Unleash the Beast: 6 Simple Steps to Finding Your Inner Runner (Pun Intended)

Wannabe runners…this one is for YOU! How many times have you wished you had what it took to be a runner? Maybe you even started training for a half marathon, and quit not long after, telling yourself, “I just don’t have the running gene like those other people.”?? Before completing my first half marathon in 2007, I have to admit, I was right there with you.

I had tried and tried and tried to run?at the gym, in my neighborhood, in parks, at the beach? hoping desperately to catch that “running bug” and feel the “runner’s high” that I heard everyone talk about. Attempt after attempt, I found myself quitting…most of the time after just one single run. Why? Because it friggin hurt!!! Running was so uncomfortable for even just 5-10 minutes, and I couldn’t fathom ever loving a full 13.1 miles. I wrote all runners off as crazy pants liars who acted like they liked running when they really didn’t, and I stuck with lifting weights and nursing babies.

Fast forward to 2007, and I was sick of being the only human (it seemed) totally incapable of NOT being able to commit to a running event. I was seen as the fittest of my group of friends, and had a few years of training under my belt, and felt absolutely ridiculous for finding any excuse I could to NOT join in on the events. I decided something needed to change, so I finally committed. 

After just 7 weeks of training (using my tips below), I successfully completed my very first half marathon. This was the first of MANY, as I really had caught the bug and felt the runner’s high!!!! (Legit…these are both very real things).

In honor of National Running Day (I’m down to the wire, posting this at midnight EST), I am helping YOU dig down deep to find that endurance athlete that I KNOW is in there. Read every word below…I am sharing my top tips to becoming the runner you’ve always dreamt of being!

Tip # 1: Get the gear. There’s nothing like some slick new running shoes and a great playlist to add extra motivation to your race training. ๐Ÿ˜‰ If you can swing it, get a running tracker while you are at it. That was GOLD in helping me feel the excitement to get out and run. It “gasified” the experience for me and kept me competing with my previous pace and time. Here are some easy-to-forget items you should add to your list too:

!function(doc,s,id){ var e, p, cb; if(!doc.getElementById(id)) { e = doc.createElement(s); e.id = id; cb = new Date().getTime().toString(); p = ‘//shopsensewidget.shopstyle.com/widget-script.js?cb=1496862336514?cb=’ + cb; e.src = p; doc.body.appendChild(e); } if(typeof window.ss_shopsense === ‘object’){ if(doc.readyState === ‘complete’){ window.ss_shopsense.init(); } } }(document, ‘script’, ‘shopsensewidget-script’); <br />

Tip # 2: Slow and steady really does win the race. For me, when the reality sank in that it?s about ?completing? and NOT ?competing? (which I had heard at a RunDisney half marathon I was running), I was finally able to see myself as an endurance athlete. Until then, I never felt like I could be the kind of runner I assumed a runner had to be. I always thought that in order to be a runner, you needed to run the entire race. I didn’t realize that walk/run, or even walking the entire race was okay! If you attack the sport with this “completing, not competing” mentality, you will surely see that you too have what it takes. With time and training, your endurance will continually improve to where you CAN run the entire race!

Tip #3: Find and follow a good training program. Like with any sport, if you show up on race day just assuming you have what it takes to start and finish the race with NO training, you will surprise yourself in a not-so-good way. Even if you can complete the race, your body will be screaming at you (trust me, I’ve been there). Train for your running by following a good program to ensure your body is in the condition it needs to be in. There are so many well-priced?and even FREE?options online to choose from these days.

Tip #4: Start small. Who says you need to commit to a marathon right off the bat? Not me! Go start by signing up for a 10K, 5K, or even a 2 mile Fun Run. Just sign up for something, complete it, and start feeling like the champion you REALLY are deep down! Over time, you will grow your running event size like we grow our promises…little by little!

Tip #5: Practice makes perfect! When I first started running, I was worried I would NEVER catch on. Running even just ONE lap around the track (as I mentioned above) nearly took me to the ground at first. I was amazed at just how comfortable and enjoyable running became with consistency and commitment to the program?i.e. the runner’s high. Bottom line: Trust the process and don?t give up!

Tip #6: Join a running group! While I feel like ALL of these are very important tips, this might be at the top of my list…so I guess I saved the best for last. Any time you can make something social, you are much more likely to stick to it. Find a buddy or 2 (or maybe 10) and use your running time as time to catch up. It’s quite amazing just how fast the miles pass when you have someone to talk to. Also, by forcing yourself into conversation during your runs, are kind of forcing yourself to learn to breath because you need to to talk! I found my breathing normalized very quickly after practicing talking and running at the same time. Another bonus to talking? It helps me keep pace, believe it or not! I know by how winded I am during the conversation just how fast I am running. 

From one wanna-be-runner-turned-runner to another, I know without a shadow of a doubt YOU GOT THIS. Just start with tip #1, be patient with yourself, and don’t give up. Before you know it, you’ll be completing your first race too! 



