How to Run: From Start to Race

The other day I had a friend message me on Facebook and asked me this question:

“…I want to learn how to run. I’ve never been a runner but I see a lot of your posts in regards to running. Any pointers for me?”

This got me thinking that maybe there are others out there who have the same question.  How do I start to run?

Three and a half years ago, this girl was not a runner:

Jennifer before learning to run

I was not running anywhere!

She was not only NOT a runner, she wasn’t even a walker.  She was a non-exerciser.  Period.

If you would have told her that in three and a half years, she would run a half marathon, she would have told you that you were crazy.  If you then proceeded to tell her that not only would she run it, she would run it in two and a half hours and would average an 11:35 mile, she would have said, “Nope…not happenin’!”

Jennifer and Amy running Publix Georgia Marathon

Jen's First Half Marathon!

Well…guess what honey?!?  You did it and you rocked it and you have proved that if you just put one foot in front of the other, amazing things will happen.  They won’t happen overnight but they WILL happen.

I have come up with the 5 “S’s” for a beginning runner/walker.

1.  “Start“- No matter how much you weigh, no matter how out of shape you are.  GET YOUR BUTT OFF THE COUCH!  You can walk.  You can walk to the mailbox.  You can walk around the block.  You can walk across the parking lot instead of parking so close.  Start walking.  Take 10 minutes a day to walk somewhere.  It doesn’t even have to be fast.  Just start.  You will get faster.  You will be able to go longer.  You will be amazed with yourself if you just START.  After you have started, go…

2.  “Slow” – After you start, go slowly.  Don’t try to set any world records with time.  I promise you that you will get faster and you will be able to go farther if you just start slowly.  If you try to go too fast, you will either burn out, get frustrated, or injure yourself.  PLEASE go slowly.  It is more important you go LONGER than faster!  Slow and…

3.  “Steady” – Start, go slow, and do it at least four times a week.  If you seriously want to start running, you must be consistent with your walking.  Eventually walking will lead into jogging which will lead into running. However, if you are not consistent and train your body that this is the new “norm”, it will take much longer for your body to adjust.  When I was training for my half-marathon, I walked/jogged four times a week EVERY single week.  This was the only way my body grew stamina.  I went every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.  You must be steady and consistent and you must…

4.  “Schedule It” – Put your daily walks/jogs on a calendar somewhere.  Plan ahead.  If you know you have a super busy day and you won’t have time after 8:00 a.m., get up earlier.  If you know you will have an hour window before dinner, schedule your walk then.  If you don’t plan ahead and write it down, something is always going to come up and you won’t have time, or you will be too tired, or you just won’t do it!  Once you have scheduled your walks and you are into a good rhythm with walking/jogging…

5.  “Sign Up” – Nothing motivates me more than a race.  If I know I have a race coming up, I will train for it and I will be more likely to stick to my plan.  Start small by signing up for a one mile fun run.  If you think you can walk for an hour without stopping, sign up for a 5k.  A 5k is 3.1 miles and you can walk that without a problem.  There are so many people out there who walk 5k’s.  When I was my heaviest, I walked a 5k with my sister in her town.  Yes, we were close to the back of the pack but you know what?  We did it!  We finished just like everyone else!  We went the same 3.1 miles that everyone else did.  It just took us longer!  To find a race in your area, look on Active.com.  If you sign up for one and do it, you will LOVE it and want to do more.  They are very addictive.

If you are thinking of becoming a runner, I just want to tell you one more thing.  YOU CAN DO IT!  Do not doubt yourself!  You are stronger than you think.  You will be able to go farther than you think.  You can be a runner if you decide to just start.

Now, start, go slow, stay steady, schedule it, and sign up for a race.  You’ve got this!

Moving Forward Quote

Just start moving!

 

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About Jennifer Swafford

Jennifer is an elementary school teacher who is trying to lose 100+ pounds. She has certainly learned how much It Sux To Be Fat and is here to motivate you to live a healthy lifestyle.

  • http://www.thedailymel.com/ Melissa (@TheDailyMel)

    Great post and great advice!

    • http://www.itsuxtobefat.com Jennifer Swafford

      Thanks!

  • http://www.thedailymel.com/ Melissa (@TheDailyMel)

    Great post and great advice!

    • https://plus.google.com/102759056526029167079 Jennifer Swafford

      Thanks!

