, there are good runs, there are bad runs, and THERE ARE THE WORST RUNS IN THE WORLD. Guess who had one of the worst runs in the world on this past Sunday? THIS GIRL! And guess how long it was? 17 FRIGGIN MILES! I almost quit every 5 minutes. Want to know torture? Spending 2 and a half hours convincing yourself to just keep going. So yeah, I get it. There will be times when you just don't want to do it. I've had to stop a handful of times to sit on some street corner and cry because I was so over it only to realize I was still miles from home. Some runs will feel like the world is ending. But then you will be done and it will be over. And at the end of the day you tried. That's all that matters.

7. Buy running clothing. Say it with me, sweat wicking material. Not sure what that is? Read all about it by CLICKING HERE. Chafing is THE WORLD'S WORST. Running in cotton is a TERRIBLE idea. And go invest in proper running shoes. I ran my first half marathon in shoes that were a size and a half too small. Guess what happened? BLISTERS. ALLLLLLLLLLLL THE BLISTERS. Take care of your joints and knees by getting fitted for running shoes. (Go into a store, find a few pairs that work for you, then find them online. Don't spend $200 on shoes. $75-120 MAX. More running shoes 101: CLICK HERE)

8. You may have to get up early to run. Have a dinner after work? Getting drinks with friends? You may have to get up an hour or two earlier to get that run in. But what doesn't kill you makes you stronger...right?

9. You will sweat all the sweat. Probably more than you've ever sweat in your life. I have come home from a run soaking wet before. But just because it's hot or cold out doesn't mean you get a hall pass not to run. I hear people all the time say, "it's to hot to run." Unless it's 95 degrees, you run. Just hydrate. No excuses.

10. The day will come when you can run 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10+ miles without stopping. Tell everyone you know. The day I ran 3 miles without stopping I think I told every random stranger I encountered because I felt like a billion dollars. It was probably the coolest thing I had ever done. Then I ran 4, 5, 6, then 13.1 and then I ran a marathon. Each milestone deserves a celebration dance. Put that 13.1 or 26.2 sticker on your car. Shout it from the mountain tops.

Every single time you get outside for a run (or if you are one of those incredible people who can stand a treadmill) you have an opportunity. An opportunity to be alone or socialize, think, breath, and just be. Excuses are easy. You can't run a 5k, 10k, half, or full marathon making excuses. You have to just say yes. Commit. It's 4-6 months of your life. 4-6 months you will spend working towards something so huge you will hold with you for the rest of your life. It's going to be hard. Nothing of worth comes easy, unless it's winning the lottery (which is wonderful).

That first month is going to be tough. But every run will get a teeny bit easier. Every run will push that limit farther and farther away. You really are limitless. You can do all the things you never thought you could. All you have to do is take that extra step. Every time you want to quit just take that extra step. The only person standing in your way is you. And I get it, I am biased but running saved me from myself. I say this to you in all seriousness, if I can run a marathon ANYONE can run a marathon. I wish you all could have known me just 2 years ago to understand what I mean by that. I don't consider myself super athletic. I'm just crazy enough to love running marathons. Run a 5k. Run a 10k. RUN A HALF MARATHON! RUN A FULL MARATHON! I dare you.

Until tomorrow, #RunSelfieRepeat.


Kelly Roberts

It all started when a silly joke made headlines back in 2014 when I took selfies with hot guys “hottie hunting” my way through the New York City Half Marathon. But ironically enough, I haven't always been a runner. As the self-proclaimed former President of the "I f*cking hate running club", I spent most of my life finding ways to avoid physical activity. Growing up, I missed over 70 days of PE my senior year. Working out was something I thought I had to suffer through in order to lose weight. 

Then, in 2009, my younger brother passed away unexpectedly and struggling to manage my grief, I gained more than 75 pounds. With the weight gain came a new fight to regain my sense of self and learn to love the body I saw when I looked in the mirror. Then one Thanksgiving morning, drowning in grief and self doubt, I decided to go for a run. I didn't make it half way down my street before I had to stop to walk but for some reason, struggling forward made more sense than getting back into bed. It turns out that running is a lot like grief, neither ever really get easier, you just get stronger. 

Over time, I realized that while some people are in fact born runners, others are made. I created this blog Run, Selfie, Repeat and my new podcast by the same name with the hopes to inspire others to say yes to themselves while making them laugh hysterically because laughing, in my opinion, is the solution to everything. 

Named by Women's Running as one of twenty women who are changing the sport of running and by Competitor Magazine as one of 12 Influential and inspiring runners under 30, my mission is to inspire others to get embrace a healthy lifestyle and pursue the strongest version of themselves possible.