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The Starting Line

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As you may know, running is my jam. I haven’t always loved it, but since I graduated from college it’s pretty much been my exercise of choice. The appeal, of course, has always been how blissfully minimal it is—all you need is a pair of running shoes and some road (or a trail or a treadmill if you’re feeling fancy). It can be difficult, yes, but it really does feel amazing to be able to get such a full body workout without any special knowledge or fancy tools—running is so natural, and that’s what really turned me on to it in the first place.

While I’ve managed to force myself to love running (I can still remember how tough a mile felt my freshman year in college!), it doesn’t have to be a painful process. When I was perusing Runner’s World the other day, I noticed a tab titled “beginners” and clicked on it, discovering an awesome 5-step guide they have for becoming a runner called The Starting Line. If you’ve always wanted to be a runner, here’s how to do it…

1. Start Walking
If you’re not exercising regularly already, this section will guide you through the basics: how to get into a routine, how to choose running shoes. Don’t feel bad if this is where you’re at—everyone has to start somewhere!

2. Start Running
If you’re already exercising (though not a runner), this will help you get started by mixing walking and running until you can run continuously at a pace that feels right for you.

3. Run Nonstop
In this phase, you’ll learn how to build up to running for 30 minutes without walk breaks, as well as how cross-training can help you be a better runner.

4. Run Longer
Six miles might seem like a lot for a newbie, but this section will help you develop the endurance you need to build up to that distance in no time. You’ll also get tools for breaking through mental blocks while running longer distances.

5. Run Faster
This is the phase I’m personally in right now, as speed is tough for me with my exercise-induced asthma. That being said, though pace isn’t super important for overall fitness, it’s certainly one way to increase the difficulty of a run without adding extra distance—plus it feels good to cover more distance in less time! In this part of The Starting Line, you’ll get some tips and workouts to try in order to boost your speed.

All in all, running might not be for everyone, but since it’s such a simple form of exercise, I always encourage friends who express interest in it to give it a try! When I first started running, I never imagined I would end up completing several half marathons and a triathlon, as well as enjoy trail running and be able to run for a full hour at a time. It’s crazy how the body adapts when it’s challenged! I hope this guide is helpful to you, regardless of what stage you’re at. You can do it!

Have you always wanted to be a runner? What phase of running are you in? What’s stopping you from moving forward?

Image via Lululemon

1 Comment

  • Reply
    Mala
    October 10, 2013 at 11:05 am

    Natalie, you write so well and I absolutely needed to read this after our chat on Saturday night! Thanks, and talk soon girlfriend!!

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