5 Ways You Can Make Starting Running Easier

Starting running isn’t easy. Starting anything isn’t easy, let’s face it. Learning a new skill means that in the beginning, you’re not sure what you’re doing, probably making every mistake in the book, feeling like you’re out of your depth, until it all just clicks. Or you give up before that happens…which is why I wanted to share with you these tips for how you can make starting running easier on yourself.

Before I jump into the tips, though, something I think is important when you’re starting out running, which often gets overlooked, is that you need to give yourself some time to make sure running is a good form of exercise for you. You never really know whether you’ll love something until you give it a chance. So, I would encourage you to not even think about running as your workout while you’re still trying it out. Trying to make it a hot, sweaty workout and using it for fitness can make you push yourself too much at first, and may lead to you deciding it’s hard and painful and quitting before you know if it’s right for you. 

With that out of the way, here are my 5 ways you can make starting running easier:

Here are 5 unexpected tips to make starting running easier - everyone was a beginner runner once, and these are the running tips you wish you'd had!

Focus on what you like about it

There are hard moments in every run. There are some runs that just plain suck, even for people who have been running their whole life and love it. When you’re new to the sport and a lot of it feels hard, it’s easy to get focused on the negative. When you find yourself slipping into this mindset, consciously stop yourself and think about something you’re enjoying about the experience. Are the views beautiful? Is the people-watching entertaining? Do you feel good about yourself for trying this out? Do you love your running tights or shoes? No matter how big or small, focus on what you like about running in the moment, to keep your mindset positive.

Start where you are, not where you want to be

Two words: Walking breaks. I didn’t realize you were “allowed” to take walk breaks when I first started running, and honestly it’s a miracle I kept going until I realized I loved it. If you’re truly starting from scratch, then your first few runs will most likely be more walking than running (or at least a pretty even split). If you were trying Olympic lifting for the first time, you wouldn’t start out at the heaviest possible weight. If you were going to get into gymnastics, you wouldn’t walk into the gym and attempt a back flip off the balance beam. Running is no different – you can start with short intervals of running to get used to the new stressors it places on your body.

Even if your ultimate goal is a certain distance, or a race, you still need to start where your fitness level and ability are right now. With the right training and motivation, you can reach your goal, but you need to lay down the base first.

Find your motivation

Maybe it was a person who motivated you, or a story you read, or a feeling you experienced. Take that feeling and all the resonance it had for you and lock it into your mind, so you can draw from it when you’re having a bad run. When your issue is actually getting motivated to get up and out the door, something you might find helpful is to make some kind of visual reminder for yourself about what made you want to start running in the first place. Having a few photos, or quotes, or snippets from an article that pushed you, all in once place to look at quickly when you’re trying to convince yourself that outside running is way better than inside couching, might be what works for you.

Figure out what’s driving you to start running. What’s your why? How can you continue to remind yourself of your why? When you’re just starting running, the hard runs tend to outweigh the magical unicorn runs where you feel amazing, so really being focused on your ‘why’ can help you through.

Make it your own

One of the best things about running is that you can make it whatever you want it to be. Want to run with a group and make running friends? Join a running club. Need some alone time? Running can be your therapy. There are so many ways you can cater running to your own personality, wants and needs. Numbers and statistics junkies might love the track, or doing intervals. If you just want time to breathe and enjoy, trail running somewhere beautiful could be the answer. One mile might be your magic number, or maybe it ends up that long long distance is what you want.  Do what feels good to you. 

Be kind to yourself

Everyone starts from scratch at some point, so even on the days you have to drag your butt out to run, and everything feels hard, and you feel slow and like you’re not making any progress, just be kind to yourself. You’re making an effort to do something healthy for your mind and body and that alone is awesome. Running isn’t easy, so take the time to congratulate yourself when you’re out there running.

Happy running, my friends!

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