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. As the former President of the "I f*cking hate running club", I totally understand that you probably hate running.  

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 because I thought I was going to pass out.

The first few weeks of running are THE WORST. But want to know what flies by really quickly? THOSE FIRST FEW WEEKS. 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 drank the kool-aide and I'm biased) I say give this 4-week #BadassLadyGang5K plan a try! HELL, convince everyone you know to do it with you so that you don't have to suffer alone! But how do you get there? Well, this 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!

new runner half marathon running pain dying

2. Your pride will die a little. Want to know what isn't fun? Not being able to run a mile without stopping. I've been there, I couldn't even run .2 miles without stopping when I was first getting 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 embrace walking to catch your breath.

I Give Up

3. DON'T QUIT! Fun is not going to be a word you will use to describe running for weeks (maybe even months). In fact, the f-word is going to become your new favorite adjective. It's going to be hard and you may be tempted to just cut your losses. DON'T YOU DARE! I promise that it gets better. Just keep telling yourself, "I AM A WARRIOR. I AM AMAZING. I CAN DO THIS BECAUSE I AM A BAD ASS! I CAN AND I WILL. I CAN AND I WILL!"

4. Make time. I get it. You have a life. You probably have a family, friends, a job, pets, commitments, and a social life. If you're a Mom, I bow to you. But the only things you can plan on are excuses so plan ahead!

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? A MILE. You have to start somewhere so instead of focusing on how "slow" you think you are, start celebrating the hell out of yourself for having the courage to show up!

new runner dead

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. Plan on spending a lot of time trying to convince yourself to put on a sports bra. Some runs will be soul crushing. Those painful, awful, no good runs make you stronger. Just get through them. Attitude is everything.

7. Buy running clothing. Say it with me, sweat wicking material. Only you can prevent chafing! Go to a running store and get fitted for proper running shoes. Go to Oiselle.com and treat yourself to some foxy looking running clothes. You deserve it.

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?

Waking up early to run is the worst. But you know what, you gotta do what you gotta do. Morning people aren't born morning people, they're made. 

9. You will sweat all the sweat. Probably more than you've ever sweat in your life. 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 too hot to run." Just hydrate. And wear all the SPF. No excuses.

10. The day will come when you can run 3, 4, 5, 6+ miles without stopping. The day I ran 3 miles without having to stop to walk, I told everyone I knew because I couldn't believe it. Each milestone deserves a celebration dance. Celebrate the wins. Even if they feel inconsequential. 

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, breathe, 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 worth feeling proud of will be easy. (Unless it's winning the lottery, which would be wonderful.)

That first month is going to be tough but remember, you can do hard things. Every time you want to quit, just take a few extra steps. The only person standing in your way is you. If I can run a marathon, ANYONE can run a marathon. So pick something to train for, register, and get going. The only way you'll fail is if you fail to try.

Until tomorrow, #RunSelfieRepeat.