  • Nicgardner3

    I really want to do a 5K in May, and I am doing most of what you described.  I just find myself not wanting to take it slowly :0)   I try walking for a while and then jogging some, and going back to walking, etc.  The fear I have is that I will be the last one to finish.  I do not want to be last!!  I started a month ago and I am doing about a 16 min mile right now. 

    • http://www.itsuxtobefat.com Jennifer Swafford

      Better to be last than not at all. A great friend of mine said that to me a long time ago. I know sometimes we are embarrassed to be in the back of the pack but you know what…at least we are in the pack. You can do this! Let me know when you do!

  • Nicgardner3

    I really want to do a 5K in May, and I am doing most of what you described.  I just find myself not wanting to take it slowly :0)   I try walking for a while and then jogging some, and going back to walking, etc.  The fear I have is that I will be the last one to finish.  I do not want to be last!!  I started a month ago and I am doing about a 16 min mile right now. 

    • https://plus.google.com/102759056526029167079 Jennifer Swafford

      Better to be last than not at all. A great friend of mine said that to me a long time ago. I know sometimes we are embarrassed to be in the back of the pack but you know what…at least we are in the pack. You can do this! Let me know when you do!

  • http://twitter.com/OurLadyof2nds Rose McAvoy

    Great post! These are great tips for anyone starting on a new goal running or otherwise!  Thanks for breaking it down in such a tidy little package.  I am going to post a link for my readers to come and check this out.

    • http://www.itsuxtobefat.com Jennifer Swafford

      Awesome…thanks! I will certainly check out the link!

  • Rose McAvoy

    Great post! These are great tips for anyone starting on a new goal running or otherwise!  Thanks for breaking it down in such a tidy little package.  I am going to post a link for my readers to come and check this out.

    • https://plus.google.com/102759056526029167079 Jennifer Swafford

      Awesome…thanks! I will certainly check out the link!

  • http://www.jellowyacket.net/ mistersilverio

    I have a fused ankle so running is hard of me, but walking is possible. I think sometimes we look for excuses and find comfort in those excuses. I’m going to make a goal to walk my dog on a daily basis. Thanks for the inspiration.

    I found your site through a link at bloggeries.com. Very interesting.

  • http://www.jellowyacket.net/ mistersilverio

    I have a fused ankle so running is hard of me, but walking is possible. I think sometimes we look for excuses and find comfort in those excuses. I’m going to make a goal to walk my dog on a daily basis. Thanks for the inspiration.

    I found your site through a link at bloggeries.com. Very interesting.

    • http://www.itsuxtobefat.com Jennifer Swafford

      Walking the dog is a great first goal. It will help both you and the dog!

  • http://www.jellowyacket.net/ mistersilverio

    I have a fused ankle so running is hard of me, but walking is possible. I think sometimes we look for excuses and find comfort in those excuses. I’m going to make a goal to walk my dog on a daily basis. Thanks for the inspiration.

    I found your site through a link at bloggeries.com. Very interesting.

    • https://plus.google.com/102759056526029167079 Jennifer Swafford

      Walking the dog is a great first goal. It will help both you and the dog!

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  • Manda Stegall

    Thanks for this great post!!!  I am starting again… started last year – tried to do too much too fast, and had MAJOR shin splint pain (where it even hurt to walk).  Anyhow…. I’ve started again, trying to be much slower in my plan so as not to re-injure myself. I am hoping to complete my first 5K on june 2nd… stressing because it has HUGE hills and valleys, but reminding myself that I can walk if I need to!!!

    • http://www.itsuxtobefat.com Jennifer Swafford

      You can do it! One more week!

  • Manda Stegall

    Thanks for this great post!!!  I am starting again… started last year – tried to do too much too fast, and had MAJOR shin splint pain (where it even hurt to walk).  Anyhow…. I’ve started again, trying to be much slower in my plan so as not to re-injure myself. I am hoping to complete my first 5K on june 2nd… stressing because it has HUGE hills and valleys, but reminding myself that I can walk if I need to!!!

    • https://plus.google.com/102759056526029167079 Jennifer Swafford

      You can do it! One more week!

  • http://www.schnellgesundabnehmen.info/ Regina

    Thanks for the inspiration! I’m on the part where u started and always need a kick in my back to run or walk. So thx for the “Kick” ^^ I started today again with my walk.

  • http://www.schnellgesundabnehmen.info/ Regina

    Thanks for the inspiration! I’m on the part where u started and always need a kick in my back to run or walk. So thx for the “Kick” ^^ I started today again with my walk.