Related reading:

Heidi + Maury: How to improve your race time!
Trade Your TV Marathons for a REAL Marathon!
What?s on My Feet 2.0
Transformation Tip | 5 Minutes to Fight Fat and Get Fit
Mix Up Your Cardio Routine with Intervals

14 Responses

  1. Hi Heidi! so many times I have tried and given up with running I find it difficult to stick to and feel nothing but tired when I finish running. Thanks for these tips to help me incorporate them into ny running and I will try again with a new perspective!

  2. I feel like I was reading my struggles with running!!! I was told by my doctors that I couldn’t run or couldn’t do much because my Lupus diagnosed and I am happy to say that I am proving them wrong! I do Yoga regularly and run my first 5k few months ago and I have been dreaming seeing myself at the end of the half marathon race!!! Thank you thank you so much for sharing your personal story!! So empowering love it!!!

  3. I wish I could run, hell I wish I could do anything active. I have fibromyalgia and chron’s disease. Its been a really bad year in the flare up department and I’ve put on over 50 lbs. I want to do something athletic anything really, but it seems like I go from overdoing it to resting for three days to overdoing it again and I’m not making progress. I started doing five minutes on the hand bike, but when we do six or seven minutes I get a three day rebound migraine. The doctors are no help they just say try to exercise, but I’m so exhausted just getting out of bed.

  4. I love all the tips Heidi! My problem is when I attempt to jog or run I seem to aggravate my shins. I read somewhere the pain is referred to as shin splints. Any advice on how to overcome this and still be able to run? I would like to be able to run a 5k by October of this year…I’ll be turning 30 and it’s one of my fitness goals.

    1. Hi Claudia: First of all, I’d take a look at your shoes. Are they older? If so, they can break down and cause other issues like shin splints and potentially knee problems. Do they fit your foot and stride properly? If you haven’t already done so, I’d go to a specialty running store and get fitted for shoes that fit your feet and stride. This can make all the difference! Here’s a link to find a running shoe store in your area: http://www.runnersworld.com/store-finder (and Heidi is in no way affiliated with this website). Otherwise, make sure you’re stretching regularly, especially the fronts of your lower legs, and make sure you’re incorporating a whole body strength program into your workout program too. And what an awesome goal – you can do this! ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Good for you! This is so me, I want to love to run but it doesnt seem like running loves me. ? weight and interval cardio. We will train for running for several months then give it up for a few, then start over again. Our last 90day challenge, We trained 6days a week for 3 months along with our other training, on a 1 mile timed run. My legs never hurt, it is the breathing that gets me and running that frequently bothered my lower back, which I’ve never had issues with before. Ugh! I made my one mile without stopping but my time didn’t improve. I’m gonna say my breathing didnt either because I didn’t recover well for the other testing events that came after. It is very discouraging.

  6. I totally agree to everything ! I was not a runner an would quit and cry after 2 miles but then I goined a running club that used the 10 running 1 minute walking schedule and it changed my life. I met the most enthusiast and supportive people. I did my fist half marathon at 56 by sticking to the plan. I was slow but steady, drank and fuelled my body on the walk and I finished strong! I even did a half ironman at 57 and bonked on the run as it was so hot so I power walked the last half of the run. It did take some time for me to accept that I did earn my medal as I didn’t run the whole 21k but I did complete the race. Just keep up consistency and the rest will follow!

  7. Hi :). I need to ask a question. What is a realistic goal if I weigh 240 and want a significant change in 3 months? I used to run…when I was young and want to get back into it. I bought a treadmill because I am so self concious to run outside right now. I’d love to say I can lose 100 pounds in 3 months but I want to know what it should be, realistically. I’m not sure how you come up with your 3 month goal… but I plan on carb cycling and doing the exercises in a book I have by you guys. I travel about a week a month, sometimes 2. I have found it so hard to eat well doing this… the rest of the month I work at home, and I need a routine… but it’s hard when having to travel. But I’m serious about my journey!! I just need help with a starting point :). I have a 3 year old at home and an 11 year old. Both boys and 1 amazing husband…. he is 270 and has begun using the treadmill too… ๐Ÿ™‚ Anyway, I just don’t know what my goal should be!!! <3. Love you and your family!!

    1. Hi Jacqui-Lynn: Yay for you for choosing to begin your transformation journey – that’s a huge first step! We recommend a 10% weight loss goal for the first 3 months, so aim for 24 lbs. And here’s a post that can help with your traveling: https://heidipowell.net/9358. You can totally do this!

  8. I recently started c-pap therapy for sleep apnea, and am working with a physician to lose weight. She wanted me to increase my steps. I’ve been experiencing a desire to run (for the first time in my life). Perfect timing Heidi! Thanks!

  9. Any advice for people that used to run. I did a few half marathons, then stopped. I kept at judo and gym on and off. Fast forward a few years. I got a little fatter, and am now so ashamed and embarrassed at my fitness, particularly cardio, that i don’t know how to start again. The Blow to my confidence has been huge.
    Though this week i’m attempting your turbo carb cycling for the first time. Got to start somewhere.

  10. Thanks for taking the time to offer some encouraging words Heidi! I feel like you were describing my current wanna-be runner self to a T. I will definitely take your advice to heart.

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